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Mason's Mailbag: What is the ceiling for a rookie QB?

Posted Feb 11, 2018

No rookie QB has ever started a Super Bowl, but on average, teams that rode a rookie have seen some improvement in the last decade.

You can tweet questions to me with the hashtag #AskMase or use the submission form to your right (if you're viewing on a standard browser) or at the bottom of the page if you're on the mobile site.

Did Brian Dawkins play in Denver long enough to count as a Hall of Famer for the Broncos?

-- Don Evans

It depends how you define "count." The text by his bust in the Hall of Fame will note his years with Philadelphia and the Broncos, and there is no official designation stating that a player goes into the Hall as a part of only one team even if he played for multiple clubs.

That said, Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown, who played 48 games over four seasons for the Broncos in the 1960s before being traded to the Oakland Raiders, is generally not considered to be a Bronco, since his years with the Raiders were largely what pushed him to the Hall of Fame.

Befitting this, Brown does not have a banner up in the Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse, unlike John Elway, Gary Zimmerman, Shannon Sharpe and Terrell Davis. Dawkins played three seasons and seven fewer games with the Broncos than Brown, so if Brown isn't considered a Bronco in the Hall of Fame, Dawkins will not be.

Based on historical precedence, how realistic is it to expect the Broncos to expect to ride into the Super Bowl, the playoffs, or even a winning season on the back of an unproven rookie quarterback drafted in 2018? How often has that been done?

-- Doug B.

Most of those expectations are realistic.

Historically, the Broncos would be on new ground if they rode a rookie quarterback to the Super Bowl. No rookie passer has ever started the big game at the end of his rookie season. But improvement and the playoffs would be reasonable expectations. Of the 18 teams to have a rookie quarterback throw more than 250 passes in a season since 2012, 13 saw improved win-loss totals. On average, teams with rookie quarterbacks surpassing the 250-pass mark improved by an average of 1.55 wins.

The Super Bowl might be a step too far, but there is reason to believe that a new quarterback can be the galvanizing force for improved form.

A memory-related question: Remember when the Broncos won Super Bowl 50? When do you think it will be possible to find Super Bowl 50 on a DVD/Blu-Ray? I'm writing this to celebrate that historic game.

-- Lloyd McNutt

There is a Super Bowl 50 DVD/Blu-Ray available at the on-line store hosted by this site, but it does not include the entire game broadcast. At the current time, the league does not have a DVD/Blu-Ray of the game broadcast for public sale.

The analysis, opinion and speculation in this story represents that of the author, gathered through research and reporting, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Denver Broncos organization.


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