This 2024 rookie QB is older than Trey Lance and why it matters

Believe it or not, Atlanta’s rookie QB Michael Pennix, Jr is one day older than Trey Lance. Pennix turned 24 on May 8th, and Lance also turned 24 a day later on May 9th. Lance was drafted with the 3rd pick in the 2021 draft. Pennix was drafted 8th this year.

Why does that matter? Being “NFL ready” as a young QB usually requires starting at least 24 games to gain a proper amount of big game experience and responsibility. A young QB like Lance (who was drafted at 20 years, 11 months) is usually hampered if they have not had a ton of experience as a starting QB in college.

IMO what has hampered Lance most is his lack of starting QB experience coming into the NFL. He started only 17 games in his college career when drafted- all at N. Dakota State, so he wasn’t exactly playing against top competition every week. Sixteen of those 17 games Lance started were all in one year – the 2019 season when he was a 19 year old sophomore. He only played in one game the year before he was drafted.

Contrast that to a guy like Michael Pennix Jr, who was drafted 8th by Atlanta this year, who goes into his rookie year having started 45 games as a college QB, all with Power Five competition. CJ Stroud, last year’s best rookie QB, was drafted at 21, but had started 25 games at Ohio State against top level competition. This year’s #1 pick Caleb Williams is 22 and has started 33 games against Power 5 competition. We don’t know if all of those guys will turn into great NFL QBs in the long run but the more college experience a QB has the better chance they have for quick success.

Lance has always been a developmental project who has lots of raw talent but has yet to show he can master the mental intricacies of being an NFL QB. This summer’s reps in TC and PS games will tell us a lot about his development.

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