When the Lions named Matthew Stafford their starting quarterback on Monday, he joined an exclusive club. Stafford is one of only 30 rookies who will go into his team’s season opener as a starter, and that number includes six specialists.
Here’s how it breaks down:
On offense, there will be 13 rookies starting in Week 1: Six linemen (one who got the job because of injury), two quarterbacks, two running backs, two wide receivers and one tight end.
On defense, there will be 11 rookies starting in Week 1: Three linemen, six linebackers and two defensive backs.
The six specialists include one placekicker, one deep snapper and four punters. That’s right … four punters.
Those aren’t my numbers; those came from Bill Parcells, who called me this morning to remind me — and perhaps a few draftniks out there who will read this — that the term “impact rookie” is more often than not an oxymoron.
“Looks to me like the punters are the real impact rookies,” Parcells said.
— Gil Brandt