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Which rookie quarterbacks have the best chance of starting in the 2018 NFL season?

Josh Allen may be the least ready, but Buffalo’s awful situation means he may be most likely to start Week 1.

NFL: Cleveland Browns-Press Conference Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Five quarterbacks were taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Only a few will be starters when Week 1 rolls around in September.

The upcoming season will feature a handful of young arms thrown to the wolves of an NFL schedule, and it may be some names you didn’t expect. Baker Mayfield may have been the first overall pick, but the Browns’ offseason addition of a two-time Pro Bowler means he could be watching from the bench when Cleveland opens its season against Pittsburgh. Josh Rosen is eager to start playing after falling all the way to 10th Thursday night, but he may not get that chance if Sam Bradford’s knees are back in 2016 form.

Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, and Lamar Jackson could all find themselves as Schrodinger’s QB, quantumly superimposed and simultaneously holding starting and backup roles throughout their rookie seasons. Here’s a look at this year’s possible starters, the players whose fates hinge on veteran quarterbacks ahead of them, and whatever the Ravens are doing with Joe Flacco.

Potentially starting by Week 1

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Allen may need the most seasoning of anyone in this year’s first-round draft cohort after completing just 56 percent of his passes in three seasons at Wyoming. Unfortunately, Buffalo traded away a perfectly good placeholder quarterback when it shipped Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland (see below), and now will roar into 2018 with the quarterback Cerberus of rookie Allen, second-year passer Nathan Peterman, and Bengals refugee AJ McCarron.

That’s a grim lineup, and necessity could propel Allen into a starting role before he’s ready. Will the jump from Mountain West defenses to AFC East ones shatter his confidence? Or will a tough-love approach and the experience of starting as a rookie help him fulfill his impressive potential. It seems like the former is the more likely outcome.

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

This season will mark the first year in coach Hue Jackson’s 1-31 tenure that puts an above-average quarterback under his care. That’s not necessarily first overall pick Mayfield, however. The Browns traded a third-round choice to acquire Pro Bowler Tyrod Taylor this offseason.

Taylor has established himself as a steady, turnover-averse quarterback. While he won’t wow teams with big plays, his consistency and ability to avoid disaster places him light years ahead of the majority of the passers Cleveland has employed the last, oh let’s say two decades.

But Mayfield is a much more explosive playmaker, and any kind of slow start from Taylor — in the preseason or regular season — will launch a fan campaign to push the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner to the top of the depth chart.

Potential starters at some point in 2018

Sam Darnold, New York Jets

The Jets have the infrastructure to bring Darnold along slowly — just not for long. He’s one of five quarterbacks on the team’s spring roster, and with Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg likely headed to the unemployment line once the preseason ends. That places him behind two established starters at different stages of their NFL careers — Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater.

McCown was a gap between the team’s planned bottoming-out in 2017 and its future with a top quarterback from this year’s draft behind center, but he exceeded expectations to lead the Jets to a surprising five-win campaign. The veteran passer had the second-best season of his career at age 38 before injuries knocked him out of the final three games of the season. He returned to the Jets on a one-year, $10 million deal to see if he could do it again.

He’ll be flanked by Teddy Bridgewater, a former Pro Bowler with the Vikings who has thrown just two passes since 2015 thanks to a catastrophic knee injury. His road to a starting job in Minnesota was derailed by Case Keenum’s sudden competence. In order to earn snaps with New York, he’ll have to outplay a 38-year-old and a 20-year-old. Like McCown, he’s only signed through 2018.

That leaves a long stretch of runway before Darnold’s takeout. The 6’3 rookie has the build and makeup of an NFL quarterback, but his flaws at USC kept him from emerging as this year’s No. 1 overall pick. His touchdown and completion rates both dropped as he threw 13 interceptions in 14 games as a redshirt sophomore last season. Having McCown and Bridgewater around means he’ll have extra time to grow if he can’t shake those struggles in the Jets’ preseason camps.

Josh Rosen, Arizona Cardinals

Arizona paid Sam Bradford $20 million to take over Carson Palmer’s old job and could pay him another $20 million more in 2019. Rosen’s job will be to make sure that second year doesn’t come into play. On paper, Bradford is a workable starter who should be able to provide a similar level of skill as an aging Palmer in the desert. In practice, he’s a constant injury risk with knees so balky no one’s quite sure exactly what’s wrong with them.

That’s where having an established college quarterback like Rosen comes in. Bradford played in just two games last season after thriving in the dink-and-dunk system Minnesota built around him. There are two paths for Rosen to earn playing time this fall — either by producing the kind of big-play capability Bradford has lacked late in his career, or by default after the “degenerative” knee condition that haunted the veteran takes him out of the lineup.

Rosen wasn’t a lights-out passer at UCLA, but he upped his accuracy and touchdown rates last fall behind a cheesecloth offensive line that gave him little time to work in the pocket. He’ll have the chance to show off his big-league improvement this year — but whether that’s due to skill or injury concerns is up to Bradford.

Needs Joe Flacco to continue imploding to start in 2018

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Jackson is a lottery scratch-off of a quarterback for the Ravens. The cost of trading up to select him with the 32nd pick wasn’t prohibitive (effectively two second-rounders) and now he’ll have the chance to develop slowly thanks to Flacco’s onerous contract. The former Super Bowl MVP is on Baltimore’s books through 2021 and can’t be cut until next year without leaving a monster dead cap hit behind.

But that doesn’t mean the former Heisman winner will be glued to the bench with the Ravens. Flacco suffered one of the worst seasons of his pro career in 2017, ranking dead last among qualified starters in terms of yards per pass. Part of the blame goes to a depleted receiving corps, but his lack of effectiveness downfield was enough to wonder whether the 33-year-old QB had lost some of his powers.

General manager Ozzie Newsome made restocking the team’s receiving corps a priority this offseason, adding Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead in free agency as well as Hayden Hurst, Mark Andrews, Jordan Lasley, and Jaleel Scott in the draft. If Flacco struggles again despite this year’s upgrades, it could mean giving Jackson a chance to shine.