If this NFL season had a theme, it would be this: lesser-known and young quarterbacks starting games. There have already been 10 rookie quarterbacks to start a game this season, which is the most since 1950, excluding the strike season.
Even the quarterbacks who aren't rookies are not all seasoned veterans, and some are far from that status. Yes, we still have longtime fan favorites like the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes and the Bills' Josh Allen, but the influx in young QBs is very apparent.
Since there are so many starters who are not yet household names, we are helping you out by giving a little background on these guys looking to make the most of their big opportunity.
The team also had the choice of backup quarterback PJ Walker, who has played in four games this season, starting two and going 1-1 in those starts. He has more experience, but head coach Kevin Stefanski is going with Thompson-Robinson, who was their initial choice when Watson first missed time in 2023.
Thompson-Robinson said his second start will not be like his first.
"Night and day, it'll be a clear difference," Thompson-Robinson said (per Cleveland.com). "I finally got my feet wet. I know what to do. I know what to study when I go out there."
Here's some more info on the Browns' new starting QB:
Thompson-Robinson went to Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was a four-star recruit and the No. 36 player in the Class of 2018, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. DTR finished his senior year with 3,275 passing yards, 38 passing touchdowns, 426 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns.
Thompson-Robinson committed to UCLA over a host of the nation's biggest programs and played in 10 games as a freshman, starting seven. In 2019, he was announced the starter and only missed one start that season, due to an injury.
One of his biggest games was a 67-63 comeback victory against Washington State during which he threw for 507 yards and five touchdowns while adding 57 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He put himself in the history books with the performance, as his 564 total yards was the most for an offensive player in a single game in UCLA history.
Thompson-Robinson played five seasons for the Bruins. He was able to play another year when the NCAA announced all 2020 fall athletes received another year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic and how it impacted college athletics.
He finished his college career with 50 games played (48 starts) and a 24-24 record as a starter. He recorded a 63.3 completion percentage, 10,710 passing yards, 88 passing touchdowns, 36 interceptions, 1,826 rushing yards and 28 rushing touchdowns.
The Browns selected Thompson-Robinson in the fifth round (No. 140 overall) in the 2023 NFL Draft. NFL Draft expert Chris Trapasso gave Cleveland an A- for taking the former UCLA standout. Here was his reasoning:
"Thompson-Robinson gets more out of his talent than most prospects in this class. Gamer. Does anything to win. Talented too in a smaller frame. Won't be able to run as much in the NFL. But possesses a solid arm and reads coverage well. Smart choice here. Can be a spot starter."
His preseason debut came in the 2023 Hall of Fame game. His preseason performance earned him the backup role ahead of Kellen Mond and Joshua Dobbs -- the latter of whom is now enjoying success as the Vikings starter after a stint with the Cardinals.
Thompson-Robinson's first NFL start was in Week 4, a 28-3 divisional loss against the Ravens during which he threw three interceptions. He had 121 yards and was 19 of 36 passing in the defeat. The performance made the Browns rethink their backup choice because the next time they needed a reliever, they called in Walker.
Thompson-Robinson has appeared in three games, starting just the one blowout loss. He has gone 20-for-37 with a 54.1 completion percentage, 130 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions.