Gone are the days when teams look for serviceable veteran quarterbacks to lead them.
If you're not a Pro Bowl passer, you're at risk of being replaced by some unproven youngster.
Of the 32 starting quarterbacks for Week 1, 10 have been drafted over the last two years.
The only starting quarterbacks with more than four years of experience and no Pro Bowl appearances are the Bills' Ryan Fitzpatrick, the 49ers' Alex Smith and the Cardinals' Kevin Kolb -- if he wins the job over John Skelton.
Veterans like David Garrard, Kyle Orton, Matt Hasselbeck and Vince Young -- each of whom has a winning record as a starter -- have had to settle for backup roles -- or a job search in Young's case after he was released by the Bills.
The pressure for young quarterbacks to succeed early in their careers has never been greater.
In three seasons, JaMarcus Russell went from top pick in the NFL Draft to out of the league.
It's much easier for struggling franchises to convince fans that more promising days lie ahead with a young quarterback under center. But veteran quarterbacks can turn a franchise around, too.
Just look at what Smith has done in San Francisco. It took the former No. 1 pick seven years before he had a winning season, but sticking with Smith paid off for the 49ers, who made it to the NFC championship game last year.
Going younger may be the trend, but it may not be the right answer for everyone.
- Jeffrey Tomik