Power Ranking Every Rookie QB of the 2012 NFL Season
We're four weeks into a historic NFL season, as for the first time in recent memory no fewer than five rookie quarterbacks opened the season under center, playing everywhere from the nation's capital to the Pacific Northwest.
It's been a mixed bag for this new group of passers, with one eliciting rave reviews while others have not fared nearly as well.
With one quarter of the 2012 NFL season in the books, let's hand out some grades by power ranking the NFL's newest quarterbacks.
It's report card time, kiddies!
5. Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns
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Stats: 90-of-167, 997 yards, 3 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 60.4 quarterback rating
Quarterback Brandon Weeden has taken his fair share of lumps—and then some—under center for the winless Cleveland Browns, beginning with a disastrous debut where the 28-year-old completed only 12 of 35 passes and was intercepted four times.
Weeden has improved significantly since that fiasco against the Philadelphia Eagles and has topped 300 passing yards twice already this season, but Weeden has also completed fewer than half his passes in two of his four starts.
Of course, it would probably help if he had someone to actually throw the ball to, as Cleveland's wide receivers have been absolutely dreadful in 2012.
4. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
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Stats: 80-of-143, 1,046 yards, 2 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 66.4 quarterback rating
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill had by far the best game of his short NFL career in Sunday's overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals, topping 400 yards and standing tall in the face of a formidable pass rush, according to Stats Inc. via Ben Volin of The Palm Beach Post.
"Ryan Tannehill faced extra pressure on 25 of his 44 dropbacks, and completed 16 of 22 passes for 306 yards, a touchdown and an interception against at least five pass-rushers. Tannehill’s 306 passing yards against at least five pass-rushers is the highest single-game total by anyone since the start of the 2008 season."
Tannehill provided a glimpse into the future for the Dolphins and their fans during his breakout performance, but as the former Texas A&M star's three turnovers in the game show, his decision making is still very much a work in progress.
3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
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Stats: 60-of-100, 594 yards, 4 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 73.5 quarterback rating
After surprisingly usurping free-agent acquisition Matt Flynn for the starting job at quarterback, there was a ton of hype surrounding Russell Wilson.
However, after tossing three interceptions in the Seahawks' Week 4 loss to the St. Louis Rams many are already calling for Wilson to be replaced, a notion that head coach Pete Carroll was quick to dismiss, according to ESPN Radio via The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
“We think that Russell is busting his tail to do everything and he’s getting better, he’s feeling (better),” Carroll said. “Every game is so important to him as he grows to understand what it takes and all of that."
Wilson's poor showing in Week 4 aside, the former Wisconsin standout has been relatively smart with the football, playing within the confines of the conservative Seattle offense and guiding the team to a 2-2 record that includes wins over the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers (sort of).
2. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
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Stats: 65-of-122, 846 yards, 5 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 75.4 quarterback rating
Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts is the only quarterback of this bunch that has already had his bye week, so we have something of a smaller sample size to deal with when evaluating him.
The Colts have to be relatively pleased with what they've seen from the first overall pick in April's NFL draft. Luck has shown a great deal of pocket presence and command of the offense, traits that he displayed throughout his tenure at Stanford.
However, Luck has also thrown his fair share of ill-advised passes. Although some of those can be attributed to the Colts being forced to play catch-up, forcing passes into coverage isn't going to get it done in the NFL.
1. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
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Stats: 86-of-124, 1,070 yards, 4 touchdowns, 1 interception, 103.2 quarterback rating
Ah, the star pupil, the teacher's pet, the head of the class.
The Washington Redskins quarterback has completely exceeded any reasonable expectations with his outstanding play so far in the 2012 season, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes, posting stats that dwarf those of the other rookie quarterbacks and drawing rave reviews. From his teammates, according to Mike Jones of The Washington Post.
“That kid is special. He is the real deal. He’s stepped up, and I’ve never had so much confidence in a two-minute drive,” said cornerback Josh Wilson, who watched from the sidelines as Griffin and Co. went to work after Tampa Bay took a 22-21 lead on a 47-yard field goal. “Let’s just leave some time on the clock. It doesn’t matter if they get this field goal or not, we know he’s going to get this ball down there and put us in position to win.”
In addition, Griffin has pitched in 252 rushing yards and four more touchdowns on the ground. To say that he's been the best rookie quarterback to this point in the season is like calling the Grand Canyon a fairly large ditch.