The NFL's 2012 regular season began with a record five starting rookie quarterbacks under center on opening weekend. Since that time, four of them have combined for eight individual 300-yard passing games, already the most 300-yard games by rookie QBs in any NFL season (seven in 2011).
In the video above, I take a quick look at and grade each rookie starter in three distinct categories: accuracy, pocket presence and "it" factor (that last one wasn't my choice).
While simple statistics—such as completion percentage, etc.—can give you a good idea how a quarterback is doing with his accuracy, it doesn't tell you how often he is flat-out missing receivers, how much is due to drops from his teammates and how much he is throwing the ball away outside the pocket. I try to take everything into consideration when grading them above.
As for pocket presence, how much are they looking at the rush and when? How is their internal clock? Are they feeling phantom pressure? I was surprised, going back and looking at the tape, how some of my preconceived ideas didn't exactly fit with what was actually happening on the field in this area.
Finally, the "it" factor. Some people swear it exists and that they "know it when they see it." Others think it's a fantasy created by sportswriters. I guess I fall somewhere in the middle. I certainly recognize that some guys are predisposed to success due to a few intangible qualities.
But there are plenty of quantifiable physical attributes when you want to break down a quarterback's game. As a wise man once said, "There's no mystical energy field that controls MY destiny." You might say I subscribe to the same kind of thinking when it comes to evaluating QBs.
Let me know in the comments below where you agree or disagree and what your grades would be for each of the five rookie quarterbacks so far in 2012.