Power Ranking the NFL's Rookie QBs After Week 6
Week 6 was one heck of a week if you were a rookie quarterback—well, not so much for Andrew Luck.
The NFL's freshman-five went 4-1 this week, and the four victorious quarterbacks all faced stiff competition to get those victories. Combined, the quarterbacks threw for 1,171 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions.
Now that we are six weeks into this NFL season, let's take a good look at which of these quarterbacks has been the best of the bunch. We will not only take into account their stats but also their records and their teams' likelihood of getting into the postseason.
The last one is a good one because, as of Week 6, two of these rookie quarterbacks have their teams tied for first place in their division with plenty of games left to be played this season.
5. Brandon Weeden
Brandon Weeden finally was able to get off the schneid on Sunday with a 34-24 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. During the game, Weeden was 17-of-29, throwing for 231 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
This wasn't even Weeden's best game of the season, despite it being his first victory. Weeden's best game came against the same Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2, when he went 26-of-37 for 322 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.
However, Weeden—like any other rookie quarterback—has had his struggles. His 10 interceptions for the season are not only the most among the five rookie quarterbacks but are also the most in the NFL.
Part of Weeden's problem has been the fact that the Browns are one of the worst teams, and the perception that fans have of him is that he's merely a placeholder this season until the Browns can draft a new quarterback in 2013.
Cleveland didn't trade up into the first round to get a quarterback to be a placeholder. If that was the plan, the Browns would've stuck with Colt McCoy. While Weeden has gotten off to a bad start, he has shown signs of developing and has improved from week to week.
His age, when compared to his progress (he turned 29 on Sunday), might be a cause for concern in the future, but as long as he can continue to show progress throughout the year, he can show the fans that he's not just a placeholder but Cleveland's quarterback for the next seven years.
4. Ryan Tannehill
As a Dolphins fan and writer, it pains me to say that, of the rookie quarterbacks, Ryan Tannehill has been the fourth best (or second worst depending on your perspective).
Tannehill has shown great progression from game to game. It was only a month ago that he had the second quarter from hell against the Houston Texans, but apparently, every quarterback not named Aaron Rodgers turns into one contending to be the worst in the league against the Texans defense.
Since Tannehill's horrible three-interception game against Houston, he has thrown for 1,235 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. More remarkable is the fact that Tannehill hasn't thrown an interception in his last two games, despite the fact that he's gone up against two very good pass defenses in the St. Louis Rams and Cincinnati Bengals.
The fact that Tannehill is the fourth best/second worst amongst the rookie quarterbacks is more a reflection of how strong these quarterbacks have been than an indictment of Tannehill's performance. What does count are victories, and Tannehill has the Dolphins halfway through meeting their 2011 performance on the field wins-wise and in a four-way tie for first place in the AFC East (with some help from one of the other rookie quarterbacks).
As the season progresses, Tannehill will progress, too, and will likely find himself higher up in these power rankings as the Dolphins climb farther up the standings.
3. Andrew Luck
Now, here comes the controversy: Andrew Luck is at No. 3!
Granted, everyone has a bad game, but Luck's performance against the Jets was bad. He couldn't get a touchdown but managed to throw two interceptions, bringing his total for the season up to seven.
Overall, Luck has been very good, and again, remember that this year's rookie quarterbacks have been an outstanding group thus far. The Colts are in playoff contention and have the benefit of playing in a division with one powerhouse team and two of the worst teams in the NFL.
Luck has also shown moxie throughout the season, especially in Week 5 when he led a tremendous comeback against the Green Bay Packers. For the season, Luck has thrown for 1,488 yards and seven touchdowns to go along with his seven interceptions and has shown great improvement from one game to the next.
Next week, expect Luck to come back better and stronger as he takes on Brandon Weeden and a Cleveland Browns team that has allowed an average of 280.6 yards per game in the air.
2. Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson had the best day of all the rookie quarterbacks in Week 6.
Despite being down 20-10 late in the second half, Wilson destroyed the Patriots defense, going 16-of-27 for 293 yards and three touchdowns without turning the ball over in Seattle's 24-23 victory. Ryan Tannehill ought to send a nice gift basket to Wilson, as not only did the former Wisconsin Badger move Seattle into a tie for first in the NFC West, he also tied the Patriots for first in the AFC East with the Bills, Dolphins and Jets.
Wilson's season has been an up-and-down one, despite the fact that his team has the best record of the teams featuring rookie quarterbacks—Seattle currently stands at 4-2. The Seahawks' tough defense gets most of the credit for this hot start, but don't discount Wilson, who has thrown for 1,108 yards and eight touchdowns on the season, which is the most among rookie quarterbacks thus far.
Wilson's team has the best chance of getting into the playoffs so far, and he's not just along for the ride, he's leading it.
1. Robert Griffin III
Any one of the top three quarterbacks on this list could be No. 1, and I'd listen to a Ryan Tannehill argument as well. Everyone has their own opinion on which rookie quarterback is the best, and there's a valid reason for why they named who they named.
But according to any statistics (save for record, where Wilson has the edge), Robert Griffin III has been the top of the rookie class. He's not just doing it with his arm but also with his legs.
Griffin had a tremendous day against the Vikings, a team that was 4-1 coming into Week 6, bolstered mainly by their defense. He passed for 182 yards and a touchdown while completing 17 passes, but Griffin also tucked the ball in and ran 13 times for 138 yards and two touchdowns.
This is only part of an extraordinary year in which he has thrown for 1,343 yards and five touchdowns while running for 379 yards and four touchdowns.
Griffin has also held on to the ball very well, only throwing two interceptions in the first six games (a low among the rookies) and only fumbling the ball three times.
While it will be interesting throughout the years to see who will be the best of this season's rookie quarterbacks, for 2012, it's looking more and more like Griffin is the best of the bunch and the presumptive favorite for offensive rookie of the year.