Where Does the 2012 NFL QB Class Rank Amongst Best Classes in League History?

Chris TrapassoAnalyst IDecember 10, 2012


With Andrew Luck taking the Indianapolis Colts to unexpected heights, Robert Griffin III leading the NFL in QB rating and Russell Wilson beating all the odds for the Seattle Seahawks, many wonder where the 2012 quarterback class ranks in NFL history. 

Good question. 

Those three have reached superstar status only 13 games into their rookie campaigns. And we mustn't forget about what Ryan Tannehill has done in Miami with the Dolphins or the admirable play the Cleveland Browns have received from Brandon Weeden during their current three-game wining streak. 

Ah, yes, can't forget Nick Foles either. Although he's 1-4 as a starter, he does have a respectable 80.3 passer rating, and he's accounted for four touchdowns and no interceptions in his last three contests. 

With six rookie quarterbacks likely to finish the year as the starting quarterback for their respective teams, the 2012 QB class gets high marks, first and foremost, for sheer volume. But the quantity is complemented by tremendous quality, especially thanks to Luck, RG3 and Wilson—it's not simply a numbers game.

The 2004 QB class that featured Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger is the most recently revered group of signal-callers to enter the NFL in the same draft. 

Nine years and four Super Bowl rings later, the group will be difficult to unseat. 

The famed 1983 class, which boasts John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino—a trio that appeared in 10 Super Bowls, won two of them and combined for 22 Pro Bowl selections—remains the gold standard.

Despite having to meet incredibly lofty goals in the future, the 2012 class is off to a historic beginning of unparalleled promise. 

Manning started seven games in his inaugural NFL campaign, went 1-6 and threw six touchdown passes to nine interceptions. Rivers didn't receive significant playing time until 2006, his third professional season. Meanwhile, Roethlisberger didn't lose a game as a rookie, but with only 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, he was more of a game manager than anything else. 

Marino went 7-2 and tossed 20 touchdowns with only six interceptions with the Dolphins in 1983, but Luck and Griffin III have made that stat line look less impressive every week. 

Elway was disastrous in his first year in the pros. He went 4-6 as a starter and tossed seven touchdowns to 14 interceptions.

And Kelly started his professional career in the USFL. 

Sure, sustained success from the 1983 class and even the 2004 class has ultimately made those two groups the most celebrated QB classes of all time. And frankly, we just don't know how Luck, Griffin III, Wilson, Tannehill, Weeden and Foles will perform in 2013 and beyond.

But with the way the 2012 signal-caller class has kicked off their NFL careers, we may very well be currently witnessing the most preeminent quarterback class ever.