This NFL season has been an incredible one for rookies, especially quarterbacks. Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks have their teams in playoff contention heading into Week 15.
While Griffin and Wilson are far flashier than Luck, it is the Colts quarterback who has added the most value to his team in 2012.
Through Week 14, Luck is completing 54.9 percent of his passes and has thrown for 3,792 yards, 18 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.
Here are the numbers for Griffin and Wilson through Week 14:
Griffin has also added 748 yards and six touchdowns on 112 carries this season for the 7-6 Redskins. Wilson has 310 rushing yards on 69 carries for a Seahawks team that is battling San Francisco for the top spot in the NFC West.
Luck, while not known for his skills as a runner, has 223 rushing yards and five touchdowns. He has by far the worst completion percentage and touchdown-to-interception ratio of the two big rookie quarterbacks.
But using the metric by which all quarterbacks are judged (close games, wins and losses), no rookie has been more important to the success of his team in 2012 than Luck.
Normally, I would say that just using those two metrics is complete garbage for evaluating a player's performance, because they are. However, there are a few key reasons to think that Luck has made a more substantial impact for the Colts than Griffin has for the Redskins or Wilson for the Seahawks.
Luck is having his success for a team that had the worst record in the NFL last season, didn't sign one big-name free agent to improve the roster (re-signing Reggie Wayne was a smart move, but since he played his entire career with the team, he doesn't count) and was tasked with taking over for arguably the greatest quarterback of this generation.
The players added to the offense came through the draft, so Luck is learning with a large group of fellow rookies like Vick Ballard, T.Y. Hilton and Coby Fleener.
Plus, unlike Washington and Seattle, the Colts don't have much of a running game. They are 22nd in rushing yards (Washington and Seattle rank first and fourth, respectively)
Griffin took over a team that, while it did finish 2011 at just 5-11, made substantial upgrades on offense during the offseason. The Redskins signed Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan to add depth to a depleted receiving corps.
Wilson had weapons like Marshawn Lynch and Sidney Rice already in place, not to mention a great, young defense that came on strong at the end of 2011. To be fair, Wilson has helped turn Golden Tate into a very good receiver.
But while those two had pieces around them that were already well-established, the Colts basically cut ties with anyone associated with the previous regime. They were supposed to be down for a few years until they could add impact talent and depth through the draft.
Instead, the Colts enter Week 15 with a 9-4 record and a chance to clinch a playoff berth with a win against Houston.
Luck's role in the Colts' success this season can't be understated. I am not saying he will win Rookie of the Year—Griffin has had that locked up for at least a month—but in terms of value to his respective team, no rookie has had more of an impact on his team in 2012 than Luck.