Re-Drafting the 2012 NFL Draft: Where Would Each QB Land?
2012 has been the year of the rookie quarterback.
Not only did the season begin with no fewer than five newcomers starting for their teams, but three of those teams are in the thick of the chase for the playoffs.
Two of those teams are led by the first two picks in last April's draft, but Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts and Robert Griffin of the Washington Redskins aren't the only first-year signal-callers who have seen significant action this year.
How those rookies have played has no doubt affected how those players are perceived relative to where they were drafted, and because hindsight is always 20/20 let's take a look at the quarterbacks that have played significant snaps and where they might have been drafted if we knew then what we know now.
Ryan Lindley, Arizona Cardinals
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
When he was drafted: Round Six, pick 15
What he's done: He's played in five games, starting two. He's thrown zero touchdown passes versus five interceptions and has generally played cringe-worthy football.
Where he should have been drafted: Canada? Arena Football? That lingerie league?
Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
Jason Miller/Getty Images
When he was drafted: Round Four, pick seven
What he's done: He's captured the hearts of fans in Washington by leading the Redskins to a come-from-behind win over the Baltimore Ravens and a victory over the Cleveland Browns in place of an injured Robert Griffin III.
Where he should have been drafted: It's been a small sample size, but after lighting up the Browns for over 325 yards through the air, Cousins looks like a steal in the fourth round and could be a hot commodity in the offseason.
Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
When he was drafted: Round Three, pick 25
What he's done: He took over for an injured Michael Vick and has made five uneven starts, throwing for 1,356 yards with six touchdowns and six turnovers.
Where he should have been drafted: As the numbers demonstrate, Foles hasn't been great, but he hasn't been Ryan Lindley, either. It would appear the Eagles are set to move forward with Foles under center, so it's kind of hard to criticize a late third-round pick, all things considered.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
When he was drafted: Round Three, pick 12
What he's done: Oh, not much. He has just thrown for over 2,500 yards, leads all rookie quarterbacks with 21 touchdown passes and has rushed for almost 400 yards and three more scores for the 9-5 Seattle Seahawks. Other than that, he's just been OK.
Where he should have been drafted: If you asked the Miami Dolphins if they'd swap Ryan Tannehill and Wilson today, they'd probably say no, because they're incompetent.
Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
When he was drafted: Round One, pick 22
What he's done: Win five games as the starter, despite his best efforts. He has thrown 17 interceptions against only 14 touchdowns and has an anemic quarterback rating of 72.4.
Where he should have been drafted: Sure, Weeden has shown glimpses of talent, and if we were talking about a 23-year-old rookie or a third-round pick, this would be different.
However, Weeden is 29, and all his performance this season has done was confirm that Cleveland wasted a first-rounder last April.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
When he was drafted: Round One, pick eight
What he's done: Tannehill has had the sort of rookie season that we used to expect from first-year quarterbacks. He's looked great and terrible at times, but he has manged to win six games with an offensively challenged Miami team.
Where he should have been drafted: By all rights, Russell Wilson appears to be the third-best (at least) quarterback on this list. So if he slots there, I guess that Tannehill goes later in the first round to Cleveland and Brandon Weeden toddles off to the old folks' home.
Robert Griffin, Washington Redskins
Rob Carr/Getty Images
When he was drafted: Round One, pick two
What he's done: What, this bum? All he has done is break the rookie rushing record for quarterbacks, post a quarterback rating that ranks in the top five in the NFL and lead the Washington Redskins to the brink of an NFC East title in his first season.
Where he should have been drafted: You will find plenty of people who think that Griffin should have gone first overall. You will also find a great many Redskins fans with staplers who will staple your mouth shut if you dare to speak such blasphemy.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Bob Levey/Getty Images
When he was drafted: Round One, pick one
What he's done: Luck has made the city of Indianapolis forget all about last year's 2-14 disaster and the departure of that Manning fellow. His 3,978 passing yards leads all rookies, but his 18 interceptions do, too. Luck has the Colts headed for the playoffs at 9-5.
Where he should have been drafted: You could sit and debate the merits of Andrew Luck versus Robert Griffin III until you're blue in the face. While I'm sure there are some in the Indianapolis organization that have wondered "what if," Luck appears set for a fine NFL career.