The first quarter of the NFL is done, and it has been a whirlwind of failed expectations and surprising stories. The first four games this season have been like Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well — a few hours of humor mixed with tragedy and at the end no one knows whether to laugh or cry.
Who knew that Cam Newton would be more impressive in his first four games than any other quarterback in NFL history? Who knew that Peyton Manning would have a season-ending neck injury before the lockout finished? Who knew the Detroit Lions could win four games in a row for the first time since...well...Shakespeare was writing All's Well That Ends Well
The NFL has been as chaotic and unpredictable as it's ever been, and it doesn't pose more of a problem, or allow so much of an opportunity, than for this year's rookie class.
I know it's only been the first quarter of the season, and there's still 12 more regular season games to shape this season into a comedy or a tragedy, but if students are graded every quarter, why not football players?
Before we launch into this grading, let me explain something. I'm grading rookies on how they're doing compared to the rest of the league, not with how they're doing compared to other rookies. For example, let's say I'm grading a quarterback. An "A" for a rookie means he already ranks in the top-tier of quarterbacks (like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers). A grade of a "B" means he's good enough to hang with the second-tier guys (such as Tony Romo or Matthew Stafford). A grade of a "C" means he's average at best (like Rex Grossman or Colt McCoy). A grade of a "D" means he needs to improve or he'll be riding the bench (like Donovan McNabb), and an "F" means that they don't look ready to play in the NFL, at least right now (like Kerry Collins).
Without further ado about nothing, I give you my grades for all of 32 of this year's first-round draft picks.