With the constant inconsistencies that NFL franchises experience with starting young quarterbacks, it is a breath of fresh air when a player that many may have thought wouldn't pan out, emerges successful.
Alex Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick are two quarterbacks that haven't had the best of careers, but have managed to continually work hard and take real control of their team, not only putting up solid numbers but winning consistently as well.
As hard as it is to have success in this league after you have somewhat failed, it is seemingly just as difficult to be rushed into the starting spotlight as Andy Dalton and Cam Newton have. Although there have been many analysts that didn't think they would be able to contribute in their first seasons, Dalton and Newton have so far been outstanding.
Sure Newton hasn't been able to win more than two games, but, he has competitively kept them in every one of them. Dalton, on the other hand, has been able to lead the Bengals to the top of their division and currently holds the most touchdowns by a rookie at the season's midpoint.
Take a further look at the four quarterbacks that may be considered elite someday...
Weight: 225 pounds
Years Pro: Seven
2011-12' Season Stats: Completed 170 of 260 attempted passes for 1,930 yards, 15 touchdowns, nine interceptions, a 65.4 completion percentage and a 92.3 QB Rating in eight games played
2009-10' Season Stats: In 10 games he completed 127 of 227 attempted passes for 1,422 yards, nine touchdowns, 10 interceptions, a 55.9 completion percentage and a 69.7 QB Rating
Upcoming Schedule: @ Dallas Cowboys (4-4), @ Miami (1-7), @ New York Jets(5-3)
Ryan Fitzpatrick has had a bumpy career, but its looks as if he may have what it takes to be a premiere NFL quarterback. So far, at the midpoint this season, he has led the Buffalo Bills to a competitive shot at the AFC East title. Although its a bit far-fetched, if Fitzpatrick can continue to play as he has in a majority of the games this season, the Bills can very well win the division.
Weight: 220 pounds
2011-12' Season Stats: Completed 158 of 257 attempted passes for 1,696 yards, 12 touchdowns, seven interceptions, a 61.5 completion percentage and a 85.0 QB Rating
Upcoming Schedule: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3), @ Baltimore Ravens (6-2), vs. Cleveland Browns (3-5)
Andy Dalton has been ridiculously good in his rookie season, not only putting up impressive stats but also leading his team to a very solid 6-2 record, tied for first in the AFC North with the Baltimore Ravens.
Dalton had a very productive college career, but he wasn't expected to be this good and consistent. Not only has Dalton been making big plays, he's looked like a veteran out on the field. If he can continue to grow and get better, the Bengals will be good for quite some time.
Weight: 248 pounds
2011-12' Season Stats: Completed 174 of 287 attempted passes for 2,393 yards, 11 touchdowns, nine interceptions, a 60.6 completion percentage and a 87.1 QB Rating
Upcoming Schedule: vs. Tennessee Titans (4-4), @ Detroit Lions (6-2), @ Indianapolis Colts (0-9)
As the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers put their trust in Cam Newton as the future of their franchise. Carolina may not have the best record, but the Panthers have to be excited with what they've seen so far from this promising young star.
Although he's expected to be good because he was drafted first overall, nobody thought that Cam would be as dominant as he has been in his rookie season.
Weight: 217 pounds
2011-12' Season Stats: Completed 132 of 206 attempted passes for 1,467 yards, 10 touchdowns, two interceptions, a 64.1 completion percentage and a 97.3 QB Rating
2010-11' Season Stats: Completed 204 of 342 attempted passes for 2,370 yards, 14 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, a 59.6 completion percentage and a 82.1 QB Rating
Upcoming Schedule: vs. New York Giants (6-2), vs. Arizona Cardinals (2-6), @ Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
Alex Smith has finally turned the corner and it looks as if he may pan out to be a very good quarterback in the NFL. Throwing for a total of eight touchdowns and only one interception in the last five games, Smith has been absolutely excellent, leading the 49ers to the top of their division.