Power Ranking the NFL's Starting Rookie QBs
Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and the rest of the quarterbacks from the 2012 NFL draft have the potential to become the greatest class of quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, via the Los Angeles Times: "The 2012 season will be the first since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 to feature more than two rookie quarterbacks starting in openers."
The Seattle Seahawks announced Russell Wilson as their starting quarterback on Sunday, August 26, bringing the total amount of rookie starting quarterbacks up to five for the 2012 season.
Judging their preseason performances and taking into consideration what I saw during the scouting process, here are my power rankings for these five young men.
5. Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns and Brandon Weeden will have a rough go of it in 2012.
Trent Richardson and Josh Gordon are massive upgrades over Montario Hardesty and Mohamed Massaquoi, but the entire offense will be a messy work in progress this season. There's just no getting around it.
The offensive line is still struggling to protect the passer, and Weeden will make plenty of rookie mistakes.
Through three preseason games, he's completed 24-of-49 passes (49 percent) for 297 yards (6.1 yards per attempt) while throwing zero touchdowns and one interception.
Weeden has showed us a bit of everything. He's made some excellent decisions and put the ball right on the mark, and he's also made some bad decisions and has looked out of synch at times.
Given another year in this system with the weapons around him, Weeden will be just fine. For now, though, he's going to struggle.
4. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill has less to work with at the wide receiver position than any of the other four rookie starters, but so far he's played admirably under the circumstances.
Dropped passes and bad protection have been constants for Tannehill, thus far, and it's not going to get easier any time soon.
Tannehill has flashed signs of greatness during the preseason. His arm is plenty strong, and his accuracy is improving. So far, he's completed 36-of-71 passes for 379 yards, tossing one touchdown and one interception along the way.
It's going to be a long season for Tannehill and the Fins, but there are silver linings in the clouds.
3. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III has looked electric at times this preseason, only further impressing upon me the bright future that is ahead of him and the Washington Redskins.
He is decisive with his reads, shows accuracy in and out of the pocket, has ridiculous arm strength and is capable of burning teams with his legs. He's going to be dynamic as long as he avoids getting injured, a la Mike Vick.
Through three games, RG3 has completed 20-of-31 passes for 193 yards while throwing two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
He's also fumbled the ball twice, losing the ball both times—a definite no-no, and something that Mike and Kyle Shanahan have surely made a point of emphasis for the young signal-caller.
RG3 has the best chance out of all five quarterbacks to lead his team into the playoffs as a rookie, and I'm so confident he will live up to the hype that I've picked the Redskins to win the NFC East.
2. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Keep in mind that these are preseason rankings, folks.
So far, Russell Wilson has been better than RG3. When I do this again at the end of the year, we might see a different scene altogether, but for now, Wilson is riding a glorious cloud of excellence.
While all three previous quarterbacks on this list have regressed slightly over the past three preseason games, Wilson has steadily improved.
Through three preseason games, Wilson has completed 35-of-52 passes for 464 yards for five touchdowns while throwing only one interception. His 8.9-yard average per attempt is more impressive than what we saw from Cam Newton for his rookie year.
Wilson also tacked on 150 yards on only 10 carries and another touchdown.
Granted, it is only the preseason, and teams will figure out what Wilson is about at some point—just like they did with Newton—but Wilson looks as impressive as any young quarterback I've ever seen.
It's not just the numbers, either.
Wilson is crazy smart. From what I can observe, he seems to already have a better grasp of the Seahawks offense than does Matt Flynn, and he's going to keep getting better as he gets more comfortable.
1. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck will be better than Peyton Manning if he stays healthy and is given as many weapons as Manning had when he was in Indianapolis with the Colts.
There. I said it.
It's hard to imagine Manning doing any better than Luck has done if he were still with the Colts, given the same roster around him. Luck has been scary good, causing grizzled, old scouts to shake their heads in wonder at the things he already does on the football field.
He is a natural leader, commanding the huddle as if he were a 10-year vet. He is unflappable under pressure, making all the right decisions even when he's running for his life (which he'll be doing a lot of in 2012). He can make all the throws, and better yet, he knows how to put just the right touch on his passes.
He's looking off safeties like Tom Brady, tricking them with his eyes and then dropping passes into the zone they just left.
It's really unbelievable to watch, and it never gets old.
Through three preseason games, most of the time under incredible pressure, Luck has completed 40-of-64 passes for 514 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
The ceiling is incredibly high for Luck and the Colts. Now, it's up to the front office to provide the right pieces next to Luck to bring another championship to Indy.
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