As a younger man there are many who recall the Draft of 1983 where there were five players in the quarterback position who were drafted amidst a lot of fanfare. Names like John Elway, Todd Blackledge, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Tony Eason, and Ken O’Brien. Collectively they possess eight Super Bowl appearances and two Lombardi’s amongst that sextet of draft picks. Back the quarterback had to carry the notepad and headset and study the games and game film before he went in.
A lot has changed in almost 30 years. Today a quarterback is drafted for big money and is expected to earn your keep immediately. In 2011 new faces like Andy Dalton, Tim Tebow, Blaine Gabbert, and Cam Newton took to their new environments.
2012 unleashed another barrage of rookie quarterbacks. Everyone knows about Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, and Brandon Weeden. In 2012 the aforementioned would start the season under center. A record which shattered the previous record of three rookies to start since 1960.
In terms of comparison pricing as to which of these five quarterbacks rank the best based on stats and expectations my list reads as follows:
1. Robert Griffith III – The ability to run and throw, anticipate the read, and to fake a defense to sleep with the look of a run only to go deep.
2. Andrew Luck – Son of another Pro QB over 30 years ago with poise, intellect, and the makeup to be great.
3. Ryan Tannehill – Aggie stalwart joined a program with an offensive scheme similar to what A&M did.
4. Russell Wilson – Tough, gritty, grinder, and a gamer who controls the huddle.
5. Brandon Weeden – Had the distinction of defeating some high profile QBs in college despite his age.
You can add names like Kirk Cousins, Brock Osweiler, even Nick Foles for rookie QBs who have started and won in 2012.
Hard to believe that Russell Wilson has already defeated a Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and the Chicago Bears on the road. RG3 started strong and right when Mike Shanahan lulled the rest of the NFL into a pseudo-stupor by ‘playing for next year’ the tandem of RG3 by air and by ground (with Alfred Morris getting the carries) the offense began to flourish. Only four interceptions for RG3 while tossing 18 TD passes.
Andrew Luck has 18 TD tosses and 18 picks. In some instances his best defense was to just throw the ball away. Brandon Weeden had a three game winning streak despite only 13 TD’s and 15 interceptions earlier this season. Weeden’s QB rating was a measly 72.8.
Russell Wilson had 20 scores against nine interceptions and a passer rating that was the highest ever for four straight weeks (127.3, 131.0, 125.9, and 134.9). Many Seahawk fans are clamoring for a Super Bowl revisit. Ryan Tannehill does not have much to work with on a team in rebuild mode offensively. A 72.9 passer rating for the season along with eight touchdowns and 12 picks. Many foresee better days ahead for the Aggie. Look for more playing time for Nick Foles as he is clearly the future for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Amazing to see how well the NFL QBs are shaping up. Equally amazing are the number of starting quarterbacks who played their high school football in the state of Texas. Now you have a double digit number. Based on numbers, performance, ability, and marketability my Top 5 for Rookie QBs in the NFL are 1. RG3 2. Russell Wilson 3. Andrew Luck 4. Brandon Weeden and 5. Ryan Tannehill.
If you include the rookies from 2011 over 30 percent of the quarterbacks are newbies who are giving the position of quarterback a new look and direction based on abilities, and talents, and a level of confidence and expectation normally reserved for the veteran play-caller. May the windfall of talent continue to flourish.