Rookie Quarterbacks Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck And RG3 Stealing the Show in 2012

 
on December 05 2012 5:59 PM

Peyton Manning is having an MVP type of season after missing all of last year.

 

Adrian Peterson leads the NFL in rushing and has been the best running back in the game after recovering from a torn ACL suffered late last season. 

 

While both of these are compelling stories, it is not the number one headline for the 2012 NFL season. 

 

This year's class of rookie quarterbacks are stealing the spotlight. 

 

During week one we witnessed something we haven't seen since 1950: five starting rookie quarterbacks.

 

Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill have combined to go 30-30 this season. No other rookie class has won this many games in a season since the AFL/NFL merger. 

 

Keep in mind that the Indianapolis Colts, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins combined to go 24-56 last season.

 

Luck, Wilson and Griffin have their teams in position to make the playoffs. If the postseason started today the Indianapolis Colts would be the 5th seed in the AFC, Seattle would be the 6th seed in the NFC, and Washington would be the last team out in the NFC. 

 

There were only two draft classes I could think of that are comparable to this year's class: 1983 & 2004.

 

The 1983 NFL Draft featured John Elway, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly. Elway and Marino combined to go 11-8 in 1983. Marino led the Dolphins to the playoffs during his rookie campaign. Kelly never saw the field during his rookie season. This is arguably the best quarterback class we have ever seen, but the main reason why I don't consider this one tops is because these three quarterbacks combined to go 34-32 in the playoffs and 2-9 in the Super Bowl. Kelly, Marino and Elway are all in the Hall of Fame, but the combined 2-9 record in the Super Bowl is what scares me away from considering this the best quarterback class of all-time.

 

The 2004 NFL Draft featured Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers and Matt Schaub. Manning, Roethlisberger and Schaub combined to go 14-7 in 2004. Big Ben went 13-0, while Manning and Schaub combined to go 1-7. Rivers didn't make a start in 2004, but did appear in two games. This class is a combined 21-11 in the postseason and 4-1 in the Super Bowl. 

 

You know there is a ton of talented rookie quarterbacks if you are comparing them to these two draft classes.

 

Just take a look at what these rookies are doing this season.

 

LUCK

Andrew Luck has thrown for 3,596 yards this season and 17 touchdowns. Luck ranks fourth in passing yards and has more yards than Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers this season. 

 

He has another five touchdowns on the ground. He has led Indianapolis to five come back victories this season (tying him with Vince Young and Big Ben for most by a rookie). 

 

Luck took over a team coming off a 2-14 season, replacing Peyton Manning and has played the majority of the season without his head coach after he was diagnosed with cancer. No quarterback selected first overall has ever won as many games as Luck during their rookie season. The Colts are sitting at 8-4 and would need a total collapse to miss the postseason. 

 

Luck is 455 passing yards away from breaking Cam Newton's rookie record for most passing yards in a season. 

 

RG III

Robert Griffin III has thrown for 2,660 yards and 17 touchdowns. The most impressive thing about the second overall pick of the draft is he has only thrown four interceptions. RG III is completing 67% of his passes, has a 73.4 QBR and a 104.4 passer rating. 

 

Griffin ranks third in passer rating, fourth in QBR, T-5th in completion % and T-1st in fewest interceptions (among QB's who have started more than one game). 

 

RG III already broke the rookie quarterback record for most rushing yards in a season. He has rushed for 714 yards and six touchdowns. He is tied with Cam Newton for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, and is T-10th in the NFL. No quarterback has rushed for more yards than Griffin this season and he is on pace to become the second quarterback to ever eclipse 1,000 yards rushing. He is 325 yards shy of breaking Michael Vick's single-season record set in 2006.

 

Everyone thought the Redskins were crazy for giving St. Louis three first-round picks and a second-round pick for the number two pick in the draft. Looks like the Rams should have asked for more.

 

RUSSELL "MAGIC" WILSON

Russell Wilson was the steal of the draft. He was the sixth quarterback selected and was taken 75th overall. I think if teams could do it all over again he would have been the third quarterback selected because this guy simply knows how to play the quarterback position. He has thrown for 2,344 yards and 19 touchdowns. He has rushed for nearly 300 yards this season and has been one of the better quarterbacks during crunch time. 

 

Just ask the Chicago Bears. The Seahawks were down 14-10 with 3:40 left in the game. Chicago pinned Seattle down to their own three yard line. Didn't matter for the rookie quarterback. He led his team to a 97-yard touchdown drive, completing 9-12 passes and contributing for 86 yards on the drive. The Bears miraculously tied the game to send it to overtime, but the rookie QB stepped up once again.

 

Russell Wilson led Seattle on a 12-play 79-yard drive that took nearly eight minutes. He looked like he has been doing this his entire career. He was 3-3 on the drive, including the game winning 13-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice. Wilson scampered for 28 yards rushing on the drive and did this against one of the best defenses in the NFL, on the road. It was Wilson's third 4th-quarter comeback this season. 

 

His 19 passing touchdowns are more than Andrew Luck, RG III or any other rookie QB have this season. He is seven away from breaking Peyton Manning's record for most passing touchdowns in a season by a rookie. Luck and Griffin are getting most of the love this season, but what Russell Wilson has done for Seattle is truly remarkable. The guy knows how to win late and everyone said he was too small, I bet they wish they could take that back because this guy simply knows how to win football games. 

 

It is remarkable what this rookie class is doing this season. It is impossible to tell if this is the best rookie quarterback class ever, but judging by the way things have gone this season, it has a good chance to be the best class in NFL history. 

 

I have never seen any rookie quarterbacks as good as Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III during their first season. These young men handle themself with class, dignity and both work just as hard as anyone in the NFL. 

 

The 1983 and 2004 draft are still the cream of the crop, but the way the 2012 class is starting they are on the path to become the best rookie quarterback class we have ever seen. 

 

Don't forget to follow me on twitter: @zpoff13 

 

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