Archive for December 7, 2012

One of the biggest stories coming into the season (besides Peyton’s new home or the QB controversy in New York) was the draft class and rookie starters for 2012. Leading the way was Andrew Luck going to the Colts, closely followed by RGIII in a deal to the Redskins that included significant efforts to move up in the draft to get him. The Dolphins snatched up Ryan Tannehill within the top 10, followed by Brandon Weeden to the Browns to round out the first round. Later in the draft, Russell Wilson went to the Seahawks and Nick Foles to the Eagles in the 3rd round. All of these rookies either started the season as the starter or have eventually won the spot. Kirk Cousins got a moment of exposure and threw a touchdown, but there was no room to continue once RGIII was good to go again.

Regardless, let’s take a look at the progress of each of these players and their teams…

11-5-12-colts-luck-4_3_r560Andrew Luck (Colts): Coming out of Stanford, there was a lot of hype around his talent and ability to immediately make an impact at the pro level. Manning had moved on to the Broncos after a disappointing 2-14 season and recovering from an injury. The team was no longer looking like the one that won the Super Bowl or was competitive deep into the playoffs. Luck did not start with a win, but the city still saw a glimpse of something special. When Chuck Pagano learned early in the season that he had leukemia, the team was able to rally around his situation. Luck responded with proving that he has some great developing talent and is currently sitting with a 17-16 TD-INT ratio, 3,596 yards and a team record of 8-4. The team is poised to make the playoffs in his first season and will be in contention for years to come.

rgiiicrowd1012dRobert Griffin III (Redskins): Definitely the most dynamic player coming out of college, this Heisman trophy winner ended up getting Washington to take their typical route of giving up future picks to attempt to make a big trade up. The difference with RGIII was that he brought a spirit and hope along with him that DC had been missing for quite some time. The Redskins were not expected to be competitive overall, particularly after some quick injuries on defense, but RGIII helped push the team to a victory to start off the season. He was the only rookie QB this year to start with a win. The next set of games were a roller coaster ride, but his vision and abilities excited the fan base and brought an analysis of his play as that of a much more veteran player. His reputation is one that is respected, not questioned. With possibly the best overall personal stats, RGIII is sitting there with a 104.4 QB rating, 17-4 TD-INT ratio, 2,660 passing yards and rushing totals that include 714 yards and 6 TDs. His stats as a rookie have already placed him in the football Hall of Fame, with examples like his late-game scramble against the Vikings leading his charge. He has kept the Redskins in contention with a 6-6 record and only 1 game back from the Giants.

yahoo_ryantannehillinjuryRyan Tannehill (Dolphins): During the draft, there was an expectation that the Dolphins would take this young player out of Texas A&M because they had no one else at QB and failed to get anyone in possible free agents or trades. Walking into a tough situation and into a division that was dominated by the Patriots, he has performed decently with few weapons around him. With the team at 5-7, there are some building blocks necessary to give him a fair shake. So far, he has managed a 7-12 TD-INT ratio and 2,559 yards. He has still been better than Mark Sanchez…

Brandon WeedenBrandon Weeden (Browns): Ending up in a similarly tough situation, Weeden was a shocker out of Oklahoma State and untraditional with his graduation from college at the age of 28. The Browns were in a similar (and slightly more) tough situation with few offensive options and with less of a running game. The team is not doing well at 4-8, but he has slightly better than Tannehill with 13-15 TD-INT ratio and 2,820 yards.

la-seattle-names-russell-wilson-starting-quart-001Russell Wilson (Seahawks): The biggest surprise out of the season has been Wilson’s preseason victory over acquired Matt Flynn from the Packers. Picked up from Wisconsin, the two guys battled in preseason and training camp and somehow the rookie was given the nod over the highly paid transfer. Surprisingly, Wilson showed promise from the beginning. Losing in the first game, none of the teams loses have been by no more than 7 points and the team is enjoying a 7-5 record. Wilson’s stats have been better than Andrew Luck, with a 19-8 TD-INT ratio, 2,344 yards and a 95.2 QB rating. Although there was the controversial TD call at the end of the Seahawks-Packers game, there is no doubt that Wilson at least will make an impact in the shorter term and possibly longer.

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas CowboysNick Foles (Eagles): Probably not expected to see the field much during this season, this player from Arizona benefited from a struggling and injured Michael Vick. After watching the veteran QB fumble and toss INTs more than any other time in his career, a concussion opened the door to let Foles hit the field. His entry into the NFL was not a positive one though. The Eagles have failed to win a game for the past two months, meaning that the Phillies have won a game more recently than the Eagles. Foles has not had it easy with 2 games against Dallas, 1 against Washington and 1 against Carolina. Through 4 games, he is sitting with 2-3 TD-INT ratio, 6 fumbles and 793 yards. The Eagles are out of contention and will be sticking with Foles for the rest of the season.

There are still 4 weeks left, but this rookie class has some great potential to be consider among the best with talent that could dominate the NFL for years to come.