Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will always be linked. They were the top two picks in the 2012 NFL Draft and have revitalized hope and excitement for fans in Indianapolis and Washington. They are just two of five rookie quarterbacks who were given the nod on opening day and have started every game in their inaugural campaign. The Luck vs. RG3 debate is hotly contested, but across the board rookies have made a major difference this year.
No stat is more important than record. The five rookie QB's have combined to go 30-30. Luck and the Colts lead the way having won five of their last six. Indianapolis is primed for a playoff berth with an 8-4 mark following a two-win 2011. While Luck has led the Colts to victories, his 16 interceptions are the most in the NFL. The two time Heisman Trophy finalist is fourth in the league in passing yards which is best among the rookies.
The only two quarterbacks in the league with a better QB Rating than Robert Griffin III are likely Hall of Famer's Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning. The reigning Heisman winner's 104.4 rating would rank among the top five in the league every season over the past decade. His four interceptions are the fewest in the NFL. The Redskins (6-6) sit just one game behind Seattle for the final NFC playoff spot.
The Seahawks are in a position to make the playoffs in part because of coach Pete Carroll's bold decision to start his third round draft pick Russell Wilson at QB over free agent acquisition Matt Flynn. Wilson has delivered by winning three of Seattle's last four games while producing a 95.2 QB rating, seventh best in the league. Wilson has minimized mistakes with just eight interceptions and impressed home fans going 5-0 at CenturyLink Field.
Ryan Tannehill has brought a vision of the future to Miami. The Dolphins lost 10 straight games bridging the end of 2009 and start of 2010 with QB's ranging from Tyler Thigpen to Chad Henne to Matt Moore plus a variety of wildcat options. Tannehill has completed 65-percent of his passes during five Miami victories and thrown just one interception in those games. Had the Dolphins won just one of their two overtime games they would be .500 and in position for their first winning season since 2008.
As for Brandon Weeden and Cleveland, two wins in the last four games would give the Browns their best mark since 2007. In Sunday's win over the Raiders the 29-year old passed for a career high 364 yards while completing 69-percent of his passes. After averaging only 13.6 points a game last season, this year Cleveland is over 19 points per contest and have tallied 20 each of the last three weeks
It is unlikely a rookie QB is going to win this year’s ultimate prize, but all five teams needed a reason for optimism and positive signs are present. You can debate which is your favorite, but it seems clear at least two and maybe more “franchise” quarterbacks are part of the class of 2012.