Two years ago the National Football League was forever changed. The 2012 NFL Draft Class featured one of the best quarterback classes pre-draft. There was Andrew Luck, who was quickly labeled as the next Peyton Manning like quarterback. Robert Griffin III, who was coming out of Baylor University as the reigning Heisman winner. And of course, the three guys who were good, but not on the level on Luck and Griffin; Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden and Russell Wilson.
In honor of this tremendous draft class, I am going to go back and re-rank the quarterbacks that headlines the draft. By the way, I am well aware that Nick Foles was in this draft class. He is playing tremendous football as of late and has HIS Eagles in a great position to make a postseason push. Despite his great success as of late, I am not counting him in this list as these were the five quarterbacks who truly headlined this class of quarterbacks.
Number 5: Brandon Weeden – Cleveland Browns
This is an easy one. Brandon Weeden has been by far the worst quarterback out of the 2012 draft class. In his short career, he has been intercepted, benched and injured more times than he has been actually seen on the field. When Weeden has been on the field, it hasn’t been very pretty. In just 26 games, Weeden has thrown 23 touchdowns and 26 interceptions with a passer rating of 71.8. Worst of all, however, is his inability to win games as a quarterback. The Browns use of a first round pick on Weeden has been a bust so far. They finished 5-11 last season and are currently sitting at 4-8. So far, Weeden has only been able to win one game as a starter this season and will most likely not be back in Cleveland next season.
Number 4: Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins
The fourth spot was a tough one for me. Both Ryan Tannehill and Robert Griffin have pretty much tied in terms of early career success. They both have been in some pretty bad situations early on and are both playing pretty well. In his first season in the NFL, Ryan Tannehill was pretty much dumped into a below average team. The Miami Dolphins put him out on the field with no true number one wide receiver and an okay tight end. Tannehill wasn’t exactly surrounded by weapons in his first season. Luckily for Tannehill the Dolphins went out and brought in a multitude of weapons. Mike Wallace, Dustin Keller and Brandon Gibson were all brought in to help transform this offense with the hopes of putting the team over the top. Unfortunately, both Keller and Gibson both went down early due to knee injuries. Not only has he lost two top targets, but he has also been playing behind arguably the worst line in the league. Tannehill is having a pretty good season for what he has been put through.
Number 3: Robert Griffin III – Washington Redskins
As I just said, the four and three spots was a very tough decision. You could easily make a case that both quarterbacks deserve the number three spot. But, when it comes down to it, Griffin got the nod; here’s why. In his very first season in the NFL, Griffin was able to do something that is rarely done. After his Washington Redskins started off the season 3-6, they were able to win seven straight games to close out the season and earn a spot in the postseason. This was in large part due to the success of Robert Griffin. Throughout the seven game winning streak, RGIII scored a total of 13 touchdowns while turning the ball over just four times.
Unfortunately, Redskins Nation hasn’t seen the same dynamic quarterback that they saw last season. As we all know, Griffin suffered a major knee injury at the end of the season and didn’t really do a lot of offseason workouts with the team. The defense has also been a nightmare this season, which has contributed to the Redskins 3-9 record. Due to his great run last season and the ability to lead a team to the playoffs, I am giving Griffin the notch at the three spot.
Number 2: Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts
Prior to his last season at the University of Stanford, Andrew Luck was not only labeled as the number one pick in the draft, but also as the next Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. Well, just 28 games into his career we have all been able to see why exactly he had that label. Andrew Luck has done nothing but impress since coming into the league. Last season he was able to take the last place Indianapolis Colts and carry them into the playoffs with a Wild Card berth. Despite losing in the first round to the Baltimore Ravens, Andrew Luck gave the “Peyton Manningless” franchise hope for a bright future.
This season Luck has been able to pick up right where he left off and as a result he has the Colts sitting at 8-4 and atop the AFC South. What is most impressive to me is the fact that Luck has played this well with such a poor offensive line. Throughout this season, no quarterback has been pressured more than Andrew Luck. Luck has been pressured over 333 times this season. And in a win against the Tennessee Titans this past Sunday, Luck was pressured on more than 50% of his drop backs. Let’s also not forget about Luck’s already impressive amount of come from behind wins in the fourth quarter. Certainly Luck has ways to go before he is even mentioned in the same breath as Peyton Manning, however, Luck has had a very nice and successful start to his career.
Number 1: Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks
Four out of the five quarterbacks on this list were drafted in the first round of the 2012 Draft. The lone quarterback who wasn’t? Russell Wilson. In fact, Wilson wasn’t even drafted in the second round. That’s right, the Seattle Seahawks did not draft Wilson until the third round of the draft. Clearly, Wilson was overlooked by every team other than Seattle. Standing at just 5 feet 11 inches, his size was one of the main reasons for his fall in the draft. Since entering the league, Wilson has made all the teams who overlooked him because of his small stature regret it in a big way (pun intended).
In his rookie season, Russell Wilson threw for just over 3,000 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with a passer rating of exactly 100. Not only that, but the Seahawks found themselves just one game away from playing in the NFC Championship game. This season is a bit different. Wilson has taken on a much bigger leadership role. He is continuing to play phenomenal football and should really be in the discussion for MVP. In 12 games this season Wilson has 22 touchdowns with just 6 interceptions. He is playing at an extremely high level and as a result the Seahawks are 11-1 and are heavily favored to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this season. There is no doubt in my mind that Wilson has been by far the best quarterback out the quarterbacks who headlined the 2012 NFL Draft.