Really Remarkable Rookies
Every year there seems to be one person that emerges from the NFL Draft and represents themselves as a dying franchises savior. This season, there is not only one player, but three, that have completely redefined and revamped franchises that seemed to be slowly deteriorating. Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson have all taken the reigns over their teams and not only improved them but they all turned them into potentially dangerous playoff teams. The great thing about these three superb athletes is that they have all taken a different approach to the new age NFL and made it look extremely easy to succeed in a league that players average only 3 years for an entire career. A lot of people say that it takes time to develop at the professional level, but when you are born with the God given talents that these three players possess, time is no longer a necessity.
Andrew Luck was the first overall pick of the NFL Draft. He was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts after they finished the season with a league worst 2-14 record. Luck was given the very unpleasant task of filling the shoes of arguably the greatest QB of all time, Peyton Manning. The last time the Colts had the #1 overall pick in the draft was when they took Manning 14 years ago. Manning showed signs of brilliance but the Colts still finished with a less than impressive 3-13 record in his rookie campaign. Luck on the other hand has taken the worst team in the NFL and turned them into a playoff bound 9-5 electrifying squad that has the 8th best passing attack in the league. Andrew set the NFL Rookie record for most passing yards in a single game by torching the Miami Dolphins for 433 earlier this season. More impressively, Luck has already passed the NFL Rookie record for most yards in a season (3,739) set by Manning back in 1998 by already accumulating 3,978 and he is on pace to break the all time rookie mark that Cam Newton set last year when he threw for 4,051. Luck has shown signs of some rookie jitters but all in all he has looked like a seasoned professional and has an unbelievably bright future ahead of him.
Luck Stats: Passing Yards 3,978, 308 completions, 20 Touchdowns passing and 5 Touchdowns rushing
The second overall pick of this past year’s NFL Draft was the Heisman Trophy winning Robert Griffin III. The man they can RG3 has taken the NFL by storm and has redefined how coaches will look at the Quarterback position. He runs as well as any running back (most rushing yards for a rookie QB 748 and counting), he throws as hard and accurate as any Quarterback and he manages a game as well as any coach. He plays the game at the pro level like he has been there for decades yet he has only started 13 games all season. He started the season working out the problems that led the Redskins to the NFL’s second worst record from a year ago and now has them sitting on top of the best division in football, the NFC East. Washington started slow with a 3-6 record, but the emergence and maturation of RG3 has led to the Skins reeling off 5 straight victories and now they have complete control over their own destiny. RG3 has impressed everyone and even though he suffered a little set back a couple of weeks ago when he injured his knee, he is still bound to have an NFL MVP award within a handful of years.
RG3 Stats: Passing Yards 2,902, Rushing Yards 748, 18 Passing Touchdowns to only 4 Interceptions, 6 Rushing TD’s, Best YPC in NFL 6.7
Rarely does the 75th overall pick of the NFL Draft make a big impact on his team in their rookie season, let alone lead them at the QB position to a playoff bound 9-5 record. That is exactly what Russel Wilson has done this season after stealing the starting QB position from the highly touted, waste of money signing, of the Green Bay Packers, Matt Flynn. In the preseason Wilson showed signs of a mobile QB that had the ability to sling the ball down field. He had great command for the game and was a perfect complement to the running attack that Pete Carroll, who I despise by the way, implemented with the ever-talented Marshawn Lynch. While Wilson’s stat line isn’t nearly as impressive as Luck’s or RG3’s, his game management and record sure as hell are. The Seahawks are known as a defensive reliant team yet Wilson has led his team to back to back games that have totaled more than 100 points combined. On top of that, with two games remaining in the season, Wilson has helped lead his team from a 7 win season a year ago to 9 already this year. While I don’t think Wilson will be able to steal the NFL Rookie of the Year away from Luck or RG3, I do feel that he will be a playoff QB for many more years.
Wilson’s Stats: 2,697 Passing Yards on 63% completion percentage, 402 Rushing Yards, 21 Passing Touchdowns