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Rookie quarterbacks can revitalize weak teams

Posted on December 11, 2012 | by Evan Kendall

As we have now seen for almost the entire 2012 National Football League regular season, drafting a rookie quarterback can be many things: exciting, inspiring, terrifying and regretful. In the cases of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilso

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n, the first two feelings have consistently come to mind.

Luck has led the Indianapolis Colts to a 9-4 record through 13 games — all but guaranteeing a playoff spot unless they lose every game remaining. Luck has brought hope back to Indianapolis after a 2-14 record last season that landed them the bumber one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. So far, Luck has amassed 3,792 passing yards, 18 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns. That is incredible offensive output for someone with no previous NFL experience.

Griffin, also known as RGIII, has led a similar rookie campaign. He has the Washington Redskins at 7-6, just one game behind the leader of the National Football Conference East, the New York Giants, and has done most of the team’s offensive work to get them there. So far, RGIII has totaled 2,906 passing yards, 18 passing touchdowns with only 4 interceptions, 748 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns. RGIII has been nothing short of phenomenal and has fans happy about their
football team for the first time in at least a decade.

Wilson, on the other hand, has not been as dominant but has still led his team to an 8-5 record — good enough for second place in the NFC West. Wilson currently has 2,492 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and 310 rushing yards. Most importantly, Wilson has been a leader on Seattle’s offense. Although Luck and RGIII garner most of the NFL’s attention, Wilson has done well enough to be considered one of the league’s top rookie.

Not all players are created equal, and for every good quarterback drafted, there is usually another bad one. Enter, Brandon Weeden.

Weeden was surprisingly drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. At 29 years old, Weeden is by far the oldest rookie quarterback from last year’s draft, but his age did not give him the experience he would need to face the NFL’s best defenses. So far in 2012, Weeden has done very little to be proud of, and his 26.1 quarterback rating, ESPN’s statistic that measures overall QB performance on a zero to 100 scale is ranked 35th out of 36 quarterbacks eligible for the stat this season.

The most unfortunate part about drafting a rookie quarterback who flops in the NFL is not about the rookie season or even the year after but about the three-year disaster that it may become. Usually, general managers will give a rookie quarterback three years to develop, but if the QB just is not talented, as is most likely the case with Weeden, it will be a disastrous. By hurting the team, but it also hurts the fans.

When an NFL team is in position to draft a top quarterback because of a bad record that landed them a high pick, it can be a blessing or a curse: The QB can become the savior for the franchise or a joke for future generations of fans.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Dec. 11 print edition. Evan Kendall is a contributing writer. Email him at sports@nyunews.com.

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Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

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