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Quarterbacks Drafted in 2012 Shatter Prior Cumulative Rookie QB Records

By Chris Malumphy

The quarterbacks drafted in 2012 are a truly remarkable lot. It was anticipated that the 2012 quarterback crop, led by Stanford's Andrew Luck, who was long expected to be the number one pick in whichever year he entered the NFL, would be very good. Few, however, suspected how good, or how quickly, the quarterbacks drafted in 2012 would make their mark.

Not only was it a highly talented group, but it entered the NFL right at the time teams have finally cast aside the long held view that rookie quarterbacks should man the sidelines and be given time to develop their skills. The days when the Cincinnati Bengals kept number one pick Carson Palmer off the playing field for a full season to give him time to learn his trade are long since gone. Even the days when rookies were held out until after their team's bye week appears to have gone by the wayside.

Last year's quarterback crop was so good that even though Luck led his team from a 1-15 into the playoffs, he may have only had the third best season of the rookies drafted in 2012, arguably having been outplayed, rather handily one might conclude, by Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, who also led their teams into the playoffs.

All four quarterbacks drafted in the first round (Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, Ryan Tennehill and Brandon Weeden) started immediately as did third rounder Russell Wilson. Those five only sat out when injury struck. Third round Nick Foles also had a creditable half-season as a replacement for an injured Michael Vick in Philadelphia as did fourth round pick Kirk Cousins who played in a more limited role when RG3 was injured. Even sixth round selection Ryan Lindley got considerable playing time for the quarterback deprived Arizona Cardinals, although he was sorely overmatched. Brock Osweiler also got on the field for a few tosses in Denver. The only quarterbacks drafted in 2012 who did not throw a pass were seventh rounders B.J. Coleman and Chandler Harnish (Mr. Irrelevant in the 2012 draft).

The number of passes thrown by rookie quarterbacks has increased each of the past five seasons. Rookie quarterbacks threw more passes for more yards in each of the past three seasons (2010-2012) than the rookies in any prior year over the past two decades.

Quarterbacks drafted in 2010 got plenty of action in their rookie season, throwing 1,463 passes for 8,710 yards, 175 attempts and 804 yards more than in any year since 1993. Those drafted in 2011 topped those figures by 480 attempts (1,943) and 4,350 yards (13,060). The 2012 draftees added 995 (2,902) more attempts and 7,240 (20,300) yards more to those already lofty figures. Led by Russell Wilson, who threw the most touchdowns as a rookie since Peyton Manning also threw 26 in 1998, the 2012 draftees tossed 105 touchdowns as rookies, topping the prior mark by 32. Only the rookies drafted in 2008, the year of Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, had a higher cumulative passing rating.

It is hard to imagine that the 2013 quarterback crop will come close to matching the lofty achievements of the class of 2012. But in the whacky world of the NFL, youth now triumphs, and quarterbacks that are found wanting are more quickly replaced than ever before. If Geno Smith, Ryan Nassib, Matt Barkley, E.J. Manuel or any of the other numerous quarterbacks available in 2013 land with the right team, they might end up starting from day one too. General managers and coaches are now being replaced so frequently and at such a quick rate that taking time to "develop" a quarterback is no longer a viable solution for those whose job security requires that they win today.

Quarterbacks Drafted in 2012
Name Round Pick Player Team College Att C Pct Yds Avg
Att
Avg
Comp
TD TD
Pct
Int Int
Pct
Sacked Pct
Sacked
Rating
Andrew Luck111ColtsStanford62733954.143747.012.9233.7182.9416.176.5
Robert Griffin III122RedskinsBaylor39325865.632008.112.4205.151.3307.1102.4
Ryan Tannehill188DolphinsTexas A&M48428258.332946.811.7122.5132.7356.776.1
Brandon Weeden12222BrownsOklahoma State51729757.433856.511.4142.7173.3285.172.6
Brock Osweiler22557BroncosArizona State4250.0123.06.000.000.000.056.3
Russell Wilson31275SeahawksWisconsin39325264.131187.912.4266.6102.5337.7100.0
Nick Foles32588EaglesArizona26516160.816996.410.662.351.9207.079.1
Kirk Cousins47102RedskinsMichigan State483368.84669.714.148.336.335.9101.6
Ryan Lindley615185CardinalsSan Diego State1718952.07524.48.400.074.1126.646.7
B.J. Coleman736243PackersTennessee-Chattanooga                          
Chandler Harnish746253ColtsNorthern Illinois                          

Cumulative Records of Drafted Quarterbacks in Rookie Seasons
Year QBs
Drafted
Played Att C Pct Yds Avg
Att
Avg
Comp
TD TD
Pct
Int Int
Pct
Sacked Pct
Sacked
Rating
19938291548853.353275.810.9273.0323.5636.466.0
19949545620945.827366.013.1163.5245.3255.255.0
199514872836550.144076.112.1223.0324.4546.960.8
19968344522450.328296.412.6163.6173.85611.266.6
199711446222749.130016.513.2204.3296.37514.058.4
199886123366453.977616.311.7423.4534.3926.966.6
1999138117663954.367035.710.5413.5423.613510.367.9
2000127693043.52533.78.411.411.41517.952.4
200111798951452.058575.911.4242.4313.1827.765.1
2002167121061150.568965.711.3312.6473.91219.160.3
200313575641454.846586.211.3233.0273.6496.168.7
2004171087947854.457836.612.1354.0445.0889.167.2
200514788947753.748345.410.1202.2394.4959.758.7
2006127128870654.879066.111.2433.3453.5977.069.9
200711653229254.931005.810.6122.3163.0335.867.1
200813688653660.565107.312.1303.4232.6505.383.6
2009126118363653.872156.111.3383.2695.8876.958.7
2010149146382956.787106.010.5342.3463.11157.368.8
201113*81943109856.5130606.711.9733.8572.91517.277.5
20121192902171359.0203007.011.91053.6782.72026.581.3
Note: For this table, played includes quarterbacks who attempted at least one pass during the season. 2013 includes Terrelle Pryor who was selected in the Supplemental Draft but did not attempt a pass as a rookie.

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