Last year, the NFL was in the midst of discovering some of the most unique young passers in the league. Between the dynamic passing and running hybrid that is Robert Griffin III to the confident pocket passer Andrew Luck, each quarterback came into the league with some truly unique skill sets that set them apart from the rest. Although some rookie passers didn’t necessarily have quite the same illustrious season that others had (Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden), this is the year where they can either turn their careers around or succumb to being a forgotten young talent who just couldn’t get it done.
Fastest Quarterback: Robert Griffin III
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Out of all the rookie quarterbacks who participated in the NFL Combine, none were able to surpass RGIII’s lightning quick 40’ time of 4.41 seconds (Russell Wilson was the closest with a 40’ time of 4.55 seconds). On top of that, RGIII ran for the most yardage last season (815 yards) and ran for the most touchdowns by finding the red zone seven times (Andrew Luck was the closest to this accolade with five rushing TD’s). While RGIII’s agility and overall tenacity are unprecedented amongst the sophomore quarterbacks, he sacrifices a degree of discipline in order to achieve these feats. After RGIII was bulldozed by Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata in week 14 of the regular season, his quickness and mobility began to deteriorate with each successive game. If RGII can remain disciplined and can exhibit more self-awareness before running the football, his unmatched speed will be a highly useful and coveted skill come this season.
Quarterback With Best Leadership Intangibles: Russell Wilson
Initially, it would seem obvious that Indianapolis Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck would be the most worthy of this prestigious achievement given how he transformed the Colts from being the worst team in the league in 2011 into a legitimate playoff contender in 2012. However, Russell not only had to overcome adversity in terms of his size, but he also he had to fight tooth and nail to earn the starting quarterback position. After Wilson valiantly earned the starting quarterback position, he brought with him a sense of unwavering confidence and unstoppable determination. Even when the Seattle Seahawks succumbed to tough losses, Wilson always found a way to bounce back in order to reinvigorate his team to their desired prominence game in and game out. While Wilson has veteran talent on his team such as Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin to help him reach consistent success, it is Wilson’s cool and calm demeanor that has allowed the Seahawks to be one of the best teams in the NFC.
Quarterback With The Most Potential: Andrew Luck
Without a doubt, Andrew Luck proved to be the Colts saving grace when he was selected with the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Between inspirational leadership qualities and his undying determination for success, Luck has deservedly been compared to the Colts former franchise quarterback Peyton Manning. Along with his likeable qualities as a human being, Luck has one of the strongest arms in the league and more than proved it when he threw for 4,374 yards (nearly a 1,000 more than any other rookie quarterback was able to accomplish). However, by far his most recognizable accomplishment was leading the Colts to a wild card berth after they had finished 2-12 the previous season. Although the Colts eventually lost to the Baltimore Ravens without scoring a single touchdown in the playoffs, Luck’s persistence and burning desire to win only became greater than it was before. The weakness to Luck’s game was his interception to touchdown ratio. While Luck managed to throw for 23 touchdown passes while running five more, he threw 18 interceptions in the regular season (more than any other rookie quarterback). Worse still, his accuracy ranged from being spot on to absolutely abysmal (completed 54.1% of his passes, the worst of any rookie quarterback). If Luck can exhibit more patients in the pocket, he could easily recover to be one of the best passers in the game.
Most Accurate Quarterback: Robert Griffin III
Although RGIII got himself into some trouble when running the football, his throwing abilities proved to be nearly flawless. Aside from completing over 65% of his passes, RGIII threw for 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions (less than any quarterback in the NFL). While initially it would be easy to surmise that RGIII’s low turnover rate was due in part to short completions or screen passes, each pass he threw averaged over eight yards per throw (more than any other rookie quarterback). Even if RGIII can’t run with nearly as much grace as he did last season, his arm should be more than enough to compensate for this potential ailment.
Best Sophomore Quarterback: Robert Griffin III
In the end, while up and coming passers such as Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck have proven to have one of kind leadership qualities and marketable on the field talents, none of them are as complete or dynamic as RGIII has proven to be. Between his off the charts football IQ and his gifted athleticism, RGIII is likely to be the quarterback of the future. Not only can RGIII throw the ball with pinpoint accuracy, he can also effectively run the ball at a moments notice even if a hard-hitting sack seems inevitable. Although RGIII needs to become more methodical and patient in order to avoid season ending injuries like he did last year, everything else about this young quarterback screams future hall of famer. Assuming RGIII is 100% healthy by week one of the regular season, he’ll undoubtedly be able to change the way fans and critics alike view the role of a quarterback.