I may be going out on a limb here, but Robert Griffin III will be the one sophomore quarterback who does not hit the proverbial wall. I see big things for him IF he has learned from his mistakes.
I don't hold out much hope for the rest of 2012's rookie class. While we will focus on the top three QBs in this group, it is sufficient to say that none of the others, including Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden, appear destined for greatness in this league. Don't get me wrong, I think Tannehill has a ton of potential; I just think he is in the wrong place to unleash it.
We heard so much about Andrew Luck's phenomenal season, setting rookie records with abandon:
- Most passing yards in a single game by a rookie quarterback: 433 (vs Miami Dolphins) (11/4/12)
- Most passing yards by a rookie in a single season: 4,374
- Most 300+ yards passing games by a rookie QB (6)
- Most pass attempts by a rookie in a single season: 627
- Most wins by a #1 pick QB in his rookie season (11)
- Most game-winning drives by a rookie quarterback (7)
- Most fourth quarter comebacks by a rookie quarterback (7)
Here's why I think he will stumble in 2013: Bruce Arians is gone and Chuck Pagano is healthy. Reggie Wayne is coming off a great year, tying his second highest career yardage total at 1355. But he is scoring fewer touchdowns and he isn't getting any younger at 34. They brought in under-achiever Darius Heyward-Bey, who will bring mostly disruption to an otherwise unproven receiving unit. I'm not confident that T. Y. Hilton can carry the load for this team.
Luck doesn't have the experience to deal with these problems like more seasoned veterans. In addition, he was sacked 41 times, not the most in the league, but more than his fair share as a rookie; that will be weighing on his mind as rushers pin-back their ears and come after him. He also throws a few too many interceptions (18) compared to TDs (23).
Russell Wilson is coached by the egotistical Pete Carroll. Carroll will encourage the same reckless abandon in his young QB, putting him in danger as teams key on his running tendency over passing. I also think his tendency to fumble will get worse rather than better. RGIII fumbled a lot more than Wilson, but only lost two of those, while Wilson lost all three fumbles he committed. That tells me that he loses track of the ball easily.
He reminds me of a Michael Vick, and if he insists on running as much as he wants, he will end up like Michael Vick. Griffin, on the other hand, will be kept in-check by Mike Shanahan; That's right, RGIII will become a pass-first QB who will still manage to out rush all the other sophomores.
While Wilson tied Peyton Manning's rookie TD record with 26, his numbers do not stand out as that impressive. He would have to do a lot more to keep up with both Luck and Griffin. Luck will rebound in 2014, but there is too much pressure on him to carry a team that isn't the same as it was in 2012. He will be the successor that the Colts organization endured a pathetic season to draft.
RG3 is poised to take his game to the next level. He will control the ball and his running better, though all of us will cringe every time he takes a hit downfield.
And that's why I think that RG3 will outshine his counterparts in 2013. His head is in the right place and he has the right coach to help him succeed long term.