The Class Of 2012 Has A Hall Of Fame Look To It
Some of this seasons headlines have been made by the outstanding play of the rookies. Every week it seems that one of the new players to the league does something incredible. From orchestrating a come from behind victory, or booting a long distance field goal. There's no denying that this years crop have been the most exciting, and talked about for a long time.
As always there's the ones that will have been earmarked for great careers from the very start, it's easy to overlook some of those lower down the draft list. Some priceless gems have often come from lower rounds after all.
Lets have a look then at who, from this years draft will have the best chance of living up to their top billing, and perhaps somewhat unfairly, compare them to the greatest rookie talent ever to come out of one single draft. The Class of 1983.
Lets start at the quarterback position. No doubt the top three from this years draft have been Andrew Luck in Indianapolis, Robert Griffin III in Washington, and Seattle's leader Russell Wilson. Being drafted number one always carries an extra weight, Luck has so far proved himself worthy of the tag as he leads his Colts onto the brink of the playoffs.
In 1983 the top pick was John Elway. If Luck has anywhere near the career that "The Duke" had then he will have achieved all that all his best critics had hoped for. Jim Kelly the Buffalo Bills quarterback that took his team to four consecutive Super Bowls was the 14th pick back in '83, quite low considering what he achieved, RG3 having been drafted at number two, arguably at this moment, is the most exciting talent in the NFL. The styles are contrasting but there's no reason why the energetic Redskin can't emulate the Bills star.
Wilson is a different matter, being drafted in the 3rd round and 75th overall, he had to battle for his starting place through preseason. Not quite that late in the 1983 draft, 27th in fact, was the best quarterback to play the game without winning a championship, Dan Marino. When he retired from the game he held practically every record there was to hold, in hindsight i'm sure he would have swapped most for those for a ring.
In 1983 running back Eric Dickerson was chosen as the second pick by the the Los Angeles Rams, in the first round, his first season was amazing notching up over 1,800 yards on the ground, and then going over 2,000 the following year when he rushed for over 100 yards in twelve of the sixteen games. Curt Warner was taken 3rd overall back in '83. His career was as stellar as Dickerson but helped his Seahawks to the AFC title game in his first year, but after a torn ACL in 1985 he never really fulfilled his promise and retired after eight seasons.
Fast forward to 2012 and we have Trent Richardson of the Cleveland Browns, Doug Martin tearing it up in Tampa Bay, and Alfred Morris gaining ground in Washington. All different in the way they play, but they have all given their franchises new life as they have helped turn thier clubs seasons around, which is harder now than back nearly 30 years ago now that the league is set up for the passing game.
Notable players on the defensive side of things this year, linebacker Melvin Ingram in San Diego, Whitney Mercilus the big defensive end in Houston and another defensive end Chandler Jones in New England. A lower pick was Janoris Jenkins the cornerback in St.Louis who is getting better and better every game.
They have a tough shoes to fill if they are to be eventually mentioned as equals to greats such as Richard Dent the all powering defensive end who helped anchor the Chicago Bears '85 Super Bowl wining defense. Darrell Green was an immense cornerback for the Redskins, who could turn games in an instant.
Other players from the Class of '83 worth a mention are Terry Kinard, Tony Eason, Willie Gault, Gary Anderson, Jim Jeffcoat, Darryl Talley, in fact the list is so long, that's how good that years talent was. Seven players from that year are now in the Hall of Fame.
Who else other than those ive mentioned above from this years draft will see their bust cast and displayed in Canton, Ohio and have a nice golden jacket to wear?