To start the 2012 NFL season five, yes five rookie quarterbacks made an unprecedented statement by all starting for their respective teams in week 1. Out of those five signal callers, Robert Griffin III for Washington, Ryan Tannehill for Miami, and Andrew Luck of Indianapolis have separated themselves as the three elite rookie quarterbacks. You could also make a case for Russell Wilson in Seattle. Early predictions from most NFL experts undoubtedly had Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck as the expected front runners for rookie of the year, but Ryan Tannehill down in Miami has his made his own statement about that.
All three quarterbacks have similar records.Tannehill and Luck are both posting a 4-3 record to this point while RGIII is 3-5. RGIII is by far the most dynamic and exciting player thus far. Tannehill and Luck are more prototypical QB’s that like to stay in the pocket and deliver the ball in rhythm. Let’s take a look at some key stats to better understand who has the edge in the Rookie of the Year balloting thus far.
1. Completion Percentage: Tannehill is trailing RGIII in this category but is slightly better than Andrew Luck. Tannehill has a completion percentage of 59.1 while RGIII has a 66.1% completion percentage. Luck falls to the bottom of this category out of the three QB’s with a 55.6% completion percentage.
2. Touchdown/Interception ratio: This stat is very important when evaluating the effectiveness of a quarterback. Turning the ball over to much from the quarterback position can lose any game, but more importantly derail a season if interceptions and turnovers occur too often.
Tannehill’s touchdown/interception ratio is a little skewed as he threw 3 of his 6 interceptions in his first game as a pro against J.J. (Swat) Watt and the Texans. Tannehill had balls continually batted in the air where eventually they would turn into interceptions for the Texans.
Ryan has improved his ball security and decision making in recent weeks though as he hasn’t turned the ball over once during the Dolphins 3 game winning streak. On the season, Tannehill has 4 touchdowns to 6 interceptions which isn’t a particularly impressive stat for a rookie of the year candidate, but he has significantly improved and I expect the touchdowns to increase while minimizing his turnovers in the second half of the season.
RGIII wins this category by compiling 8 touchdowns/3 interceptions in his rookie campaign. Luck is even on the year with 8 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.
3. Passer rating: This stat evaluates the effectiveness of each signal caller and gives them a rating on overall performance. Tannehill and Luck are eerily close in this category as they both have a respectable passer rating. Tannehill edges out Luck in this category also 75.8 to Luck’s 74.6.
Tannehill holds down the runner-up spot over Luck partly because of slightly better stats such as passer rating and completion percentage. RGIII has a very impressive 97.3% passer rating. This stat gives RGIII a sweep in 3 of the most important statistical categories for a quarterback. RGIII is trailing in the most important stat in football though, overall record.
RGIII looks like the early front runner for NFL Rookie of the Year, but the season is far from over. Tannehill and Luck can easily end up winning this award if the Redskins continue to lose while Miami and Indianapolis continue to win. RGIII has the most impressive stats and i’m sure everyone would agree on that, but I believe the win/loss category can play a significant role for the voters when they select the 2012 NFL Rookie of the Year.
Tannehill was hurt in the 1st quarter on Sunday against the Jets, but Miami still came out with a lopsided division win against their bitter rival to put the Dolphins at 4-3. Luck also won over the weekend in a close game against Tennessee to also gain a 4-3 record. RGIII had a relatively unimpressive day against the Steelers as they fell to 3-5 on the year with a loss to Pittsburgh.
Tannehill’s chances for the award might decrease with his recent hip and knee injury he suffered against the Jets (although it doesn’t seem too serious), but if healthy and playing well, he will have a very good chance at the rookie of the year award.
A major showdown that might have big implications on who wins that award is upon us. Tannehill and the Dolphins will square off against Luck and the Colts this Sunday in Indianapolis.
If Tannehill can go, we will have a clearer understanding after this game as to whom is a better rookie quarterback. The outcome of Miami vs. Indianapolis game might have a direct correlation to who will win the award at the end of the year.
These 3 impressive young quarterbacks seem wise beyond their years and have continued to prove that rookies can step in a make a significant difference. Only time will tell though which one will go down as the best of the 2012 draft class and what deserving quarterback will win the 2012 Rookie of the Year.