The 2012 NFL Draft will likely go down as one of the greatest drafts for quarterbacks in NFL history.
Much like the 1983 NFL Draft which produced the likes of Dan Marino, John Elway, Jim Kelly and Ken O’Brien and similar to the 2004 NFL Draft which featured Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers as first-round selections, the 2012 NFL Draft has produced several productive quarterbacks thus far: Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Nick Foles and Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Wilson just won the Lombardi Trophy as the starting quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks. It is obvious of all of the quarterbacks of the 2012 Draft class that he has had the most productive career through two years. Luck has lived up to every bit of his billing as the No. 1 overall selection, leading the Indianapolis Colts to the playoffs in the post-Peyton Manning era. Although Griffin III struggled in 2013, he had perhaps the best rookie season of any of the five quarterbacks in 2012 when he won Offensive Rookie of the Year, was selected to the Pro Bowl and had the highest single-season passer rating of any rookie quarterback in NFL history (102.4) all while leading the Washington Redskins to a division title. Although Foles was an afterthought in 2012, he had the best breakout season of any quarterback in 2013 when he led the Philadelphia Eagles to the playoffs while leading the league in passer rating (119.0).
Tannehill hasn’t been bad; he has led the Dolphins to 7-9 and 8-8 records in his first two seasons in the league while doubling his touchdown totals from his first season to his second. However, it’s hard to ignore his peers’ success. Especially when you consider that Tannehill lags behind all four of his peers in terms of accolades, stats and accomplishments.
With Wilson, he has the wins, stats and championship on his resume. In Luck, you have a winning resume. With Griffin III, he has led his team to the playoffs while having one of the finest rookie seasons of any quarterback in NFL history. Foles, too, now has the stats and winning resume. Of the five quarterbacks, Tannehill is the only one yet to lead his team to the playoffs.
It’s true that of all of the quarterbacks, Tannehill has perhaps the worst supporting cast. Wilson has the No. 1 defense in the NFL, Luck has some solid weapons, Griffin III had Alfred Morris at running back and Foles has a plethora of offensive stars including LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson.
Regardless, the NFL landscape has changed. Whereas before it may have taken a few years for a quarterback to fully grow into an elite quarterback (take a look at Drew Brees), quarterbacks now enter the NFL more prepared than ever before. As evidenced by Wilson’s tremendous success through his first two seasons with the Seahawks, quarterbacks can, and are, expected to lead their franchise to success early on in their careers.
Whether or not it’s Tannehill’s fault for lagging behind his peers in terms of success, one thing is for certain—Tannehill looks like the fifth-best quarterback of the 2012 NFL Draft class so far.