By Matthew Asher
The 1983 NFL Draft and the 2012 NFL Draft draw a lot of comparisons regarding the first six quarterbacks drafted in each class. John Elway ended up with probably the most impressive overall resume of the Class of ‘83. While about 25 regular season games have been played by each team since the 2012 Draft, Russell Wilson has done a great job of establishing himself as one of the best – if not the best – player of that class.
Wilson, drafted 75th overall in the third round of the draft was the sixth quarterback taken behind Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden and Brock Osweiler. But of these six quarterbacks taken in the first three rounds, which one has had the biggest impact through almost the first two seasons?
Osweiler is currently being groomed as Peyton Manning’s eventual replacement and Weeden has been taken out of the starting lineup for Cleveland. Tannehill has done a decent job for the Dolphins, but only Luck, Griffin and Wilson were selected to the Pro Bowl in their first season.
All three Pro Bowl quarterbacks were able to lead their teams to the 2013 NFL Playoffs. But out of those three, only WIlson’s Seahawks were able to advance to the second round. Wilson actually went head-to-head with RG3’s Redskins (as visitors) and were able to come away with a 24-14 victory. The next week, Wilson and the ‘Hawks suffered a heartbreaking last-second loss to the heavily favored Atlanta Falcons, ending their season.
With the rookie campaign done, expectations were high for all three quarterbacks. Yet Wilson has been able to play up to expectations while Luck and RG3 have had issues in their sophomore year. Griffin’s completion percentages dropped from 65.6 percent as a rookie to 59.7 percent this season. Luck’s projected passing yards will be about 500 yards fewer than he threw last season.
On the other hand, Wilson’s completion percentage is virtually identical to his first season. he’s currently completing 64.0 percent compared to 64.1 percent his first season and he’s on pace to throw for about 300 more yards this season. In addition, he’s on pace to throw for two more touchdowns and one fewer interception that he did last season with a five point improvement in his quarterback rating.
Of course, Bill Belichick once said, “Stats are for losers,” because the only stat that really matters is wins. If that’s the case, Wilson’s argument just got stronger. Currently at 10-1 this season, Wilson improved upon the already impressive 11-5 mark he set as a rookie.
RG3 only played in 15 games as a rookie, but he still led Washington to a 9-5 record with him under center. This year has been a completely different story with the ‘Skins currently at 3-7. Just like with Wilson, Luck’s Colts finished their rookie season at 11-5. They are currently only 7-4.
It’s true that only about 25 regular season games have been played for each quarterback since the ‘12 Draft, but so far, Wilson is proving that he was worth the risk of drafting a quarterback who isn’t a prototypical 6-foot-5 specimen. He keeps up his stats, and when it’s all said and done Wilson should be enshrined in Canton, Ohio.
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Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist. From an early age, sports have played a major role in his life. He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Journalism. After college he spent 2 years working with CNN Sports and still occasionally writes sports articles for several publications both in the United States and Canada. His work can be found on Examiner.com.