Courtesy of cleveland.com

The first two picks of this year’s draft, quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, have used the preseason to prove that they were worth their picks. Luck, who the Indianapolis Colts took first in the draft, finished his first four NFL games with an 89.3 passer rating, throwing for 522 yards, three touchdowns and two picks.

Griffin, who was taken by the Washington Redskins, had an even more impressive set of games, throwing for 193 yards and two touchdowns with 62.5 percent accuracy, earning him a 103.3 passer rating. The Redskins are looking more solid than the Colts right now, but both of these rookie quarterbacks are living up to expectations. The same cannot be said about the other three rookie quarterbacks set to start this year.

The Miami Dolphins wasted their first round pick on Ryan Tannehill, the third quarterback taken in the 2012 draft. As the eighth overall pick, Tannehill was hyped up to be the next era of Dolphins football, but he has inherited a sub par offense and has struggled with consistency. To be fair, the only thing consistent for Miami this preseason was their string of four straight losses.

Accuracy is a concern with Tannehill, who completed only 22 of 50 attempts. If the Dolphins are smart, they will retain quarterback Matt Moore, as Tannehill may need to be benched after a few games if he can’t get his act together.

Moore is much more reliable than the 34-year-old third-string quarterback David Garrard. The only reason that Moore isn’t starting this weekend is that Coach Joe Philbin felt that Tannehill was slightly better than Moore, which is understandable given Moore’s 39.2 percent passing accuracy and his pair of interceptions this preseason. However, Moore’s 60.5 percent accuracy and 16 touchdowns last year may provide him with a chance for redemption.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden, the 22nd pick in the 2012 draft, is not doing much better than Tannehill. After hitting clay pigeons out of the air with a football, Weeden was seen as a great replacement for quarterback Colt McCoy, but McCoy’s accuracy this preseason was 20 percent higher than Weeden’s 49 percent.

The Browns were smart to keep McCoy and release backup quarterback Seneca Wallace because McCoy has good technique. The problem that all Browns’ quarterbacks have is the utter lack of talented targets.

After three fumbles, it is apparent that Weeden also needs to work on ball protection. That being said, the Browns aren’t known for their offensive line. If Weeden were on a better team, he would probably have a chance to succeed, but the Browns are beyond saving.

The fifth rookie quarterback that is slated to start this year is Russell Wilson. At 5’11’’ Wilson is not the ideal quarterback, which is why he wasn’t taken until the third round. The Seattle Seahawks took him despite signing free agent Matt Flynn to a $26 million contract.

This gives the Seahawks good depth, but barring a serious injury to Wilson, Flynn’s mediocre performance will keep him relegated to the sidelines. In the preseason Wilson accumulated outstanding stats, including five touchdowns, a 110.3 rating, and 150 rushing yards, surpassing every other rookie quarterback in each of those categories. Wilson has the raw athleticism of Griffin and the intelligence of Luck, so his height is merely a minor setback.

Griffin and Luck should lead their teams to a good number of victories, but Griffin is in one of the toughest divisions and the Colts just aren’t playoff ready, so it would be surprising if they played in more than 16 games this year. The Dolphins and Browns have even less of a chance with Tannehill and Weeden starting. The Seahawks, on the other hand, have a chance to make the Wildcard Round with Wilson at the helm.

Ondo is a member of the class of 2014.

 



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