|Browns rookie Brandon Weeden is part of a QB class already being rated elite. (US Presswire)|
There are some defining years to measure quarterbacks and QB growth in the NFL. The 1983 draft is usually acknowledged as the greatest class of all time with three members in the Hall of Fame (Dan Marino, John Elway and Jim Kelly).
Fans of the class of 2004 claim that's the best class because it already has four Super Bowl championships. (Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger have two each) and the class of 1983 only has two. The class of 2011 shocked everyone with the unprecedented amount of playtime in their rookie season, led by a record-breaking campaign of Cam Newton when he cracked 4,000 yards passing.
No one knows if any class will match the 1983 group for Hall of Fame entrants or if any class will catch the Super Bowl titles of 2004, but if experience counts, the class of 2012 is on its way to something big. Something even bigger than the class of 2011 is definitely in the cards.
Here's a look at how much things have changed when it comes to playing rookie quarterbacks since 1983. I thought last year was hard to ever top, but we are on a course for new levels of rookie participation. It seems almost impossible to keep a rookie QB on the bench and justify learning from the sideline.
It remains to be seen if playing right away is the best thing for quarterbacks. Cam Newton almost had as many passing yards as a rookie as the entire class of 1983 or 2004, yet he struggles now. Andy Dalton is on his way to more interceptions this year than he had as a rookie.
Look at the projections for the class of 2012 at the bottom. I never thought one year after the 2011 production of the rookie class we would see an even bigger year.
|ROOKIE QB PERFORMANCES BY YEAR|
|1983||Ken O’Brien||( DNP)|
|PROJECTION FOR CLASS OF 2012 (BASED ON 16 GAMES AT THIS PACE)|