Is the 2012 Draft Class Having the Best Rookie Campaign Ever?

John RozumCorrespondent INovember 5, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 04: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts looks for a open receiver while playing the Miami Dolphins at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 4, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

This NFL rookie class of 2012 is ridiculously good.

Led by Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, the quarterback position alone is being overrun with youth and amazement.

Both Luck and Griffin are performing arguably the best of any other rookies right now, and that's just from a numbers perspective. Luck's impact has immediately drawn a turnaround for the Indianapolis Colts, who now sit at 5-3 after going 2-14 in 2011.

As for RG3, despite the Washington Redskins being an unfortunate 3-6, they have only lost by an average of 7.3 points per game. Not to mention Griffin III has Mike Shanahan's offense booming with excitement as it gets 25 points per game, ranked No. 10 in the NFL.

Griffin and Luck are both impressing with ball control and utilizing all available targets. In turn, it's no secret why this duo combined for just 13 interceptions. Unlike some veterans such as Tony Romo and Michael Vick who have tossed a combined 21 picks.

Now, obviously not all interceptions are a quarterback's fault. Nonetheless, the decision to actually make the pass when in most cases ill-advised does fall on the gunslinger. Elsewhere we see solid performances coming from Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden and Russell Wilson.

Weeden is actually second among all the new signal-callers with 2,088 passing yards and is No. 13 overall. Yes, the old rookie has 12 interceptions, but Pat Shurmur's play-calling and inconsistent pocket protection remains a concern.

Tannehill and Wilson each have their respective teams at 4-4 and in the postseason hunt. Although the Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks are run-oriented offenses, this duo has been the right answer thus far.

Tannehill doesn't have any elite receivers, but he's minimizing mistakes with only six interceptions. Wilson on the other hand, sports a 62.0 completion percentage and wins over Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.

Other than the class of 1983 and 2004 regarding quarterbacks, 2012 appears to possess the most promise.

Running backs are another story because the position features three studs in Trent Richardson, Doug Martin and Alfred Morris.

Martin has bulldozed his way to 1,039 total yards and eight touchdowns through eight games. Richardson on the other hand, has produced nicely with 815 total yards and six scores. Morris has been a reliable complement to RG3 in Washington by compiling 828 total yards and five touchdowns.

Thereafter, Vick Ballard has made the next strongest impact. However, it pales in comparison to the first-rounders' and that of Morris.

As the season has progresses, we've seen a few more contributions coming from guys such as Bernard Pierce, David Wilson, Ronnie Hillman and Chris Rainey but none have been provided with enough opportunities to really make a difference.

In terms of the best, 2012's running backs have a ways to go before reaching Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith type status. But this class as a whole possesses much potential because of its impressive depth.

For the rest of positions, much like any other NFL draft, only a few players altogether stand out.

No one at receiver or tight end truly stands out like anyone at quarterback and running back. But the offensive line is being carried impressively by Matt Kalil, Riley Reiff, Jonathan Martin, Mike Adams (who has improved), Kelechi Osemele and Ben Jones.

Defensively, Casey Hayward, Stephon Gilmore, Mark Barron and Harrison Smith have done well for their respective secondaries in terms of interceptions and defended passes. Moving up to the front seven, rookies such as Bobby Wagner, Lavonte David, Luke Kuechly and Chandler Jones stand out.

Obviously, a lot still remains to be seen with the class of 2012 and rightfully so. It must be noted; however, that pro football is displaying a gradual shift in relying on rookies more than year's past.

And as each new season moves onward, we may end up looking back at 2012 as one of the best ever.


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