Rookie QB rankings: Russell Wilson coming on strong

  • By Gregg Rosenthal
  • Around The League editor
  • Updated: Dec. 6, 2012 at 09:27 a.m.

Gregg Rosenthal will watch every rookie quarterback snap all season long and rank their performance weekly based on that week's game only. Football is good.
In a normal season, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson would be the runaway pick for Offensive Rookie of the Year. He'd be on the cover of magazines and start getting commercial offers. This is not a normal season.
Wilson hasn't received the attention of Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins or Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, and he wasn't playing at their level early in the season. One of the treats of writing this weekly column has been getting to see Wilson's week-to-week improvement. He's a different player than he was in September. Give him a lot of credit for his development. And give the Seahawks staff credit for bringing him along.
1. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
2. This is the first time Wilson has ranked first, and it wasn't that close. Wilson completed a lot of difficult, tight window throws throughout Sunday's win over the Chicago Bears. He orchestrated long touchdown drives with the game on the line. He made a poor throw and a poor read in the red zone early in the game, but he otherwise played an outstanding game.
3. The Seahawks have been understandably hesitant to use Wilson as a runner too much, but he took he advantage of his wheels on read-option plays repeatedly against the Bears. It was a mature performance and ridiculously good on the last two drives. Early in the season, the Seahawks were coaching around Wilson. In back-to-back weeks, Wilson has carried the offense.
2. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
The nation saw a fairly typical RG3 performance on Monday night against the New York Giants. There were some electric runs. There were a lot of plays in which the Giants defense looked confused, and RG3 strafed them on play-action passes. There was a little bit of magic, and little bit of luck.
Griffin was actually less accurate than usual, killing a few early drives with missed open throws. But Griffin, not Eli Manning, made all the crucial decisions and plays in the fourth quarter to win.
4. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck threw an interception, down 12 points, with 6:40 to go. And the Colts still beat the Detroit Lions. He faced a fourth down inside his own 30-yard-line, down 12 points, with under four minutes to go. And he found a way to win. Luck was fortunate that a potential interception was dropped during his wild comeback, but you have to give the kid huge credit for pulling off these amazing moments week after week.
We also have to knock him down the list for making a lot of mistakes in the first place against the Lions. It says a lot about Luck that one of his roughest games of the season proved to be his most memorable game yet.
4. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
It's hard to argue with Foles' performance Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys when the Eagles scored 33 points, Foles averaged more than 7 yards-per-attempt, and didn't throw an interception. Foles does a nice job moving in the pocket, and he looked much more comfortable than during his first two games. A month more of games like this would have the Eagles very excited about Foles' progress.
5. Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns
It's unfair he's ranked fifth. Weeden averaged more than 10 yards-per-attempt and directed his best drive of the year with a 94-yard march in the fourth quarter to put the Oakland Raiders away. Weeden also had a couple of interceptions and had too many loose throws, which happens even in the positive weeks. Weeden now has three games over 300 yards.
6. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
Tannehill seems to be at the point of his rookie season when you aren't sure what you will get on a week-to-week basis. It happens. Last week was awesome, this week against the New England Patriots was rough. Tannehill just wasn't very accurate. I haven't seen him miss this many open receivers all season. Then again, he did have one of the sweeter rushing touchdowns of the season.
7. Ryan Lindley, Arizona Cardinals
The less said about this performance against the New York Jets the better. In hindsight, it almost wasn't fair that Ken Whisenhunt kept trotting out a helpless Lindley when the team's Week 1 starter, John Skelton, was healthy on the bench. Skelton will start this week.