Andrew Luck stands apart in Rookie QB Rankings


Gregg Rosenthal watches every rookie quarterback snap and ranks them based on that week's performance only.

1. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Maybe it's the Stanford education that throws us off, but the word "gunslinger" isn't often associated with Andrew Luck. That's how he plays. Luck pulled off more difficult throws against the Miami Dolphins in one game than I've seen from any quarterback all season. (The six completions of third-and-10 or greater were only the beginning.) He went through a brief lull to start the second half against Miami, but he kept slinging.

Luck tries more difficult throws than just about any quarterback because he's so confident. He doesn't give up on plays. He keeps moving. I wrote down in my notebook this week how Luck delivered some of his completions. A collection of different plays: "Rolls left, sprints right, skips left, steps up, fades back left, steps up, sprints right, steps up, on knee." He was hit a ton in this game.

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There is a bizarre perception that RG3 somehow is flashier as a player than the "steady" Luck. That comes from people who haven't watched Luck play. He's as entertaining and "flashy" as any quarterback in the NFL right now. He also knows how to get 10 plays off in just 1:02 during a 2-minute drill with two timeouts. He knows how to spot the right matchup to draw long pass-interference penalties. He knows how to make the spectacular throw, too.

The kid is on a roll right now, and we can't wait to see what's next.

2. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Tannehill's excellent game against the Indianapolis Colts got lost in Luck's record-setting shuffle. We love how easily the ball comes out of Tannehill's hand whether he's throwing a bomb, an out or a touch pass up the seam. Tannehill is trusted to make quick decisions on third down and usually makes the right one. Throwing for 290 yards and one touchdown isn't too shabby, especially because many of the throws Tannehill completed were into tight windows.

The only knock here: Tannehill misfired on a few tosses late in the game in the red zone.

3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

He gets better every week, and the Seahawks get better at using him. Wilson was terrific in the red zone, throwing three touchdowns. He's progressing through his reads more to find second options. Wilson was especially valuable running in this game, picking up three key first downs in the second half. There were a few designed runs.

The Seahawks throw in more passes in traditional running situations than early in the season, but they still aren't asking Wilson to do too much compared to the other rookie quarterbacks. Most of his throws are short, and the running game carried the day against the Minnesota Vikings. That's the only reason Wilson is third on the list for a very clean performance. He has been playing well now for more than a month.

4. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins

This was RG3's worst performance of the season. He averaged 5.5 yards per attempt, and it wasn't about drops this time. The Carolina Panthers did a nice job keeping Griffin off the field with long drives in the first half. In the second half, the Redskins showed for a second consecutive week that they aren't a team that plays well from behind.

5. Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns

Weeden has played better the last two weeks than his miserable stats indicate. His receivers are killing him with drops. He moved the ball all day against the Baltimore Ravens and helped the Browns recover from a 14-3 hole to take the lead in the fourth quarter before losing the game.

With that said, Weeden made a lot of bad decisions in the game. He forced throws and was lucky to have just two interceptions. He didn't get a touchdown in five trips to the red zone and sometimes held the ball too long. The positive traits we saw for a while are still there for Weeden. We think the stats should improve.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.