Athlon Sports will preview the upcoming 2012 NFL season with in-depth roundtable debates with our editors and other experts from around the world of football.
Q: Which NFL rookie starting quarterback will win the most games in 2012?
Keith Myers, 12thManRising.com:
It may be a bit of a surprise, but I'd guess that Russell Wilson and the Seahawks end the season with the most wins of those teams with rookie QBs. The Seahawks are just built in a way that will allow them to win in spite of the rookie growing pains. That team is built around its defense and ability to run the football. It won’t need Wilson to put up huge numbers in order for it to win. I fully expect the Seahawks to push for a playoff spot, even with a rookie under center.
Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
The smart money should be on Russell Wilson in Seattle or Robert Griffin III in Washington. Those are the best two teams surrounding any of the five rookie quarterbacks. However, ownership in D.C. makes me hesitant to pick the Redskins to accomplish anything and Wilson, for all of his amazing talents, is still a 5-foot-10 quarterback. Miami and Ryan Tannehill will easily be the worst of the bunch. But I am going to go out on a limb and say Andrew Luck and the Colts. He is a virtual carbon copy of Aaron Rodgers — in size, skillset, college town — and has a much better team around him than most are giving the Colts credit for. There are veterans in place and he plays in a division that is considered one of the weakest in the NFL. He is a once-in-a-lifetime prospect and was the No. 1 overall pick for a reason. If this team can somehow get to seven wins, Luck could have the best record of any starter.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven):
I think Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck will be the best rookie quarterback, but I think Seattle’s Russell Wilson will finish with the most victories. Yes, it’s the preseason, but it’s hard to ignore how Wilson has performed. In three games, the rookie has thrown for 464 yards and five touchdowns, while adding 150 yards and one score on the ground. With a solid defense and Marshawn Lynch leading the way on the ground, the Seahawks won’t have to ask Wilson to win games. Also, with a weak division (St. Louis and Arizona), Seattle has a chance to sneak into the postseason. The competition will get tougher in the regular season, but Wilson should have the Seahawks in contention for a wild card spot in the NFC this year.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman):
I think Andrew Luck will be the top performer in the rookie quarterback class, but Russell Wilson should end up with the most wins because of what is around him. The Seahawks have been a decent club over the last two years, unlike the other teams with rookie signal callers who all stunk last season. Seattle has a quality runner in Marshawn Lynch (seventh in the NFL with 1,204 yards in 2011), as well as a defense that finished in the top 10 in both yards and points per game last season. The Colts should be much better in 2012 with a coaching staff that will finally emphasize getting tougher in the run game and on defense. Indy and Seattle should finish in the six- to eight-win range, with a slight edge to the Seahawks and Wilson.
Rob Doster (@AthlonDoster):
My pick is the one guy on this list who doesn’t pass the “look test.” At 5-11, Russell Wilson is not anyone’s idea of an NFL prototype at the QB position, but he possesses some of the best intangibles (hunger, desire, leadership, moxie) in the game, and he’s inheriting the best situation of any rookie quarterback. The Seahawks won seven games last season and are only 19 months removed from a home playoff win. If his receivers play up to their potential — I’m looking at you, Golden Tate — Wilson can continue to defy critics and odds and win as many as eight games this season.
Mark Ross, Athlon Sports:
As of last week my answer would have been Robert Griffin III because of a stronger supporting cast, including defense, around him. However, that was until Seattle head coach Pete Carroll decided to shake things up and name Russell Wilson his starting quarterback. The Seahawks have a productive running game and a young and continually improving defense, but what will ultimately push Wilson ahead of RGIII in the win column this season is divisional play. The 'Hawks play in the NFC West, which is home to one legitimate Super Bowl contender, San Francisco, and two bonafide "pretenders" in Arizona and St. Louis. The 'Skins reside in the NFC East, home to the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants as well as Dallas and Philadelphia, two teams that could very well end up in the Super Bowl this season. Advantage Wilson and it's not even close. The difference in divisional competition alone is enough for me to project Wilson with more wins than RGIII or any other rookie starting quarterback this season.