In the last few years, a handful of rookie QBs have done extraordinary things, and the bar for comparative purposes has been raised. In 2011, Cam Newton took the league by storm, breaking records both for rookie passing yards (4,051) and rookie rushing yards (706). He and Andy Dalton became the first rookie QB duo to make it to the Pro Bowl.
In 2012, Newton’s passing record was broken by Andrew Luck (4,374), and his rushing record was broken by QB Robert Griffin III (815). Luck, RG3, and Russell Wilson became the first rookie QB trio to make it to the Pro Bowl.
In 7 combined seasons in the NFL, Newton, Dalton, Luck, Griffin III, and Wilson have a combined 5 playoff appearances. That is simply incredible. If you add in guys like Redskins rookie backup Kirk Cousins, who came on in relief of RG3 in two late season clutch performances, and Colin Kaepernick, who wasn’t a rookie, but got his first real taste of action last season and absolutely lit it up, the list of impressive young QBs only grows.
In his rookie campaign last season, Nick Foles went 1-5 as a starter, and backed up a legendary figure in Michael Vick, who is one of the flashiest players in the history of the NFL. In terms of excitement level (although not necessarily making an “arm strength” analogy here), Foles backing up Vick is the equivalent of Jamie Moyer coming on in relief of Mitch Williams. And so, when we look at Foles’ rookie season last year, it’s very easy to dismiss it as “meh.”
However, for a rookie, Foles was a lot more effective last season than you might think. For example, in the Super Bowl era, 20 QBs were drafted with the 1st overall pick. If you inserted Nick Foles into that group, he had the 2nd highest passer rating his rookie season: