Ranking the Rookie Quarterbacks

Ranking the Rookie Quarterbacks

It’s beginning to look like the 2012 draft class is shaping
up to be a banner year for quarterbacks. Obviously it’s too early to tell for
sure about a few of these guys (hint: Nick Foles), but there are currently
seven rookies starting at the most visible position in football. Now we want to
know how you would rank them.

Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III get the most attention,
and for good reason. Numbers one and two in the selection process by the Colts
and Redskins have lived up to the hype, each having helped transform their
respective clubs into playoff contenders in short order. RG3 has by far the
best numbers in his rookie class, completing 66% of his passes for almost 3,000
yards while throwing 18 touchdowns to four picks, and adding another 700 yards
and six scores on the ground. Luck has put the Indianapolis offense on his back
forever, attempting the second-highest number of pass attempts in the NFL this
season en route to a 9-4 record.

Also chosen in the first round, Ryan Tannehill in Miami and
Brandon Weeden in Cleveland have remained a bit more anonymous for a pair of
bad teams. Separated by 14 picks, the two have had fairly similar up-and-down
seasons with nearly identical numbers, right down to their 5-8 records. However,
Tannehill was considered a project coming out of college, while the Browns were
hoping for more immediate gratification from the 29-year-old Weeden. Both are prospects, but not nearly as polished as the top dogs.

Then there is the constantly underrated Russell Wilson, who
went 13 picks before Foles in the third round. Unlike Foles though, Seattle
installed the 5’11” Wilson as the starter after winning a preseason competition,
and they've never looked back. With a staunch defense and power running game, Wilson
has been able to play more of a game-manager role, but with an efficient 94.9
passer rating, and a couple of game-winning drives. Plus, the Seahawks would make
the tournament if the season ended today.

Something tells us sixth-rounder Ryan Lindley for Arizona
won’t come in very high on anybody’s list.

We’re curious to see where Eagles fans would place Foles on
a list against his peers. However, there are no defined criteria. You could go
based on the seasons they are having, or the potential they have to grow into
franchise quarterbacks. Myself, I’m going with a cross between the two, if that
makes sense. It’s difficult to place Foles on this list when five of the seven
have been playing since Week 1, therefore I couldn’t justify putting him ahead
of Wilson even though he might be limited by his stature. Then again, scouts believed
Tannehill and Weeden had more potential than both of them, but neither has
shown the dramatic improvements Foles has.

Tough call. Here’s my list. Critique and share your own.

1. Luck

2. Griffin
III
3. Wilson
4. Foles
5. Tannehill
6. Weeden
7. Lindley

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Phillies manager Pete Mackanin: Adam Morgan is a definite bullpen candidate

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin: Adam Morgan is a definite bullpen candidate

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Just pitch.
 
Don’t worry about the role.
 
Just pitch.
 
That’s Adam Morgan’s mindset this spring.
 
“I’m just trying to show whoever needs to see it that I can be an asset to this team,” the left-hander said after his spring debut against the New York Yankees on Saturday (see story). “I’m just keeping it simple that way. I’m not trying to go out for that fifth (starting) spot. If the fifth spot opens up, I’d be more than willing to do that. If they want to put me in the bullpen, I’d be more than willing to do that. If they want me to be the backup catcher, I’ll be the backup catcher.”
 
The Phillies have plenty of candidates for backup catcher.
 
And the top five spots in their starting rotation, barring an unforeseen development, are accounted for.
 
But there is a way for Morgan to make this team.
 
“He’s definitely a bullpen candidate,” manager Pete Mackanin said.
 
Mackanin is on record as saying he’d like to have two lefties in what likely will be a seven-man bullpen. It might not work out that way, but that would be Mackanin’s preference.
 
Morgan is one of what appears to be four candidates along with Joely Rodriguez, Cesar Ramos and Sean Burnett. Ramos and Burnett are experienced major-league veterans in camp on minor-league contracts. Rodriguez is the only pure lefty reliever on the 40-man roster. Morgan, of course, is on the 40-man roster, but he’s mainly been a starter in his career.

There’s a long way to go in spring training and it would not be surprising to see general manager Matt Klentak add to the list of lefty relief candidates with some type of pickup before the end of camp.
 
But for now, it’s just these four.
 
Morgan, who turns 27 on Monday, started and pitched two scoreless innings against the Yankees on Saturday and will likely continue to have his innings stretched out throughout the Grapefruit League season, just in case he’s needed as a starter.

Ramos and Rodriguez both pitched an inning Saturday. Ramos allowed a hit and a run. Rodriguez had a clean inning. Burnett was tagged for two hits and two runs on Friday.
 
Morgan made 21 starts for the Phillies last season. He also made two relief appearances and finished the season with a 6.04 ERA. He was sent to Triple A in July and returned in mid-August. He made nine starts after returning and pitched at least six innings and gave up two or fewer earned runs in four of them.
 
During his time in Triple A, Morgan started throwing a two-seam fastball or sinker. He’s continued to throw it this spring and believes it will help him.
 
“I learned to trust the two-seamer last year and that’s what I hope to keep moving forward with,” he said.
 
Will it take him to the Phillies’ bullpen?
 
He hopes so. He got a taste of relieving last season and liked it.
 
“Oh, yeah, I loved it,” he said. “Every time the phone rang down there, I was on high alert. It was awesome. It’s a rush.
 
“But wherever I land, I land. I’d be willing to play anywhere on this team.”