Nothing illustrates the changing state of the NFL as well as the fact that five teams are slated to start the 2012 campaign with rookies at quarterback.
It used to be that a pro ballclub would almost never put a first-year player in that role, but the win-now mentality and high level of collegiate development received by many quarterbacks have combined to effect a change in mindset across the league.
So how likely is it that these rookies will fare well this season? After taking a look at game tapes, metrics and other areas, it is clear some are more likely than others to adapt quickly to the harsh professional environment.
Pros: Washington vastly upgraded its wide receiver corps with the additions of Pierre Garcon (who managed to post a 10.5 YPA on vertical passes last season despite playing in a passer-challenged offense) and Josh Morgan. They also have Leonard Hankerson, a second-year player whose 2010 collegiate metrics were nearly as good, or in some cases better, than the metrics posted by Julio Jones in that same season. Griffin's ability to get top quality productivity out of the entire Baylor receiving corps last season illustrates that he should be able to make the most of this group of talent. His top-level speed (he was an All-American in track at Baylor) ought to serve him well on those occasions when his receivers are covered.