Young QB debate: 'His game is complete'

July, 12, 2013
7/12/13
5:15
PM ET

ESPN's Tim Hasselbeck and Andrew Brandt think Andrew Luck will have the best second season as a starting quarterback in 2013 over Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III. They think it'll be close, however.

Hasselbeck, whose brother backs up Luck for the Indianapolis Colts, ranks Wilson a "close second" on his list, followed by Kaepernick and Griffin. He thinks receiver issues could help Wilson and hurt Kaepernick.

"His game is complete," Hasselbeck said of Wilson. "And he can run. He is an athletic quarterback. We see them do some of the read-option type stuff with him. Then you add Percy Harvin to the fold, who I think is one of the more dynamic players in the entire NFL. That is going to have a big impact on how he plays."

Brandt also had Luck first. He called Wilson and Griffin a toss-up for the second spot.

"I think Wilson and Griffin are two guys who elevate the whole team," Brandt said. "They have great character, they have great gifts, but they seem to make players better around them. If I had to flip a coin, I would agree with Tim, and Russell Wilson would be my No. 2."

The chart is one we discussed during the regular season as Wilson was gaining momentum and Luck slowed some after carrying his team.

Luck posted a 76.1 Total QBR score in his team's first eight games, fourth-highest in the NFL. That figure fell to 48.3, which ranked 20th, over the final eight. Wilson was at 53.0 (18th) in the first eight and 83.9 (first) in the final eight.

Kaepernick gets the short end of this discussion. He owns fewer starts than the others. He had the best supporting cast. Top receiver Michael Crabtree suffered a torn Achilles' tendon. Those factors could make analysts a little more cautious as they search for reasons to rank one player slightly ahead of another.

All four young quarterbacks exceeded reasonable expectations for first-year starters. All four appear to have bright futures. We might want to keep in mind Ryan Tannehill as well. He was slightly better than Luck in both Total QBR and NFL passer rating over the final eight games of the 2012 season.

"[Tannehill] isn't far behind those guys," ESPN.com NFL scout Matt Williamson said during a recent chat. "I don't throw the term 'franchise QB' around lightly, but Tannehill is/will be a franchise QB."

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