You never really know what you are going to get from a rookie quarterback. JaMarcus Russell, the number one overall pick in 2007, struggled for four seasons with turnovers and codeine syrup, and is now out of the league. Tom Brady, the number 199 overall pick in the 2000 draft, is a seven-time Pro Bowler, three-time Super Bowl MVP and is now married to a supermodel.
The NFL is a business, and quarterbacks won't stick around unless they produce and produce quickly. Washington Redskins second overall pick in the 2012 draft, Robert Griffin III, did exactly that in his debut against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
RGIII threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns in his team's 40-32 win. The rookie stood toe-to-toe with future Hall of Famer Drew Brees and outplayed him in his own stadium. Griffin played well, completing all of his first eight passes, including an 88-yard touchdown to Pierre Garcon. He continued his success in the second half, showing poise and making plays with his feet. Griffin ran for 42 yards on nine carries.
In a week where his fellow rookie QBs (Tannehill, Luck, Weeden and Wilson) struggled in losses, RGIII shined, posting a perfect QB rating in the first half. Doing so against a team that went 13-3 last season and is always a threat for making a Super Bowl run.
RGIII could not have dreamed of a better start to his NFL career, but he must show consistency to keep his job behind center. There is no doubt that the challenge will get tougher.
Not to take away from an excellent performance, but RGIII did all this against a team that finished 24th in total defense and 30th in passing defense in 2011.
RGIII could end up struggling in his division. There's no hiding that the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants are going to come after the rookie with the pass rush. All three teams finished in the top seven in sacks last season.
Griffin will have to face the likes of DeMarcus Ware, Jason Babin and Jason Pierre-Paul six times this year. That spells a nightmare for any quarterback, let alone a rookie on a team that lacks offensive talent around him.
But, for the Redskins, this is promising. The team has started 13 different QBs since 2000. That's a lot of change. So for Redskins fans, RGIII's peformance on Sunday brings hope after years of uncertainty.
The Redskins will host the St. Louis Rams at 4:05 p.m. this Sunday. Look for RGIII to come out with a lot confidence.