Best Rookie Quarterback Seasons in NFL History
#10: Peyton Manning (Colts, 1998)
The top pick in the draft out of Tennessee, Manning struggled early in the season, throwing 11 interceptions through the first four games to just three touchdowns. However, he turned his season around and became one of the league's most dynamic passers. Though he led the league in interceptions, he ended up finishing fifth in passing touchdowns and third in yards. — Rookie Season Stats: 16 GP, 56.7% comp., 3,739 yards, 26 TDs, 28 INTs, 15 carries, 62 rushing yards.
#9: Jameis Winston (Buccaneers, 2015)
The top pick in the 2015 draft, Winston started poorly with a bad game against Marcus Mariota’s Titans, had a four-pick debacle against Carolina, and then steadied his play to win four of six in midseason, including a five-touchdown-pass masterpiece against the Eagles. — Rookie Season Stats: 16 GP, 58.3% comp., 4,042 yards, 22 TDs, 15 INTs, 54 carries, 213 rushing yards, 6 TDs.
#8: Andy Dalton (Bengals, 2011)
Taken in the second round of the 2011 draft, Dalton stepped up to lead the Bengals back to the playoffs in his first season. He quickly established a successful partnership with receiver A.J. Green, who the team took in the first round that year. — Rookie Season Stats: 16 GP, 58.1% comp., 3,398 yards, 20 TDs, 13 INTs, 37 carries, 152 rushing yards, 1 TD.
#7: Andrew Luck (Colts, 2012)
Luck was given the tall task of replacing Peyton Manning, but in his first pro season the No. 1 pick lived up to the hype. He wasn't just good throwing the ball, either: He forced teams to respect his ability to run, especially in the redzone. Luck led the Colts to the postseason, where Indianapolis lost in the Wild Card Game to the Ravens. — Rookie Season Stats: 16 GP, 54.1% comp., 4,374 yards, 23 TDs, 18 INTs, 62 carries, 255 rushing yards, 5 TDs.
#6: Matt Ryan (Falcons, 2008)
The No. 3 pick in the 2008 draft, Ryan led Atlanta to the playoffs in his first season after the team went 4-12 the year before. He completed 88 passes to Roddy White for 1,382 yards, and was helped out in the backfield by Michael Turner. Ryan's first NFL pass was a 62–yard touchdown. — Rookie Season Stats: 16 GP, 61.1% comp., 3,440 yards, 16 TDs, 11 INTs, 55 carries, 104 rushing yards, 1 TD.
#5: Dan Marino (Dolphins, 1983)
The sixth quarterback taken in the first round of the 1983 draft, Marino didn't get the starting job until Week 6. But once he earned the job, the Marino Era officially began in Miami. He went 7-2 as a starter his rookie season. — Rookie Season Stats: 11 GP, 58.4% comp., 2,210 yards, 20 TDs, 6 INTs, 28 carries, 45 rushing yards, 2 TDs.
#4: Russell Wilson (Seahawks, 2012)
Wilson became the steal of the 2012 draft, as the third rounder helped carry the Seahawks into the playoffs. He won the offensive rookie of the year award and made the Pro Bowl. — Rookie Season Stats: 16 GP, 64.1% comp., 3,118 yards, 26 TDs, 10 INTs, 94 carries, 489 rushing yards, 4 TDs.
#3: Cam Newton (Panthers, 2011)
The top pick in the 2011 draft, Newton picked up where he left off in college—running all over defenses. The surprise was that he was just as effective through the air, topping the 4,000–yard mark. In his first professional game, the Heisman Trophy winner threw for 422 yards and two touchdowns against the Cardinals. — Rookie Season Stats: 16 GP, 60.0% comp., 4,051 yards, 21 TDs, 17 INTs, 126 carries, 706 rushing yards, 14 TDs.
#2: Robert Griffin III (Redskins, 2012)
The No. 2 pick and former Heisman Trophy winner had high expectations entering his first season in Washington, but he exceeded them in his rookie year. He led the team to an NFC East title marking Washington's first playoff appearance since the 2007 season, and threw just five interceptions the entire regular season. — Rookie Season Stats: 15 GP, 65.4% comp., 3,200 yards, 20 TDs, 5 INTs, 120 carries, 815 rushing yards, 7 TDs.
#1: Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers, 2004)
The Steelers drafted Roethlisberger with the 11th pick in the draft, intending to initially deploy him as a backup. But when Tommy Maddox got hurt in Week 2, Roethlisberger was forced into action. All Big Ben did was rattle off 13 straight wins to finish 13-0 as the starter in his first season. The Steelers ended up losing in the AFC Championship. — Rookie Season Stats: 14 GP, 66.4% comp., 2,621 yards, 17 TDs, 11 INTs, 56 carries, 144 rushing yards, 1 TD.