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Sam vs The Record Books

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Miami Dolphins v New York Jets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Two games into his fledgling NFL career, Sam Darnold is off to a nice start on the stat sheets. We’re going to take a weekly look at where he stands in comparison to the all time rookie leaders (post merger) in several metrics.

A few things to keep in mind. All rankings are limited to quarterbacks with at least 250 passing attempts in their rookie seasons. There have been 72 rookie quarterbacks with 250 or more passing attempts in the post merger era. Rate stats (like completion %) reflect actual current numbers for Darnold. Counting stats (like touchdowns or yards) reflect prorated numbers for Darnold assuming (and this is a huge assumption early in the season) he continues to perform at the same level all season.

Let’s get to it. Below are a bunch of quarterback metrics, listing the all time rookie leaders for each and showing where Sam Darnold fits assuming he plays at the same level all season.

Yards

  1. Andrew Luck 4374
  2. Sam Darnold 4256
  3. Cam Newton 4051
  4. Jameis Winston 4042
  5. Carson Wentz 3782

Touchdowns

  1. Peyton Manning 26
  2. Russell Wilson 26 (Tie 1)
  3. Sam Darnold 24
  4. Andrew Luck 23
  5. Dak Prescott 23 (Tie 4)

Interceptions

  1. Peyton Manning 28
  2. Jim Zorn 27
  3. Terry Bradshaw 24
  4. Sam Darnold 24 (Tie 3)
  5. Jeff Komlo 23

Passer Rating

  1. Dak Prescott 104.9
  2. Robert Griffin III 102.4
  3. Russell Wilson 100
  4. Ben Roethlisberger 98.1
  5. Dan Marino 96

...

7. Sam Darnold 88.9

Yards/Attempt

  1. Ben Roethlisberger 8.88
  2. Sam Darnold 8.58
  3. Robert Griffin III 8.14
  4. Dak Prescott 7.99
  5. Russell Wilson 7.93

Completion Percentage

  1. Dak Prescott 67.8
  2. Ben Roethlisberger 66.4
  3. Sam Darnold 66.1
  4. Robert Griffin III 65.7
  5. Teddy Bridgewater 64.4

Touchdown Percentage

  1. Dan Marino 6.8
  2. Russell Wilson 6.6
  3. Jim Plunkett 5.8
  4. Ben Roethlisberger 5.8 (Tie 3)
  5. Steve Bartkowski 5.1
  6. Robert Griffin III 5.1 (Tie 5)
  7. Marcus Mariota 5.1 (Tie 5)
  8. Jake Plummer 5.1 (Tie 5)

...

11. Sam Darnold 4.8

Interception Percentage

  1. Dak Prescott 0.9
  2. Robert Griffin III 1.3
  3. Nick Foles 1.9
  4. Charlie Batch 2.0
  5. Derek Carr 2.0 (Tie 4)

...

55. Sam Darnold 4.83

It’s very early in Sam Darnold’s rookie year, so we should take these metrics with a large grain of salt at this point, but other than the interceptions, so far, so good. Darnold appears to be off to a fine start compared to the metrics of other rookie quarterbacks for their full rookie seasons. We’ll track these numbers throughout the year and see how this unfolds.