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Five rookie quarterbacks to start NFL openers

By Mike Baldwin Published: September 8, 2012
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Former Oklahoma State standout Brandon Weeden is one of five NFL rookie quarterbacks starting the season openers, the first time that's happened since the 1970 merger.

The five: Andrew Luck (Colts), Robert Griffin III (Redskins), Ryan Tannehill (Dolphins), Russell Wilson (Seahawks) and Weeden (Browns).

Luck and Griffin were the first two picks in the draft. Tannehill was selected No. 8 overall, Weeden 22nd. Wilson, a third-round pick, beat out free-agent signee Matt Flynn.

Nearly one-third of NFL starting quarterbacks will be in their first or second season. The five second-year starters are: Cam Newton (Panthers), Jake Locker (Titans), Blaine Gabbert (Jaguars), Christian Ponder (Vikings) and Andy Dalton (Bengals).

Ten starting quarterbacks with one year or less experience is the most since 1950, according to STATS LLC. That was the year the league absorbed three teams from the All-America Football Conference when Cleveland's Otto Graham joined the league.

The previous high mark in the modern era was eight in 2000 (Donovan McNabb, Ryan Leaf, Tim Couch, Daunte Culpepper, Jeff Garcia, Cade McNown, Akili Smith and Jeff Garcia).