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NFL 2012: a banner year for rookie quarterbacks

Encouraged by the success of Carolina’s Cam Newton and Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton last season, five teams hand the offensive controls to five players fresh out of the college ranks.

4. Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns

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    Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden (3) calls a play at the line in the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Philadelphia Eagles Aug. 24 in Cleveland.
    Mark Duncan/AP
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Drafted: #22 overall (in first round)

Pro status: starter

College: Oklahoma State

6 ft. 3 in., 230 lbs.

Hometown: Edmond, Okla.

QB rating in preseason: 59.7

At 28, Weeden is much older than the typical rookie. The reason is that he got sidetracked pursuing a baseball career, testing the waters as a pitcher in the minor-league organizations of the Yankees, Dodgers, and Royals. When he got fed up with the occasional 18-hour bus trip and giving up broken-bat homers, he turned his full attention to zipping spirals for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Besides leading the team to a 12-1 record last season, it’s worth noting that Weeden was able to engineer victories in games against teams led by the three quarterbacks drafted ahead of him – Andrew Luck of Stanford, Robert Griffin of Baylor, and Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M. His rookie season promises to be an uphill climb, however, playing in one of the NFL’s toughest divisions, the AFC North, where the Browns are picked to finish behind the Ravens, Bengals, and Steelers.

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