- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Browns' Brandon Weeden was the fourth quarterback selected in the 2012 draft, but he has held his own against his fellow rookies. He is second among all rookies this season in passing yards (1,912), passing touchdowns (nine) and completions of 20 or more yards (27).
Weeden's progression through the season proves the Browns made the right decision in starting him right away over Colt McCoy. In eight games this season, Weeden already has more 300-yard passing games (two) than McCoy (one) and is five touchdown passes away from matching McCoy's total from last season. Plus, unlike McCoy, Weeden can stretch the field with long passes to Josh Gordon.
Weeden has some high expectations to live up to as a first-year starter in this division. Let's see how Weeden's first half of his rookie season stacks up against the first seasons for Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton:
WINS: At 2-6, Weeden is the only one who has a losing record after eight starts. Roethlisberger (7-1), Flacco (5-3) and Dalton (6-2) all had their teams lined up to go to the playoffs at this point.
COMPLETION RATE: At 55.2 percent, Weeden is the only one who is less than 61 percent. Roethlisberger completed 68.4 percent in his first eight starts while Flacco (61.8) and Dalton (61.4) had very similar completion rates.
PASSING YARDS: Weeden leads the group with 1,912 yards. That's 216 yards more than anyone else. Dalton threw for 1,696 yards in the first half of his rookie season. Roethlisberger (1,450) and Flacco (1,464) didn't have to throw the ball as much because their teams had top-five rushing attacks in their first year.
TOUCHDOWNS: Weeden is third on this list with nine. Dalton threw 12 touchdowns in his first eight starts and Roethlisberger had 11 touchdown passes. Flacco had only five touchdown passes in the first half of his rookie year.