Opinion: Dalton standing out as the NFL’s top rookie quarterback

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    Carson Palmer may have led the Cincinnati Bengals to the promised land of the playoffs in the past, but the holdout quarterback finally got his wish and was traded from the team.

    The Bengals could care less. The Cincinnati Bengals seem to be climbing up the ranks of the NFL, thanks to a brand-new rookie quarterback.

    Don’t be shocked, but by most standards, Andy Dalton is excelling in the pros. He has completed 62 percent of his passes, racked up 1,311 yards and thrown seven touchdown passes, while only giving up five interceptions. He sports a quarterback rating of 84.3 and averages almost 220 yards passing per game.

    Dalton may not be among the ranks of the quarterbacking elites just yet, but when comparing his numbers to the passing statistics being put up by other rookie quarterbacks in the league, Dalton looks like the franchise quarterback a number of teams looked for in the 2011 draft.

    First-round draft pick Blaine Gabbert is struggling in Jacksonville, with a quarterback rating of 71.1 and a pass completion percentage below 50. The Jaguars are 1-5 on the season and Gabbert has yet to win a game as a starter.

    Fellow first-rounder Jake Locker, who went to the Tennessee Titans with the eighth overall selection, has seen no action this season. Christian Ponder, selected with the twelfth overall pick, is going to make his first start for Minnesota this week against Green Bay, and is a question mark for the 1-5 Vikings.

    Even when compared to the top pick in the draft, Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers, Dalton has arguably seen more success as a passing quarterback.

    Newton may be on track to set new rookie records in passing yardage, but beyond that, there is not much else that Newton’s passing game has going for him. Through the six NFL games the two have played so far, Dalton has had a higher completion rate and a better quarterback rating than Newton. Dalton and Newton are tied when it comes to touchdown passes, but Newton has thrown almost twice as many interceptions as Dalton.

    Dalton has better passing statistics in almost all categories when compared to his fellow rookie class. More importantly, Dalton dominates his peers with one exceptionally important statistic: wins.

    Andy Dalton has won more games as a starter than every other rookie quarterback playing this year – combined.

    Andy Dalton has led the Bengals to a great 4-2 record. Six weeks into the season, Cincinnati stands half a game out of first place in the AFC North and holds one of the best records in the AFC. If this is any indicator of the future, Cincinnati will relish the second-round steal of Andy Dalton.

    With the two first-round draft picks they picked up from the Palmer trade, the Bengals will continue to be on the rise. As they get help with their offensive line and their backfield, Dalton will continue to improve and the Bengals will continue to surprise.

    Carson Palmer will quickly become a distant memory for the Bengals. There’s a new sheriff in town, and as of now, he’s doing better than all the other quarterbacks from the 2011 draft.

    J.D. Moore is a sophomore journalism major from Honolulu, Hawaii.