The 2012 NFL Draft was going to be one of the best ever for quarterbacks. So there was little suspense when the Indianapolis Colts took Andrew Luck first overall and the Washington Redskins followed with Robert Griffin III.

In all, four quarterbacks were taken in the first round, and they all were named the starters during their first training camp, their teams eager to proclaim them franchise quarterbacks.

So far, however, the best quarterbacks from that draft were selected long after Luck, Griffin, Miami’s Ryan Tannehill and Cleveland’s Brandon Weeden shook hands with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on the Radio City Music Hall stage in New York City on the first night of the draft.

The Eagles’ Nick Foles and the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson were picked the next night in the third round. They weren’t in New York to shake hands with the commissioner. They weren’t anointed a starting job heading into their first training camp. And they were hardly considered franchise quarterbacks.

Look at them now.

Foles has a QB rating of 120.0 this season, the best in the NFL, and very close to the record mark for a season set by Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, who had a rating of 122.5 in 2011. Foles already has tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes in a game and he just missed tying another one when he threw his first interception after 19 touchdown passes, one short of Peyton Manning’s record.

Wilson, meanwhile, has led Seattle to an 11-2 record this season. He has thrown 49 touchdown passes in his short career with just 17 interceptions. His career QB rating is 103.0.

He and Foles, with a career rating of 97.6, have the best rating of the quarterbacks selected in the 2012 draft.

“When you talk about traits in quarterbacks, and with Nick Foles, you saw the size, the arm strength, the intelligence, the leadership, and the big hands,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said.

“But when you really dug into it, you saw more. What was really impressive to me was his ability to persevere during adversity.”

Roseman said that adversity included the firing of Foles’ coach, Mike Stoops, in the middle of Foles’ senior year at Arizona, with a roster that already was depleted. But that didn’t stop Foles.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly, who was coaching at Oregon that season, still vividly remembers the time when Foles completed a pass left-handed against his team while getting nailed during a pass rush.

“We knocked the snot out of him when we played him,” Kelly said recently. “Watch the tape when he completed a 13-yard pass against us left-handed. We chinned him. He was going down. Switches the ball to his left hand and then still throws it for a completion, then gets up and makes another play against us.

“He is a tough kid.”

Shared traits
But Foles’ teammates have noticed much more than toughness. They noticed his humbleness and quiet determination, which they said are traits that all top quarterbacks possess.

Safety Earl Wolff, for example, said Foles reminds him of Wilson, who was his teammate at N.C. State for three seasons.

“People who know Russell personally, we’re not surprised at what he’s doing because he was doing that at N.C. State,” Wolff said. “Just to see what kind of person he is, if you met him, everybody would understand why he’s succeeding because he’s a great guy and a great leader. He never panics. He has a lot of faith. He was a leader for us ever since he was an underclassman. You don’t see that very often.

“Honestly, I see those same type of qualities, almost exactly the same, in Nick. I’m also not surprised to see what Nick’s doing.”

Tight end Zach Ertz was Luck’s teammate at Stanford for three seasons. He, too, saw the same qualities in Luck, who has by far the most yards passing of any of the 2012 quarterbacks while leading the Colts to the playoffs last season as a rookie and most likely this season as well.