The Indianapolis Colts will undoubtedly spring for the highly touted Andrew Luck with the first pick in the draft. Most prognosticators project Luck as the best prospect at quarterback since Peyton Manning.
Luck has excellent accuracy, good vision and stellar pocket presence. In addition, he was extremely successful in his college career at Stanford University and he has all the necessary physical measurables.
However, despite the seemingly rosy outlook, Colts fans need to temper their expectations heading into the 2012 draft. The likely addition of Luck to the Colts roster means a new era will begin in Indianapolis and the reality of life without Peyton Manning will start to sink in.
Perhaps Luck isn't the best option for the Colts, however. Let's take an alternative view that considers a few key arguments for why Luck might not be the best pick for the Colts as they head into the 2012 draft.
1. Andrew Luck has a few flaws in his game.
Luck has a tendency to try to squeeze in passes into tight coverage. He trusts his arm and decision-making a bit too much and he can get picked off as a result.
Also, as Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, Jr. explain in this ESPN.com feature, Luck has a propensity to pat the ball prior to release and this can telegraph his intentions to opposing teams' cornerbacks and safeties.
Luck's arm strength and the "zip" he puts on the ball is not top-shelf, although this is a lesser concern than the potential interceptions that could result from the flaws listed above.
2. Robert Griffin III could be a better long-term option at quarterback.
While RG3 may be a less polished product at this point than Luck, he may have a bigger upside. Griffin III has more athletic prowess, with break-away speed and an absolute gun for an arm. Griffin is also a great leader and showed at Baylor that he can win in a variety of ways.
Luck may be ready to step in right away, but Griffin III may end up having the better professional career.
3. Peyton Manning may still have a few good years left, and the team has desperate needs elsewhere.
With stud quarterback prospects like Luck and Griffin III on the draft board, teams may be willing to part with all kinds of picks for the Colts' No. 1 spot. If Manning is truly able to play at a high level next year, the Colts would be better off retaining the proven commodity and building around him.
I will certainly grant that it's highly unlikely that Manning will be back to form after a plethora of neck surgeries and a slow recovery, but if he is indeed ready to play, keeping the perennial Pro Bowler around for one last try for a Super Bowl would be the right thing to do.
The Colts roster is thinner than a filling-less crepe. They desperately need help at cornerback and the middle of their defensive line is consistently overmatched. Forgoing Luck in favor of a huge number of picks would strengthen the Colts for years to come and would give Manning the chance to win another Super Bowl as a Colt.
It may be fait accompli at this point for the Colts to take Luck in the draft, but new GM Ryan Grigson would be wise to consider all the options before pulling the trigger on a prospect who may not be a franchise-building savior.
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