At quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, number 12...Andrew Luck
I can't put it any more simply than that.
There's still a month to go before draft day, and that means that it's time for analysts to start flapping their gums about all the reasons why maybe, just maybe the Colts won't draft Andrew Luck next month.
Robert Griffin III, conveniently referred to as RG3 from this time forward thanks to laziness (both institutional and personal on my part), had his pro day yesterday, and it was predictably awesome. It spawned a spate of tongue-wagging about how the Colts are making a mistake if they take Luck. K.C. Joyner rattled off ten reasons Indy should take Griffin (pay wall). Merril Hoge took to the airwaves to proclaim Griffin the better candidate. As the World-Wide Leader in Sports looks to drum up interest in the draft, you can expect wave after wave of such arguments.
The Indianapolis Colts are going to draft Andrew Luck.
If they had any doubt at all as to what they were going to do next, there's absolutely no way they go through with the massive overhaul that's underway.
Why are they so convinced that Luck is the better prospect?
1. There is zero question Luck already knows how to run a pro offense.
Forget the whole athlete/intellect debate. The intellectual and athletic gaps between Griffin and Luck are negligible. Each one is hyper-intelligent and athletic. The only difference is in experience level. What Luck did in college translates immediately to the pros. What Griffin did in the spread requires some work to decipher. The numbers were amazing, but spread numbers can lie (check out Colt McCoy on that link).
2. Griffin is a bigger injury risk.
If he stays healthy, Griffin is going to be a star in the NFL, but Luck has something Griffin doesn't: size. Luck is two inches taller and a good 10 to 15 lbs heavier than Griffin. Both quarterbacks can move in and out of the pocket, but Luck has the frame to take a hit. Griffin isn't Culpepper or Roethlisberger sized, and every time he leaves the pocket his coach will cringe. Griffin seems fully healed from a knee injury from his sophomore year, but the fact that he had one at all sets him behind Luck. Injury is likely the only thing that could derail either of these prospects, so taking the guy with less risk makes sense.
3. Luck has the speed that matters.
Everyone wants to talk about Griffin's straight-line speed, and it is impressive. What is truly amazing, however, was Andrew Luck's score in the cone drill. Straight line speed is nice and all, but the ability to change directions with velocity is what matters in the NFL. We don't have a score from Griffin with which to compare, but Luck's agility was astounding. He's got the change-of-direction ability to avoid hits, which is the key to staying healthy in the NFL.
4. Luck fits the bill.
If there was ever a Peyton Manning 2.0 who didn't spring from the loins of Archie and Olivia, it's Andrew Luck. He's the son of a pro quarterback. He's a decorated college intellectual who stayed an extra year so he could enjoy the experience of being in school. His real expertise is in reading and breaking down defenses.
The mental aspect of playing quarterback in the NFL is vastly underrated. I'm not talking about the intelligence necessary to play. I mean the mental toughness it requires to endure the rigors of the position. Luck has lived under the spotlight for years now. We know how he'll handle stardom because we've seen him do it the last several years.
Griffin was a late bloomer. He never carried championship burdens or expectations. He didn't have to deal with the spotlight until later in his senior season, and even then it was only because he was a Heisman candidate.
We've seen Luck deal not only with success, but also with failure after success was expected. He's rock solid mentally, a proven commodity. In that respect, Griffin is still an unknown, and GMs and scouts hate unknowns.
Griffin is a phenomenal player. He's a brilliant leader and smart kid. If he stays healthy, he'll be a star in the NFL sooner rather than later.
He just won't be the first pick in the NFL draft.
All the yammer and blather in the world can't change that.