2012 NFL Draft: 3 Reasons Robert Griffin III Could Be Better Than Andrew Luck

Mike Fast@@michaelfast1Contributor IApril 11, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: 3 Reasons Robert Griffin III Could Be Better Than Andrew Luck

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    Of the 253 players that will be selected in the 2012 NFL draft, only two of them really know who they will play for in the Fall.

    Andrew Luck to the Colts and Robert Griffin III to the Redskins have been the worst kept secrets of the entire offseason. The Colts' release of Peyton Manning and the Redskins' trade up from No. 6 to No. 2 is basically a declaration that the Vikings are now on the clock.

    We all know the NFL is a quarterback-driven league. An NFL quarterback gets more money, responsibility, blame and praise than any other player in football. League rules have been altered to enhance passing and to ensure the health of quarterbacks (and receivers).

    So if the quarterback position is so important and these two players are so special, it's only natural to compare them and attempt to figure out who the better player is.

    Many fans, analysts and journalists (including myself) have long thought that Luck is the best quarterback prospect in this draft, hands down. But after further investigation, it might not be such a landslide.

1. Better Supporting Cast

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    If in fact Griffin gets drafted by Washington, he would have a much better supporting cast than Luck would have in Indianapolis.

    Last season, here is how the Redskins matched up against the Colts:

      Redskins Colts
    Win/loss record 5-11 (2-4)* 2-14 (2-4)
    Record vs. playoff teams 2-2 1-7
    Rush offense 25th 26th
    Pass offense 14th 27th
    Total offense 16th 30th
    Rush defense 18th 29th
    Pass defense 12th 15th
    Total defense 13th 25th

    *Washington's two division wins were both against the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

    On top of that, Washington's coaching staff and front office is more stable.

    Yes, I just wrote that.

    Say what you want about Dan Snyder and Mike Shanahan, but they have been in Washington for a while now. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson are starting from scratch in Indianapolis. Shanahan is a two-time Super Bowl champion head coach, and Pagano is a rookie head coach.

    Meaning, on top of having better players around him, Griffin will also have a more accomplished coach to learn from.

    People say Andrew Luck is the best prospect since John Elway.

    Who helped Elway win two Super Bowls? Shanahan.

2. Less Pressure

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    Although some Redskins fans are going out of their way to praise Robert Griffin III, he figures to endure less pressure than Andrew Luck will.

    Besides Griffin, nine of the last 10 Heisman Trophy winners have been quarterbacks. Only Cam Newton and Carson Palmer have performed well in the NFL. According to that standard, the logical expectation of Griffin is that he will be a bust as a professional. In other words, the pressure on him is less than the pressure Luck will deal with.

    Andrew Luck has to replace Peyton Manning. Luck is most certainly going to be the top overall pick in the draft. He will get paid a lot of money and will have to validate his contract with his play. Last year's top overall pick (Newton) signed a four-year contract worth over $22 million in fully guaranteed money.

    Griffin will be paid handsomely as well, and Washington, D.C., will put him under intense scrutiny. Still, Luck faces higher expectations with less support.

3. Better Athlete

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    Far and away, Robert Griffin III is a better athlete than Andrew Luck.

    Griffin is an excellent passer as well. As Super Bowl winning head coach Brian Billick tweeted, Griffin has a better delivery than Michael Vick, Cam Newton and Jake Locker.

    Billick also debunked the theory some have about Griffin, that he is just a running quarterback.

    In 2011, Griffin and Luck both had tremendous seasons. Luck led the Stanford Cardinal to an 11-2 record while racking up seven 40-point games.

    Griffin helped the Baylor Bears go 10-3 on the strength of nine 40-point games.

    They both had a record of 1-1 versus common opponents (beat Washington, lost to Oklahoma State) and they both threw 37 touchdowns.

    Other than that, Griffin outperformed Luck in every major passing and rushing category. Take a look.

     Robert Griffin IIIAndrew Luck
    Pass completions291288
    Pass attempts402404
    Completion percentage72.471.3
    Passing yards4,2933,517
    Yards per attempt10.688.71
    Passing touchdowns3737
    Quarterback rating189.5169.7
    Rushing yards699150
    Yards per rush3.93.3
    Rushing touchdowns102

    What does all this mean?

    It means that while Luck is the better prospect at this point, Griffin seems to have a more supportive career trajectory.

    Is Griffin better than Luck? No. Not now.

    Could Griffin be better than Luck? Absolutely.