Andrew Luck vs. Robert Griffin III: How Past No. 2 Picks Fared Against No. 1
With never-ending debates regarding which quarterback should be selected first—Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III—history indicates whomever is taken second stands a decent chance to outshine his counterpart.
They are taking Luck.
But does that mean Luck will have a better career than Griffin?
Here's a look at a dozen cases in which the second overall selection has outperformed the No. 1, or at the very least, played at a similarly high level.
2011: Cam Newton vs. Von Miller
Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was selected with the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft.
In his first year with the Carolina Panthers, Newton started all 16 games. He threw for more than 4,000 yards—with 21 touchdowns—completing 60 percent of his passes. His passer rating is a respectable 84.5.
More impressively, Newton rushed for 706 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The Denver Broncos drafted Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller at the No. 2 spot.
Miller played in all but one game, amassing 11.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, 51 tackles and four passes deflected. Miller's stats put him in the Pro Bowl and won him the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award.
Both Newton and Miller are fantastic players who should have long, successful careers.
While Newton will arguably be the better player in the future, but it's certainly close.
2010: Sam Bradford vs. Ndamukong Suh
The St. Louis Rams opened the 2010 draft by choosing Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford.
Bradford has tons of upside, but hasn't produced as expected. In two seasons, he's 8-18 as a starter and owns a 74.2 passer rating.
Bradford looked good in 2010, throwing 18 for touchdowns and 3,500 yards. However, in last year's injury-plagued season, he only threw six touchdowns for 2,100 yards with six interceptions.
Second overall pick Ndamukong Suh, however, quickly established himself as one of the NFL's best defensive tackles.
The former Nebraska Cornhusker finished the 2010 season with 10 sacks, one interception, three passes deflected, one forced fumble and one fumble return for a touchdown.
In 2011, Suh netted only 26 tackles and four sacks, and also missed two games.
Both had stellar seasons in 2010. Both dipped in production in 2011.
However, Suh strikes fear to opponents more than Bradford does. Until Bradford can prove he can stay healthy and get over the hump, Suh takes it.
2008: Jake Long vs. Chris Long
Miami Dolphins left tackle Jake Long is considered the sixth-best tackle in the NFL according to Bleacher Report's NFL draft lead writer Matt Miller.
Official rankings aside, it's clear he's one of the best in the game.
St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long, on the other hand, has taken more time to develop. He has consistently finished with 30-plus tackles and at least one fumble forced per season, and his sacks have risen every year too. Last season, he finished with 13.
Jake rose to the top rapidly while Chris has seen a slow and steady rise.
Still, Chris Long is no one to scoff at.
2007: JaMarcus Russell vs. Calvin Johnson
This one hardly needs an explanation.
One is known as "Purple Drank." They call the other "Megatron."
JaMarcus Russell—2007's first overall pick—is out of the league while Calvin Johnson owns the highest salary for wide receivers in the history of the NFL.
In five seasons, Johnson is averaging 1,174 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns per year.
A two-time Pro Bowler, Johnson's career yards per game is fourth-best all time among wide receivers.
2006: Mario Williams vs. Reggie Bush
Most assumed USC's insanely talented running back Reggie Bush would be selected first in the 2006 NFL draft. However, North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams earned the honors.
When healthy, Williams averages around 40 tackles and 10 sacks per season. He's also good for two forced fumbles a year.
A two-time Pro Bowler, Williams has endured a position change and a pectoral injury that sidelined him for much of the 2011 season. Even so, he signed the largest contract for a defensive end in NFL history this offseason.
After platooning in New Orleans for five years, Bush eventually found himself in Miami and has finally surpassed 1,000 rush yards in a season.
He's been very streaky so far, but looks to have found a suitable role for himself in the NFL.
Williams is easily the better player, but Bush holds his own.
Look for him to rise further in 2012.
2002: David Carr vs. Julius Peppers
Quarterback David Carr was tasked with leading the new Houston Texans expansion team to glory.
After five seasons and a 22-53 record, Houston gave up on him.
Julius Peppers, on the other hand, is one of today's premier defensive ends, averaging 10 sacks a season. In his 10-year career, Peppers has attended six Pro Bowls.
Once he hangs up the cleats, Peppers has a great shot at entering the Hall of Fame.
2000: Courtney Brown vs. LaVar Arrington
LaVar Arrington—2000's second overall pick—barely outplayed his counterpart in first overall pick Courtney Brown.
Both lasted just seven years.
As a defensive end, Brown averaged about four sacks per season. In his best years, Arrington netted 70 tackles at the linebacker position.
According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, Brown's approximate value was never higher than seven.
Arrington, on the other hand, had three seasons valued as an 11 or higher. He had more tackles and sacks than Brown and went on to three Pro Bowls.
1999: Tim Couch vs. Donovan McNabb
First-overall pick Tim Couch played five seasons in the NFL.
Couch was 22-37 as a starter. He finished with a completion percentage under 60 and a passer rating of 75. He also threw 64 touchdowns to 67 interceptions.
In a 13-year career, second overall pick Donovan McNabb has a 98-62-1 record. He's thrown exactly twice as many touchdowns (234) as he has interceptions (117).
His completion percentage is the exact same as Couch's, though his passer rating is 10 points higher.
Under McNabb, the Eagles won the NFC East five times. They won the Wild Card an additional three times and played in one Super Bowl.
1995: Ki-Jana Carter vs. Tony Boselli
Ki-Jana Carter was chosen at No. 1 in 1995.
In seven years he never rushed for more than 500 yards.
Tackle Tony Boselli, however, earned five Pro Bowl appearances and the Offensive Lineman of the Year Award in 1998.
He is now a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars Hall of Fame.
1994: Dan Wilkinson vs. Marshall Faulk
With the first pick of the 1994 draft, the Cincinnati Bengals chose defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson.
Running back Marshall Faulk went next.
Wilkinson had a long, average career. He typically earned four to eight sacks and 20-30 tackles per season.
After landing with the St. Louis Rams, Faulk became one of the most important pieces to "The Greatest Show on Turf." His 12,279 yards rushing put him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1981: George Rogers vs. Lawrence Taylor
Running back George Rogers—taken first in 1981—went to two Pro Bowls. He ran for more than 1,000 yards four times in a seven-year career. In his rookie season, he rushed for 1,600 yards.
Rogers had a good career.
Unfortunately, the second pick in the 1981 draft had an amazing career.
Lawrence Taylor averaged 10 sacks per season. In 1986 alone, he got to the quarterback 20 times.
The 10-time Pro Bowler had phenomenal hands as well. He picked off nine passes, returning two for touchdowns.
In his first year, Taylor won Defensive Rookie of the Year. In his second, he won Defensive Player of the Year. In 1986, he was the NFL's MVP award winner.
The Hall of Famer is considered one of the best and most feared linebackers to ever play in the NFL.
1977: Ricky Bell vs. Tony Dorsett
Drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ricky Bell spent six years in the NFL. He rushed for 3,063 yards.
Conversely, Tony Dorsett spent 12 years in the NFL, rushing for 12,739 yards.
Dorsett spent nearly his entire career with the Dallas Cowboys. He was the 1977 Offensive Rookie of the Year winner and a four-time Pro Bowler. He is also in the Hall of Fame.
No. 1 overall picks who entered the Hall of Fame: 12
No. 2 overall picks who entered the Hall of Fame: 10
In earlier years, cases of second overall picks outshining the athletes selected first were few and far between.
However, since the turn of the century, the event has become more probable.
So, how realistic are the chances that Robert Griffin III finishes his career ahead of Andrew Luck or just as good?
It doesn't happen very often, but it does happen.
It's going to be very fun watching these two play in the NFL at the same time. Hopefully fans get to enjoy it for at least a decade.