Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin will be the first two selections in next week's 2012 NFL draft, and not only does recent history indicate that one of the two will be a disappointment in the National Football League, but this time around the flop is going to be the player that's been hailed as the surest bet at his position in years.
Gary Myers of the New York Daily News wrote a fascinating article last week detailing the recent history of drafts in which quarterbacks have been the first two overall picks. If that history is any indication, then one of the pair will make a fanbase very happy while the other...not so much.
Luck and Griffin will be just the seventh set of quarterbacks to go 1-2 since the NFL started the draft in 1936. It will be just the fifth time it’s happened since the 1970 merger and it hasn’t happened at all since 1999. Luck and Griffin are expected to be franchise quarterbacks and resurrect their teams.
If the history of quarterbacks going 1-2 is a way to predict the future, then Luck or Griffin will become a star—but not both. Here’s the rundown since the merger.
I won't inundate you with all the details of Myers' breakdown, but here's the Cliffs Notes version of how those duos panned out.
1998: Peyton Manning is a future Hall of Famer, Ryan Leaf is a future convict. Enough said.
If this trend is set to continue this season, then many folks would probably assume that it will be Luck who will succeed and Griffin who will struggle given Luck's prototypical skill set and experience in a pro-style offense. But I can't shake the feeling that it will be the Stanford star who will struggle, and it won't even necessarily be his fault.
Much like Couch in 1999 and David Carr in 2002, Luck is being thrust into a situation where the offensive "talent" around him is virtually non-existent. Outside of wide receiver Reggie Wayne (who will probably spend the entire 2012 season triple-covered), the Colts' skill position players are woeful, and it's entirely possible that the offensive line that blocked for Luck in Palo Alto last year was better than the one he'll be running for his life behind in Indianapolis this season.
The injuries that derailed Couch's career were due in no small part to the constant beating he took, and Carr was sacked so many times in Houston (including a record 76 times in 2002) that his confidence in the pocket was completely shattered.
Also, while this is no way intended as a knock on Luck (who I think is an excellent quarterback that I wish the Browns could get their hands on), what you see is basically what you get with him. We know what Andrew Luck can do, as we've been watching him do it for years with the Cardinal.
Meanwhile, although there are questions about Griffin's ability to adapt to the pros, there's no question that his incredible athleticism sends his upside off the charts. And as Cam Newton showed just a season ago, adjusting to the National Football League quickly isn't an impossible task, given that Newton threw for like 970 yards in his pro debut (approximately).
It's possible that these talented youngsters will buck the trend and both go on to become stars in the NFL, and this is an instance where I honestly would like nothing more than to be wrong. However, given their respective talents and especially their respective situations, I think that many folks are going to be surprised when we look back at this pair a few years from now, as it's going to be Robert Griffin who has the most early "Luck" in the NFL.