The transcendent skills of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III may eventually change the NFL, but the No. 1 and 2 overall picks in the 2012 draft already have significantly altered the expectations and evaluations of incoming rookie quarterbacks.
Sure, we understand that Luck and Griffin III spoiled us last year.
Each prospect was special in his own right but was inherently loaded with all the physical, mental and leadership abilities needed to instantly revitalize a franchise—and that's precisely what they did.
They pieced together magnificent individual campaigns and carried their marginally-talented teams to the playoffs.
When it comes to young quarterbacks, Luck and Griffin III are in a class by themselves.
As the remnants of their unprecedented debut seasons linger, we've unfairly set their nearly flawless pre-draft evaluations and marvelous first-year achievements as the expected standard instead of the gold standard for the quarterback position.
Not surprisingly, the 2013 quarterback class simply can't live up to the lofty precedent set by Luck and Griffin III.
And that's OK.
Just because Luck and RG3 were legitimate franchise saviors—NFL-ready studs—doesn't mean their path to what likely will be the elite distinction is the only way to get there.
There was a time, not too long ago, that sound coaching, tailoring the offensive scheme and adding premier skill-position talent were accepted and commonly practiced methods to mold top-tier quarterbacks into franchise leaders.
It is possible to win without an once-in-a-decade prospect under center.
Prime example—Joe Flacco and the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Really, only a handful of teams can say they have a quarterback who genuinely can win a game on his own.
Without a doubt, finding an Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III is the ultimate luxury. It solidifies the game's most vital position, and a team can win while it slowly builds its roster in a calculated fashion.
But there's a reason Luck and RG3 were considered special—quarterbacks of their caliber don't come around often.
Constructing a winning team the non-Luck way is clearly more arduous, complex and time-consuming.
The explosion of young quarterbacks coupled with society's exponentially increasing desire for instant gratification are extremely unfortunate developments for this year's quarterback draft class.
Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson, Mike Glennon and Ryan Nassib are all far from Luck territory, but of course, in the right system with the right coach and a decent and continually improving group of talent around them, each can blossom into winning-franchise cornerstones.
It just probably won't happen as rapidly as it did for Luck and Griffin III.
Honestly, we need to have more faith in a coach's competence to, well, coach.
Are we supposed to think Jim Harbaugh's presence had nothing to do with Alex Smith's resurgence in San Francisco?
Let's just hope a quarterback-needy team doesn't pass on a good quarterback because he isn't the perfect, Luck-esque prospect.
(Russell Wilson was equally as impressive in his rookie campaign, but he's considered an outlier on this topic, as Luck and RG3 were considered Top 5 picks from the very beginning.)
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