The long-awaited, controversial, yet ever-entertaining 2011 NFL draft is upon us. Christmas in April is what the draft means to every red-blooded, true-blue fan of the phenomena known as the NFL.
This year could be the year of the asterisk. The CBA meltdown, the opening gambits in what promises to be a lengthy litigation and no free agency prior to the draft.
There will be an 800-pound gorilla at the Radio City Music Hall. He will remain unseen and unheard as the best college football players name’s are called. Nevertheless, he will be on everyone’s mind.
That 800-pound gorilla in the room is QB Andrew Luck. Luck eschewed the trouble that plagued the NFL in 2011 in order to complete his education and perhaps let the dust settle before signing on the dotted line.
Luck was a “no-brainer,” unanimous No. 1 draft pick before his January announcement that he would return to school. Luck was the best QB by far, even though Auburn’s QB Cam Newton walked away with the Heisman Trophy in 2010.
Oh, and not to be forgotten is the fact that Newton won a national championship along the way. However, in any way that you analyze it, Andrew Luck was the most NFL-ready franchise QB in the draft. Period.
Now comes the QB starved NFL with no free agency looking desperately for a franchise QB amongst this merely adequate QB class of the 2011 draft.
Pity the team who chooses to invest millions in drafting a QB this year knowing that Andrew Luck will be available in 2012.
Pity the Carolina Panthers, who must draft a QB with that precious first overall pick.
They really do, and you know it.
Barring an injury in his senior season, or his moving into an Ashram, Andrew Luck looks like an early favorite to be the No. 1 pick in 2012.
We can only wistfully look back upon the 2011 NFL “Luckless” draft and wonder what might have been had Luck declared his eligibility.
Yes, Andrew Luck is that 800-pound gorilla in the room.
Mike Sudds is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Mike is also an analyst and correspondent for DraftTek.com.