The entire notion is almost silly to compare quarterback draft grades from 1979 until now, but somehow Mel Kiper, ESPN’s NFL Draft analyst, has been able to do just that in his latest column. In it, he discusses his 10 best quarterback draft grades of all time and then somehow places Andrew Luck, the likely No. 1 choice in April’s 2012 NFL Draft, at No. 2 overall.
As Kiper does his best High Fidelity impersonation, his first overall ranking on the list belongs to John Elway. Kiper writes, “The thing I’ll always come back to with Elway is the unbelievable arm strength. It’s still the best I’ve seen. But Elway had more touch than people realize — he could make all the throws. His mobility was fantastic, and he was an extremely smart player. It wasn’t just the Stanford cliché, either. Elway is the son of a coach and read the game at very high level before he got to the NFL.”
As for Luck, Kiper says, “If I did this list and included Luck based on where I think his pre-draft grade will be, he’d be at No. 2 overall. I still have his prospect grade below Elway at this point, but he edges out Kelly and has the second-highest grade for a QB in the 32 years I’ve been doing this. That’s the kind of elite company he is in.”
That’s on reason why the buzz on Luck is so incredible this season and why teams will likely pay through the roof in order to have the chance to draft him — if Indianapolis is stupid enough to trade him at all.