Andrew Luck has been the shoe-in choice for the first overall pick for, well, any year that he could possibly declare for the Draft. Luck has simply been that good for that long for Stanford, and it almost seems silly for the Indianapolis Colts to ignore Luck’s secure standing as a future star and overanalyze the pick enough to move on to someone else. Yet Robert Griffin III is apparently an intriguing enough prospect to think about just that.
ESPN’s Jemele Hill argues that RG3 is actually the better prospect specifically suited for the Colts, especially if Peyton Manning is going to stay in place. Jim Irsay shocked Manning with the firing of Bill Polian, the team’s architect as long as Manning has been in the NFL. However, Irsay also seems to want to partner with Manning in a way that keeps him around for both his continued playing and non-playing days.
That said, Griffin makes the most sense according to Hill:
Both Griffin and Luck could play right away, but Luck is a more polished product. Griffin, on the other hand, could benefit from sitting behind Manning awhile. He could be another Aaron Rodgers, who sat behind Brett Favre for three seasons before becoming Green Bay’s starter in 2008.
Also, the quarterback position in the NFL is changing. Traditional pocket passers are still a desired commodity, but the idea that an athletic quarterback is a liability is outdated. By breaking Manning’s rookie passing-yardage record, Cam Newton showed a more dangerous quarterback model is emerging — a pass-first, freakish athlete who can make dazzling plays with his legs.
Newton and Griffin are different players, but Griffin fits the general mode that Newton established. Griffin’s running ability is as rare as Newton’s and Michael Vick’s. Griffin, an All-American in track at Baylor, possesses legitimate 4.4 speed. If you combine that with the fact that he throws perhaps the most accurate deep ball in college football, Griffin’s upside is absolutely staggering.
While that might be true, there’s no way of knowing whether or not Manning will be healthy until he suits up in the fall and takes some game-level hits. Luck provides the most stability for the league’s worst franchise and Griffin’s soaring stock is getting pulled into recent hype. That’s not to take away from Griffin whatsoever, because he should also turn out to be a fine pro quarterback, but Luck has been at the top for a reason.
If, however, the Colts were to turn to Griffin for that top choice, it’s clear that Luck’s price would also go down in terms of trade value. The Chiefs are among the teams that could and should make a move for Luck if he were available at No. 2 or 3 overall in the draft for a trade package to get him. The St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings are on the clock for the next two choices and neither one is in dire need of a quarterback (although it’d be hard to argue against taking Luck if he was magically available). Thus, they might be willing to surrender for the right draft bounty.