Found April 25, 2012 on The Eastside Perspective:
Stanford_v_usc_a7f9

With the NFL draft fast approaching the Indianapolis Colts confirmed what many believed in that they are taking Andrew Luck, quarterback out of Stanford University, with the number 1 overall pick.

The question some had leading up to the draft was whether or not Robert Griffin III should have been chosen before him. Some say it was never a conversation to begin with, others, even two weeks ago, say otherwise. Let’s take a look at both and see if the Colts are making the right call. A quick tale of the tape:

  • Andrew Luck: 6’4″, 234 lbs., 4.59 40-time, plus arm strength
  • Robert Griffin III: 6’2 3/8″, 231 lbs., 4.41 40-time, plus arm strength

Both have the physical tools to succeed at the quarterback position in the NFL with Robert Griffin III at a slight disadvantage because of his height. Usually when I look at the quarterback position, I look at more than raw numbers and controlled NFL Combine/Pro Day scenarios. One of my biggest determining factors is their experience in college, and this is where I think Luck separates himself significantly from Griffin.

Luck played his college career in the Pac-12 and had career numbers of 9,430 yards, 82 touchdowns, 22 interceptions, 67% completion and 162.8 QB rating. He started three years in the conference, with his best year being his sophomore season. He took many by surprise when he decided to bypass the NFL draft and return to Stanford to finish his degree.

Last season gave me the opportunity to see what he could really do at the position and he didn’t disappoint. Without elite weapons, Luck led the Cardinal to the Fiesta Bowl and continued to put up big numbers as he had in past seasons. The main criticism last season was that he didn’t have great arm strength – I couldn’t have disagreed with that assessment more because he didn’t need to use such pace as often last season because the offense was more conservative due to the talent level around him. He later showcased his full arsenal in the BCS game against Oklahoma State and later during his Pro Day.

Robert Griffin, who competed in the Big 12, had numbers most can only fathom in a video game. Throwing for almost 4,000 yards and rushing for almost 700, he became Baylor’s first ever Heisman Trophy winner and deservedly so. By placing Baylor in the conscious of college football fans for all the right reasons he was truly amazing last season. There were, however, some issues with his overall game.

His arm is great, his speed is off the charts, but his ability to read and adapt to above average defenses worries me. While the likes of Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State aren’t pushovers, we can all agree that they aren’t at the peak of their powers during his time at Baylor. His ability to make all of the throws is there, but I worry about him against NFL defenses because he won’t be able to improvise like he did much of the time in college in crucial moments when the pocket wasn’t there. I also contend that while comparisons will be made, he isn’t Michael Vick or Cam Newton.

Indianapolis will be making the right choice in taking Luck over Robert Griffin III tomorrow. Luck is more prepared for the NFL at this point because of his extra time in college and his knowledge of the position mixed with his physical attributes. Griffin, while immensely talented, could have benefited from another year in school. I don’t see him as an immediate starter in the NFL, but someone who, with a year or two behind a veteran, could be a star in the league at the quarterback position.

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