It's been a virtual lock for nearly a year now that quarterback Andrew Luck, formerly of the Stanford Cardinal, would be the overall No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The 2011 regular season featured regular updates on which NFL team had the worst record and was thus most likely to earn the "Andrew Luck pick" this year.
Even after Luck wound up in second place in the Heisman Trophy voting for the second year in a row, his stock hardly took a hit.
The 2011 Heisman winner ended up being another quarterback in the 2012 NFL Draft, Robert Griffin III of the Baylor . Despite the fact that Griffin was voted as being the better player and quarterback in the country and given the most prestigious award in college football, Luck is still scouted as being the more "NFL-ready" of the two young men.
Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reports that scouts and coaches feel Luck is the more solid (or at least less risky) pick between the two, if only slightly.
Of 15 NFL scouts and coaches surveyed since the Senior Bowl in late January, 14 said they would take Luck first. Some of that came down to Luck being a little bigger (he is 6-foot-4, 235 pounds compared to Griffin at 6-2, 220), which means he could take more of an NFL pounding. Some of it came down to the systems they played in (Baylor's spread offense gave Griffin more opportunities to show off his immense talent).
"I can’t sit here and quantify the difference why there seems to be a little more risk with [Griffin], it’s more of a gut feeling. We’re splitting hairs because they are both great kids," one NFC personnel man said. "But I’ll say this about Luck: The minute he took over at Stanford, he looked the part. Not just how he threw it or all the highlight tape stuff you see. He looked like a quarterback, like a guy who is going to run your team.
" … He can walk in, run a team right now and do enough things that you can play competent, winning football. That’s the worst he’s going to be. He’s going to be a player on your team for 10 years, barring injury, and in this business that’s saying a lot."
Many of the evaluators have been saying for some time now that Luck just "feels" like an NFL quarterback. There will be a lot of people who will be very surprised if Luck is not the opening-day starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts this coming fall.
For more on Andrew Luck and the 2012 NFL Draft, visit SB Nation's Mocking The Draft.