This past weekend, the 2011 Heisman Trophy was presented to Baylor QB Robert Griffin III. RG3 was the first player from Baylor to win the Heisman and he was a worthy victor following a regular season in which he put up 3,998 passing yards, 36 passing touchdowns, 644 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns. Add in the fact that it was one of the best Baylor seasons in recent memory and he was a worthy Heisman Trophy winner.
The NFL is a league that is always looking for the next big thing. Flash a shiny penny in front of a few GMs and they will be convinced it is the answer to all their problems. In a league where teams are expected to win now, GMs, scouts and coaches are on the lookout for players that will be able to boost their team to the next level.
Since the start of the 2011 college football season, Andrew Luck was considered that next big thing. Much as he was the favorite for the Heisman Trophy for much of the season, he was considered a lock to be the number one pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. As the Indianapolis Colts have slipped closer and closer to 0-16, the specter of Andrew Luck has kept Colts fans interested in the 2011 NFL season.
As is often the case however, we finally have a curve ball and his name is Robert Griffin III. As is always the case in the NFL, some executives have reportedly already moved past Andrew Luck and believe RG3 is the better long term NFL prospect. They see his athleticism, strong statistics, great character and view a guy who can potentially do more than Luck. He has another year of eligibility, but the belief is that his stock is at an all-time high and turning pro makes the most sense.
This raises a whole host of questions that will be answered to a certain extent from January to April, but won't be completely answered for arguably ten to fifteen years. If Griffin does decide to turn professional and blows away scouts during the buildup to the 2012 NFL Draft, there is a realistic possibility we find ourselves with a 1-2 debate. Robert Griffin is a different QB than Ryan Leaf, but given how frequently Andrew Luck is compared to Peyton Manning, could we see another tough call at the top?
If Griffin, or any of the other draft-eligible quarterbacks emerges as a possible alternative to Andrew Luck, that creates all sorts of havoc at the top of the draft. The Rams and Vikings are likely going to be picking second and third in some order. The Rams have Sam Bradford and the Vikings have Christian Ponder, but if Griffin is there and looking like a great alternative to Andrew Luck, do they a) trade down or b) draft Griffin and potentially deal their previous "QB answer"?
The new rookie cap makes keeping two young quarterbacks an option, but otherwise it creates a whole host of intriguing trade options. Depending on whether Griffin goes pro and where he emerges in draft projections, we could be in for the wildest day one of the draft in many years.
Projected 2012 NFL Draft Top Five Picks
Week 15 Andrew Luck Sweepstakes Schedule
Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts
Cincinnati Bengals @ St. Louis Rams
New Orleans Saints @ Minnesota Vikings