Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Robert Griffin III. Could he really be picked ahead of Andrew Luck?

It sounds crazy.  We've talked about Andrew Luck as the second-coming of Peyton Manning for almost two years now.  Everyone has said that he is a sure-thing.  Can't miss.  He's like the steady locomotive that you see coming from miles away.  Griffin, on the other hand, had a meteoric rise to stardom.  He initially made headlines in the first few weeks of the season for having fewer incompletions than touchdowns, and he eventually won the Heisman trophy over, you guessed it, Andrew Luck.

Griffin's like a fighter jet that you saw for a split second.  Was it really even a fighter jet?

As I highlighted back in December, I believe both these guys will be great NFL quarterbacks.  Just how great they will be relies on their response to arguably the hardest transition in all of sports, from college football to the pro game.

Colts fans everywhere are debating--is Andrew Luck really a sure thing?  Is RGIII the next Mike Vick or Vince Young?

The answers: No and Neither

First, in the NFL draft, there is no such prospect as a "sure thing."  There's just no telling how the speed of the pro game can affect any player, especially a quarterback.  Tim Couch was given the "sure thing" label.  So was Jeff George.  And the problem is that we throw around that label way too much.  Yes, there's about a 60% chance that Andrew Luck will be a great QB.  At the same token, it's ridiculous for people to be saying that he's already a sure thing, or go one step further as Art Vandelay did and call him "the greatest of all-time."

Second, RGIII isn't Michael Vick or Vince Young.  He's not Akili Smith or Donovan Mcnabb.  In college, Vince Young completed 65.2% of his passes on 9.3 yards/attempt.  Michael Vick--54% on 7.7 yards/attempt.  Akili Smith?  58% on 10.1 yards/attempt.  And finally, Donovan McNabb?  60.9% on 8.3 yards/attempt.  RGIII, on the other hand, completed 72.4% of his passes on 10.7 yards/attempt.  Andrew Luck is not far behind, with a 71.3% completion percentage on 8.7 yards/attempt.  And, in fact, the closest pro quarterback statistically to Robert Griffin is Philip Rivers, who turned out pretty well.  So let's stop comparing him to mediocre black quarterbacks, simply because he's black.

Statistically speaking, Robert Griffin was more impressive than Andrew Luck last year.  Both had great seasons, but Griffin's was better, and he was awarded the Heisman trophy for it.

Now back to our original question, could the Colts even possibly consider picking RGIII over Andrew Luck?  Yes and No.

Yes, because he's smart, electrifying, seems to have great character, put together one of the greatest seasons ever by a college quarterback last season, and he is such a raw talent.  Who knows what level he could be playing on in five years?

No, because they have to take Andrew Luck.  If they do decide to roll the dice, and RGIII doesn't pan out, the Colts will be ripped apart for it.  But if they take Andrew Luck, and he doesn't pan out, people will still be able to defend the Colts for picking him.

It's a stupid reason to have to pick someone, and I've made it clear that I think Griffin is the better of the two, but in the end, the Colts have to do it to avoid risk--risk of losing their jobs and their livelihood.  After all, the NFL is a business first, and the first rule of business is to minimize risk.  Griffin is the riskier selection, but he could also easily be the better one.

I'm glad the Redskins are sitting at number 2 overall, because we have a penchant for screwing things like this up.  With the Colts making the choice, we are free to take the second of these two franchise quarterbacks, and whoever that is, I have a feeling he will be the more successful of the two.

1 comment:

  1. Well I just about had to comment on this after being singled out...a couple things...

    1. Good to see you's been too long and this is very well written

    2. I never said that Mr. Luck is the greatest of all time already, but I did put him on the list of people who have the potential to enter my top ten list, which I admitted is bold considering he hasn't played a down. But if I had to do it again, the only change I would make would be to also put Robert Griffin III on that list, because just from the eye test and what they did in college, I just don't see why it's out of the question to consider him and Luck and Cam Newton to have that kind of potential.

    3. The Colts won't take Luck to avoid risk. If they do, they shouldn't have their jobs. Yes, if they pick RGIII and he busts they'll get fired, but if they pick Luck and he busts they'll also get fired.

    4. The Colts won't be picking Luck because he's less risky, they'll be picking him because he's better. I love RGIII, as my most recent post explains, but in my opinion Luck is just on a different level from any college quarterback I've ever seen. Sure, they look pretty similar when you line up the stats, and they look pretty similar when they're throwing in gym shorts at their pro days, but Luck has an understanding of the game that is just extremely rare for someone his age. He has all the same potential that Griffin does, but he's miles ahead in terms of pro-readiness. Luck should have won the Heisman over Griffin because on top of his incredible stats he was Stanford's offensive coordinator. He was given a couple of options from coach Shaw, and he called the play based on the coverage. Andrew Luck was for Stanford this year what Peyton Manning has always been for the Colts. Griffin is going to be great, but Luck is special.