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.