April 26, 2012
No surprise: Luck goes firstRedskins follow by drafting Griffin III
By JOHN KRYK, QMI Agency
NEW YORK - Some NFL teams have all the luck.
Such as the Indianapolis Colts, who sucked for only one season -- but now have Andrew Luck.
That is, another potential Hall of Fame quarterback.
The Colts officially replaced longtime legend Peyton Manning with Luck, the most fawned-over player to come out of the NCAA ranks in years.
Exactly two minutes and 28 seconds after the start of the NFL draft at Radio City Music Hall Thursday, and to the surprise of precisely nobody, the Colts selected Luck with the No. 1 pick.
Indianapolis got the pick for finishing 2-14 last season without the injured Manning, who's now a Denver Bronco.
It has been a foregone conclusion for months that the Colts would take Luck with the No. 1 draft pick.
"It's all very exciting," Luck said immediately afterward.
The remainder of the 32 first-round selections are coming tonight in approximately 10-minute intervals; teams are "on the clock" for 10 minutes following the previous selection.
The Washington Redskins were no less certain to select with their No. 2 overall pick Robert Griffin III, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Baylor University, and did.
Upon commissioner Roger Goodell's announcement of Griffin, the fans in attendance exploded in celebration, chanting his nickname, "RG3! RG3! RG3!..."
Of course, they did that minutes earlier when Luck was announced, too.
Rumours that any number of blockbuster trades might be in the works affecting the remainder of the first round poured into Twitter all day from respected NFL writers. Just the one blockbuster had been announced by showtime -- Minnesota swapping picks with Cleveland at 3-4 overall, for the Browns' fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round selections in this draft.
Only the first round is held tonight. Rounds 2 and 3 go Friday night, and Rounds 4-7 go Saturday afternoon and early evening. In all, 253 former collegiate players will be selected.
What does Luck bring to the Colts? Plenty.
At Stanford University, he was a standout in a pro-style offence for nearly four seasons.
Luck's first head coach at Stanford was Jim Harbaugh, now the San Francisco 49ers head coach. And his last head coach, David Shaw, earlier this year said Luck made more play calls at the line of scrimmage in college than most QBs are ever allowed to do in the NFL.
He's tall (6-foot-4), strong (235 pounds), uncannily accurate, can make all the throws, works tirelessly, is a coach's son and -- yeah, all that and more.
Former Ravens head coach Brian Billick is one of many observers who say Luck is the best QB prospect to come out of the college ranks since another Stanford product in 1983.
"I think Andrew Luck has more credentials, and fewer questions about him, than anybody since John Elway," Billick says. "Now, it's got to come together (for him). But I think this guy's the real deal."
There have been murmurs that Luck lacks the strong arm needed to make some of the hard throws -- not just deep ones -- required of an NFL quarterback.
"His arm strength is plenty good," Billick says in disagreement. "And he's going to mature. He's going to grow still in that arm strength."
Griffin was a dual-threat QB in Baylor University's spread offence. He is said to have a better arm, and better playmaking ability as a passer, than the quarterbacks he is so often compared to -- Michael Vick and Cam Newton.
The Redskins think so much of "RG3" that in early March they sent their 2013 and 2014 first-round picks, plus their 2012 second-rounder, to the St. Louis Rams -- just to move up four spots in the first round. St. Louis is to pick sixth.
A report last week cited anonymous league sources who claimed Griffin is a selfish player who shouldn't be rated so high. But the Redskins brass, to a man, were sold on the 6-foot-2-3/8, 220-pounder.
Last month, everyone of any consequence on the Redskins club -- from owner Daniel Snyder, to GM Bruce Allen to head coach Mike Shanahan -- wined and dined Griffith and his family in Waco, Texas. A week later, Shanahan told reporters at the NFL annual meeting that Griffin's character was first rate.
"He's over the top. He's a great guy, with great parents. I had a chance to spend a couple hours with his parents. You know where he gets it. He's everything you look for in a person. And obviously you look at film, and like what you see on film.
"We all know that from the collegiate level to the pro level there are growing pains. Every quarterback goes through it. But he's got such a big upside."
Thousands of fans descended on Radio City Music Hall Wednesday, lining the building and many waiting all day to score one of more than 2,000 free wristbands to attend Day 1. The NFL handed out the wristbands Wednesday at 11 p.m. local time, according to one fan.
On Thursday afternoon, dozens of fans wearing jerseys and/or hats from just about every NFL team -- mostly teens and twentysomething males, it appeared -- waited for hours in the sun, and eventually rain, in hopes of getting stand-by tickets.