With their loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts locked up the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The favorite to be chosen first overall over the course of the entire college season has been now former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. Although Luck isn’t incredibly mobile and often takes risks that result in turnovers, his throwing arm is phenomenally strong and jaw-droppingly accurate. For almost two years now, Luck has been the consensus number one pick in the draft and most experts say he will be playing on Sundays for a long, long time.
There is only one problem with the Colts drafting Mr. Andrew Luck come late April: Peyton Manning. That’s all there is to it. Peyton Manning is the face of that franchise and is essentially more than the team. Indianapolis has three options to choose from in this situation. They can draft Andrew Luck first overall in the NFL Draft and sit him on the bench with Manning as the starter. They could also cut Manning (who, by the way, was injured and did not play for the entire 2011 season), draft Luck, and make him the “future of the Colts”. Their final option is insane in most analysts’ opinions, but is worth noting because it could very well happen. The Colts could decide to not draft Andrew Luck and instead draft another elite college talent such as wide receiver Justin Blackmon from Oklahoma State or offensive tackle Matt Kalil from USC. Or they could just panic and trade away the first overall pick.
Manning’s injury only adds intrigue to the whole situation. Will he be healthy? If he is healthy, will he stay that way? Some experts are extremely skeptical as to whether or not Manning will be able to recover from an injury that kept him out for a whole season at the age of 35. Nobody is really sure what the Colts management is planning to do, but the overwhelming belief is that Andrew Luck will be donning a blue and white uniform next season.
Prior to the 2011-12 college football season, Andrew Luck was the favorite to win the Heisman trophy for two reasons. One, he has incredible talent, which was clearly displayed in his 2010 sophomore season. Secondly, there were no other really attractive options to jump out before the season. And for those reasons, Luck had practically won the trophy before the season ever started. Then came RG3. Robert Griffin III, starting quarterback at Baylor University. A dual threat quarterback who shows incredible poise and draws comparisons to the likes of Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL. The inclusion of Griffin III to the 2012 NFL draft adds even a little more intrigue to what the Colts may do with that first overall pick.
Since Luck had all the media focused on himself, RG3 and other QB’s had little to no attention being paid on them. But by mid-season, people were beginning to shed at least a little light on a few other quarterbacks due to the fact that Luck had unimpressive statistics. Coming down the stretch, Luck wasn’t even close to having a stranglehold on the Heisman trophy race, and the door began to open up a little wider for other players.
Backing up a bit, nowadays, it is widely known that to win the Heisman trophy, a player must have a “Heisman moment” that lifts their repertoire tremendously. A Heisman moment is basically a signature play in which a select player takes charge of a game and leads his team to victory, usually late in a game against a highly ranked opponent. For RG3, that moment came against #5 Oklahoma in week 12. With less than twenty seconds to go, Griffin III got the snap, rolled to his right and chucked a beautiful pass downfield to wide receiver Terrance Williams in the endzone for a game-winning, 34 yard touchdown. That play vaulted RG3 among the leaders in the Heisman trophy race.
Now that Robert Griffin III had had his say in the Heisman trophy race, what about ol’ Andrew Luck? The fact of the matter is, Andrew Luck lacked that one signature moment to lock up the Heisman and any doubt about being taken first overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. And now, after RG3 won the Trophy, Luck is a two-time runner-up in the Heisman balloting and some experts are wondering if the Colts should go down another path with the first pick. Whichever option the Indianapolis Colts choose, they have to be thinking, how do you go wrong with Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck?