Beginning in Baltimore, the Colts have had a history of great quarterbacks. Johnny Unitas, Jim Harbaugh and Peyton Manning have all been names under center in times of great success for the Colts.
With the end of the Manning era in Indianapolis, Colts fans await the 2012 NFL Draft to reveal the future of their beloved stampede blue and white.
Due to setbacks from Manning’s neck surgery in the months following the 2010 season, the Colts lost the eleven-time Pro Bowl quarterback for 2011. Manning’s absence made it painfully apparent just how blatantly dependent they were on his leadership and ability as a player.
After watching the performances of Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky, the Colts realized they didn’t have a team without Manning. In a decision of preemptive action intended to avoid repeating another 2011 season, the Colts released the 14-year veteran and arguably one of the best ever to play the game.
Due to a 2-14 record, the Colts earned themselves the number one overall pick in this year’s draft. With it, they hope to replace the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft and the player who ultimately led them to the postseason 11 of 13 years as a starter and two Super Bowls.
The rookie will have to live up to the success brought to the Colts organization by number 18, and that man has been narrowed down to be one of two players—Andrew Luck of Stanford or Robert Griffin III of Baylor.
Luck has been all but downright declared the first overall pick by sport analysts all over the country, but the Colts did show interest in Griffin. All the fuss about Griffin refusing to do a private workout for the Colts does not rule him out.
The Heisman Trophy winner released a statement earlier this year in which he said he would not do any private work outs for any team. Griffin believes he has marketed himself sufficiently with the 2011 season at Baylor, the NFL Combine and his own personal Pro day that he held in Waco to which every NFL team was invited.
So if Griffin is indeed a viable option, should he be chosen instead of Luck?
Comparatively, Griffin is faster and according to NFL Films legend Greg Cosell, he has the better throwing ability. The Baylor alumnus ran the second fastest 40-yard dash all-time for quarterbacks losing only to the versatile Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles.
RG3 is also very accurate on the run and can open up the run game with quarterback options. Playing in the AFC he won’t see as much of the tougher run defenses as in the NFC. But could he fit in the Indianapolis’ mercurial no-huddle offense?
Concerning a hurry-up offense, Luck has the upper hand. At Stanford, Luck had the opportunity to work under pressure, and he is recognized to have good play-calling abilities on the line of scrimmage. In this he resembles the former captain of the offense, Manning.
Also, his timing and rhythm will mesh well with Reggie Wayne and the young receiving core in Indianapolis. The Colts won’t be sacrificing mobility by taking Luck either. Granted, it won’t be a 4.41 40-yard dash but a sub 4.6 time should get the job done and is still faster than Manning’s 4.8 in 1998.
Luck is simply better suited to play in Indianapolis. RG3 may look better on paper, but Luck is the more Payton Manning-like of the two. If there was anything to be learned from the Colts’ horrendous season, it’s that they need a Manning-like quarterback and that will be Luck.
The Colts have two great options at quarterback this April, and it has already all but been decided. After a devastating season in 2011, it’s only up from 2-15. All they need is a little Luck.