The No.1 pick in the 2012 draft is still up for grabs, with multiple teams still in the hunt. Regardless of whoever owns the first pick, it can be said the team that ends up with the first choice will draft a quarterback, with the top two prospects at that position being Andrew Luck out of Stanford and Robert Griffin III out of Baylor.
Luck has been heralded as the best, most NFL-ready prospect since John Elway. Everything about Andrew Luck says prototypical pocket passer, a role he plays extremely well. He is very intelligent and has shown that he can handle a pro playbook. Luck is also very accurate, and technique wise, is fundamentally sound.
I disagree with Phil Simms and others who think that Luck’s arm strength is a concern. Although he may not have the strongest arm out there, Luck can make all the throws and make them accurately. Arm strength is overrated—the percentage of plays in games that call for deep throws is relatively small—and I would rather have an accurate QB who can make the short and immediate throws consistently rather than the guy who can throw it deep.
Griffin, on the other hand, has great arm strength, is accurate in the pocket and on the run and is extremely mobile. Areas where he could improve include decision making, learning to read defenses and commanding the game at the line of scrimmage.
RG3 is very polished for a player of his style, since usually running quarterbacks in college require some learning and adjustment time for the pro game.
Luck’s 2011 stats: 70%, 3,170 YD, 35 TD, 9 INT, 167.5 QB rating, 12 games played
Career: 9,083 YD, 80 TD, 21 INT, 161.8 QB rating, 37 games played
Griffin’s 2011 stats: 72.4%, 3,998 YD, 36 TD, 6 INT, 192.3 QB rating, 12 games played
Career: 10,071 YD, 77 TD, 17 INT, 158.9 QB rating, 40 games played
Besides being the best quarterbacks available, these two young men also represent a changing standard in the NFL. The game is slowly starting to move away from the traditional pocket passer of the Manning and Brady era, to guys like Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers and yes, Tim Tebow, who can make plays both through the air and on the ground.
Luck is one of the best prospects ever, and it will be a long time before we ever see a quarterback of his caliber come to the NFL again, but he represents the high watermark of the pocket passer.
Fans will continue to see more and more dual-threat quarterbacks come into the league, and Robert Griffin could end up being the face of a new era. With his electrifying speed and polished passing skills, there is a good chance that RG3 could have an even better rookie season than the historic one Cam Newton just had.
Between Luck and Griffin, I don’t think you could go wrong with either player. They are both ready to play immediately in the NFL, but while Griffin has more upside, Andrew Luck is the closest thing to a sure bet in the No.1 draft spot.