Elway. Manning. Luck.
Three quarterbacks who at the end of April 2012 will be able to say they were selected first overall in the NFL draft by the Colts.
That’s providing Stanford University redshirt junior Andrew Luck is called out as the first pick on draft night in New York.
The Indianapolis Colts have the first selection after finishing the season with a 2-13 record (.539), partly due to the fact that their superstar QB Peyton Manning was on the sidelines for the entire season recovering from a neck injury.
Manning’s injury and recovery from will play a major factor in Colts owner Jim Irsay’s selection of the 6’4” Luck. Irsay has started to take back his team. Irsay, whose father Bob traded Hall of Famer John Elway in 1983, sacked Vice Chairman Bill Polian (the architect behind the Colts’ 11 playoff appearances) and his son Chris who held the roles of Vice President and General Manager, a day after the Colts final game of the season.
Fifteen years after selecting Elway, Manning came along. Now fourteen years on, Irsay intends to draft his QB for the next decade plus.
That QB, that field general, is Luck.
Andrew Luck leaves college life with an extremely impressive resume including being the runner-up in the Heisman Trophy twice (becoming the fourth player to do so), being a Freshman All-American and First Team All-American and holding Stanford’s most TDs in a single season with 37 in 2011.
Luck has the impressive play calling ability, the smarts and demeanour, arm strength, poise and pocket awareness. Further, he has the hype.
The buzz surrounding Luck is akin to that attached to NBA superstar LeBron James. Many recruiters and insiders believe Luck is the best QB prospect since Elway.
Luck has the mechanics that continue to improve as he gains experience. Similar to Drew Bledsoe in patting the ball prior to delivery, Luck has displayed vast improvement in his ball placement from the 2009 and 2010 seasons and yet there is greater room to develop.
What’s more is that Luck’s physical strengths are equalled by his mental toughness. Luck is an intelligent, driven young man that takes well to coaching. A leader on and off the field, Luck is a natural winner and most of all he knows what has to be done to be a successful QB in the NFL.
Luck’s game has been honed under the tutelage of Jim Harbaugh, David Shaw and Pep Hamilton, all former NFL coaches.
Luck is the complete package. Go get the film of his final game for Stanford and you will see him carving up the Oklahoma State defense completing 27 of 31 passes (nearly 90 percent) for 347 yards and two TDs.
What makes Luck’s stats and abilities looks and sound even better is that he doesn’t have the strongest supporting cast around him (unlike projected number two pick Robert Griffin III), with the exception of TE senior Coby Fleener who finished the season with 10 TDs and is also a strong prospect in the draft.
The 2012 NFL draft will be held on 26-28 April at the Radio City Music Hall in New York, NY.
The selection order for the all-important and much-anticipated first round will be as follows:
1. Indianapolis Colts
2. St Louis Rams
3. Minnesota Vikings
4. Cleveland Browns
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6. Washington Redskins
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
8-9. Carolina Panthers & Miami Dolphins *
10. Buffalo Bills
11-12. Kansas City Chiefs & Seattle Seahawks *
13. Arizona Cardinals
14. Dallas Cowboys
15. Philadelphia Eagles
16. New York Jets
17. Oakland Raiders (traded to Cincinnati Bengals
18. San Diego Chargers
19. Chicago Bears
20. Tennessee Titans
21-24. Wildcard game losers
25-28. Divisional round game losers
29-30. Conference championship game losers
31. Super Bowl game loser
32. Super Bowl champion
* A coin toss will be held at the NFL combine (February 2012) to determine selection order.