Robert Griffin III ; Baylor University ; 6ft2 ; 220lbs
RG3 won the 2011 Heisman Trophy. There should be almost no need to elaborate on the greatness of this 2012 NFL Draft prospect, but just in case you need further confirmation of his excellence, how about his stats? As a Bear this past year he completed over 70% of his pass attempts, came close to skimming the 4,000 yard passing mark, held an NCAA Quarterback Rating of 192.3 and his ratio of TDs to INTs was 36 to 6, meaning that he threw just 1 interception per every 6 touchdowns! In his entire career at the Texas-based University he completed 66% of all the passes he threw and totaled 77 touchdowns in four years, basially three considering that he had two incomplete seasons as a Bear. He ran for 32 TDs (more than rookie of the year Cam Newton's 24) in his college career while maintaining a successful career in college track.
He's got AP Player of the Year honor to his name, as well as a previously mentioned Heisman trophy with the added prestige of dozens of runner-up prizes and school records, there's a reason RG3 is a top QB prospect heading into this year's draft, especially with several early-round teams in dire need of a new QB. The only man that may stand in his way, preventing him being the first QB drafted this year, is the rocket arm from Stanford, Andrew Luck.
Andrew Luck ; Stanford University ; 6ft4 ; 245lbs
Yes sir, he won the Maxwell Award as well as the Walter Camp Award in 2011. While both are seen as a less prestigious and less accurate representation of the best NCAA player than the Heisman trophy, won by RG3, these accomplishments are nothing to overlook. Especially when you take into account that he is a two-time, two-time Heisman runner-up in 2010 and 2011. The man could have gone into the draft last year and may have been drafted higher than Cam Newton for all we know, but he stayed and has only built on his resume this year, tossing the pigskin 3,500 yards down the field for 37 TDs, edging RG3 in that particular category. He too possesed a completion percentage that eclipsed 70%, and did so with more passing attempts than RG3. In some categories, he exceeds Griffin, in others he falls short. One thing RG3 really can't touch is Luck's 82 passing TDs in 3 years. RG3 had at least half a season more than Luck in total playing time and still fell short 5 TDs. Luck isn't the half the runner that RG3 is, but that hasn't stopped his success.
With honors like the Johnny U Golden Arm Award on top of his Maxwell and Walter Camp award, his success mirrors that of Griffin's. The two play very different ball in many cases, but they both do one thing right. They succeed at the game of of football!
I know it's been asked before, but I wasn't around to see the results, so I then beg the question, if you were The Colts, or The Vikings, or whoever makes the decision to draft the first QB, which one of the two shining stars do you pick up? Do you take the speed and dual-threat capabilites of Robert Griffin III, or do you take the focus and pocket presence of Andrew Luck? The Heisman winner or The Maxwell winner? And you can't say neither, that's a cop out!
I find that the interesting thing about the situation is that neither are national champions. It adds more interest to the battle. Had Stanfor or Baylor actually won a national champion, it would make the decision easier but since they were both national title-less, it keeps them at odds, and has sent NFL Network and ESPN into a frezy! It's an interesting battle, one of the best rookie QB conflicts since Manning/Rivers, and I personally, would choose....
.... Andrew Luck. Why? Because not only was he robbed of a Heisman trophy this past year, he may have been robbed the year before. RG3 is a hell of a player, and I can't say I don't think his name will be remembered long after he retires, but Luck has that Manning swag about him. And even though we've seen dudes like Tim Tebow and Cam Newton come in and revolutionize the quarterback system to make it more scramble-friendly, I'm not buying into the hype. I'll put money on a pocket passer any day of the week. There's a reason that people talked about Favre, are talking about Rodgers, and will be talking about Stafford. Cause these boys can throw the football. They come to work and they do their job. It may not always be the flashiest thing but the Quarterback's job in the NFL is to throw the ball down the field. Not run it.
I respect what Tebow and Newton and even Griffin do, but who believes that Donovan McNabb is better than Tom Brady? Not a single damn person. And although they're picking up steam with their running abilities and 'unpredictableness', outside linebackers will start to pick up on that. They'll become more attentive. They'll keep their eyes on them and they'll start shutting them down. And regardless, these two men are playing for mediocre teams, in mostly mediocre divisions. Tebow came into a losing team, ready to do whatever it took to win, and had success for several reasons. Because he was unrestricted. There was no time to think about things, they needed to get out and do stuff. And also because the Chiefs' defense is awful, the Raiders' defense is poor, and The Chargers' defense is dwindling.
He went unopposed and having him run it was convenient for the Broncos because they didn't have much else of a choice. The same goes for the Panthers. They have had a disappointing series of seasons and quarterbacks, they had to let Cam do what he does against the generally weak defenses of the Saints, Falcons, and Bucs. Who was going to stop him? No one. But even though each man was successful, their team wasn't necessarily successful. Tebow had a starting record of 7-4... that's good but he didn't lead him to a winning record. They broke even at 8-8 and tied with two very poor teams in the Chiefs and Chargers. Hardly a success in my opinion. They got into the playoffs based off of 60% luck.
Then there's the Panthers. Cam Newton may have ended the season with an AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award, but his team ended the season with a record of 6-10, ranked third in the NFC South, ending almost as bad as The Bucaneers!.... The Bucaneers! Being a scrambling Quarterback just seems selfish when you look at these stats. Your running backs, who make money off of running the ball, get less snaps and begin to be overshadowed by you. Then your recievers get less catches, also. And though your stock rises, somehow the team itself seems to suffer. Not to mention, the lifespan of an NFL QB's career seems shorter when they like to run.
Look at Kordell Stewart, Michael Vick, and Daunte Culpepper. Vick is still in the mix but he's far from his prime. He's fallen off the wagon and become obsolete. Drew Brees was drafted the same year. The difference between the two is that Brees likes to pass, Vick likes to run. The other difference is that Brees is still breaking records, and Vick is on his last legs. And yet another difference is that Brees has several winning seasons.. and a Super Bowl ring. Vick has had a couple of seasons over 50%..
And I know situations are different from player to player, and RG3 won't mirror McNabb, and Luck won't mirror Brady, but if we're looking at tendencies and situations throughout history, this is just the way it is.
So, I'm going to go with the safe bet. The guy who gives me more opportunities as success as a unit, and the guy who will stick around for a much longer time because he doesn't put his body on the line, doing a job that half backs are meant to do. Luck will stick in that pocket until there's no other alternative and he'll make those around him look good, as long as they can support him, and allow him to do his best. Coming out, RG3 might be the rookie sensation, but five years in, I'm betting that Luck is the one being considered for MVP honors, and playing in Pro Bowls, while Griffin is still trying to highlight his way to fame. I'm not saying RG3 will have a bad career by any stretch, I think he'll do awesome on the right team, I'm just saying Andrew Luck is more likely to enjoy success over a long period of time, and enjoy higher passing stats, and probably, better records for his team. Luck is a textbook example of a threat at the QB position. RG3 will keep the defenses guessing, but coordinators in this league are smart enough to pick up on running tendencies. That's the whole reason the league is becoming a passing league. Runs become predictable and start to get shut down. Passes can go anywhere, at any time. They can be high, low, slow, fast, over the top, or threading the needle.
I just hope and pray that we don't get a repeat of the Vince Young/Matt Leinhart class...
Sorry to be so longwinded, but I needed to try to get my point across the best I could. So, now it's your turn to sound off on who you would draft, idealistically, if you had to start a rookie QB.