Andrew Luck has been penciled in as the top pick in the 2012 NFL draft since the day he announced he wouldn’t enter the 2011 NFL draft. But that doesn’t mean every personnel evaluator sees Luck as college football’s top pro prospect.
Robert Griffin III, the Baylor quarterback who beat out Luck for the Heisman Trophy, has so much promise that one NFL personnel director told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that there are people around the league who prefer Griffin to Luck. Schefter spoke to two other personnel directors, one who described Griffin as a surefire first-round pick, and another who said he’ll go in the Top 15.
It’s easy to see why scouts would fall in love with Griffin: His passing numbers are ridiculous, with a 72.4 percent completion rate, an average of 10.4 yards a pass, and 36 touchdowns to only six interceptions. And there’s never been a quarterback who has Griffin’s athleticism: If he had decided to focus on track and field instead of football, he’d probably be on the U.S. Olympic team as a hurdler. Griffin enrolled at Baylor during the spring semester after graduating high school early, and at age 17 he won the 400-meter hurdles at the Big 12 Conference Championship.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that Griffin will be the first pick in the 2012 draft. What other personnel directors think doesn’t matter, as far as who goes first overall. What matters is what the Colts think, and all indications are that the Colts think Luck is the logical successor to Peyton Manning. And it’s also not even clear that Griffin will enter the 2012 draft. He says he hasn’t made up his mind yet.
But when Griffin does enter the NFL draft, he’s going to be a very high pick. And he might just be the best future pro of anyone currently playing college football.