April 8, 2012
2012 NFL Draft: Comparing Robert Griffin and Andrew Luck
Prior to the 2011 NCAA season, Andrew Luck was the consensus best player in the draft. Luck didn’t win the Heisman Trophy, though. Robert Griffin did.
And as of late, Griffin has been receiving plenty of hype for the No. 1 pick. Many claim that Griffin is the more talented quarterback and more deserving to be first selection of the draft.
Most draft analysts still have Luck atop their draft boards, but are they wrong? Is Luck a product of hype and reputation? Is Robert Griffin the superior prospect?
The answer to all of the above is an absolute, resounding no.
Some analysts have fallen in love with Griffin’s physical ability. And rightfully so. Griffin is a tremendous talent, with track-star speed and superb arm strength.
As you may have heard, though, there is more to playing quarterback than physical skill.
For starters, there is Griffin’s size. At nearly 6’2 1/2″, Griffin isn’t short, but he isn’t tall either. Sure a quarterback can survive without being 6’4″—Aaron Rodgers definitely has—but it’s not ideal.
Unlike Rodgers, Griffin doesn’t throw from a high arm angle. Griffin’s release point is much lower than is ideal, and batted down passes are a big concern.
Luck, on the other hand, is 6’4″. He throws from a high arm slot, and batted down passes have never been an issue.
Then there’s the issue of pocket presence. When he is faced with pressure, Griffin often drops his eyes and looks uncomfortable. Instead of looking downfield for the open receiver, Griffin looks to run far too often.
That’s not to say Griffin doesn’t try to pass first, but he doesn’t do a great job of dealing with the pass rush.
Luck isn’t as mobile as Griffin is, but he’s much more comfortable moving in the pocket. The Stanford quarterback’s eyes are always looking for an open target, and he is constantly looking to advance the play through the air.
The biggest factor in Luck’s favor is intelligence. Griffin is smart. He didn’t make many bad decisions at Baylor, and he can learn an NFL playbook.
But he is not on the same level as Luck is.
At Stanford, Luck not only ran an NFL offense, but ran a complicated one. Luck would have three possible play calls in mind at the line of scrimmage, and he would call the play based on what he saw.
That is Peyton Manning-esque.
Now, none of this is to say Griffin isn’t a great prospect and isn’t better than Luck at anything. He is. I
Griffin is the much better runner of the two, and his deep ball is vastly superior to Luck’s. Griffin even utilizes better footwork, getting better velocity on the football.
Griffin has an incredibly quick release. He jukes defenders out of his shoes and outruns the guys still standing. He makes jaw-dropping passes under duress.
From a tools perspective, Griffin is the better talent. In most drafts, he would be the No. 1 pick.
In 2012, though, there is Andrew Luck. And no quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning could compete with Luck.
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