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NFL Mock Draft 2012: Andrew Luck Vs. Robert Griffin III And The Misconception Of Athleticism

Since the 2011 NFL Draft wrapped up, all the talk at the top of 2012 NFL Draft boards has been that Andrew Luck is the next great QB and as close to a sure thing as we will find. He has been locked in at the number one position all season long and is reflected accordingly in any mock draft you can find.

Naturally, such consistency bores some people. With a strong close to the 2011 college football season, Baylor QB Robert Griffin III has become the new flavor of the month. That is not to say RG3 will not find success in the NFL or that he will never have more success than Andrew Luck. We can speculate all day long about the two quarterbacks, but until they hit the field at the next level, it is nothing more than speculation.

However, there are newspapers to sell and page views to garner, so people will look for any and all stories they can come up with to fill the time between now and late April. Jemele Hill has thrown her hat in that ring with her latest article in which she suggests the Colts best scenario is actually drafting Griffin over Luck with the number one pick. She points to several reasons for selecting RG3 over Luck:

  • Luck is more polished and ready to start, but if Manning is good to go, it makes more sense to bring in Griffin who could reap a greater benefit from sitting behind Manning a'la Aaron Rodgers
  • Robert Griffin has crazy upside with his athleticism and accuracy and Cam Newton proves athletic QBs can be great

Griffin is a more athletic quarterback than Andrew Luck. There is no denying that. However, I have noticed more and more frequently that talking heads do not seem to sufficiently acknowledge Luck's athleticism. He is not a speedster, but he is much more athletic than some of the more traditional pocket passers in the NFL.

When it comes to scrambling skills, he seems like a better version of Alex Smith. People dog Alex Smith all the time, but they easily overlook his ability to scramble with the ball. Smith came out of the Urban Meyer offense that developed Tim Tebow and was a great scrambler in college.

Luck is a bit bigger than Alex Smith, but he also seems to be more open to showing off his athletic abilities. The most obvious example was his one-handed catch against UCLA. Another great example is his 58-yard run against Cal in the 2010 Big Game. He shows his maneuverability while also showing an ability to absolutely truck a defender.

Luck is known primarily for his arm and his brain, but his athleticism is easily overlooked. It is easy to get sucked in by what is working right now in the NFL. As we see with Hill's article, Cam Newton is one of the hot topics in the NFL, and rightfully so given his monster rookie year. However, it seems like Hill feels the need to fit Griffin into the Newton box in order to help justify picking him ahead of Luck.