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Draft Blog Picks 1-8 Round One

April 26, 2012

A couple things: First make sure you refresh the page regularly as I’ll be editing and updating the same blog from picks 1-8 then picks 9-16 then picks 17-24, then 25-32 so refresh regularly. Second the final assessments of players are copy and pasted from my draft rankings so don’t expect new info on them if you’ve read them already. Third the gain/loss section is based on the actual pick vs. how he was ranked on my board. If the player goes at the same ranking he gets a zero, if he goes earlier than I had him ranked (went 10th I had him ranked 15th) then he gets a negative number (-5), and if he goes later than I ranked him then he gets a positive number. Positive is good, negative is bad.

 

 

Team: Miami Dolphins

Pick: 8th (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): QB, WR, RT, 3-4 OLB

Player: Ryan Tannehill

Jon’s Final Assessment: Ryan’s type has been seen before. He’s a short term starting QB in college who lacks experience and elite production. Yet he makes up for it with an elite combination of physical tools, good character, a solid understanding of the game, and at times there were glimpses of him playing at an elite level that makes people project with him. He’s a combination of Jake Locker and Mark Sanchez in that he lacks a lot of starting experience at QB (Sanchez) yet has the athleticism and character that makes scouts drool over his potential (Locker). He’s the only player in FBS history to have a 400 yd passing game and a 200 yd receiving game showing that he didn’t just play QB and WR, he was a very good QB and WR. I was on the forefront of the Tannehill wave as I had a 2nd-3rd round grade on him last year but said 14 months ago, “it wouldn’t surprise me if he moved up into the mid 1st round by the 2012 draft.” That was a pretty big leap of faith for a guy who had only 6 career starts at QB to that point and was rated as a mid round pick by most outlets but I saw his physical skills and considered them 1st round caliber. The best thing about him though is his character and his football intelligence as there are a lot of tall, fast, strong armed guys but few who have Ryan’s work ethic and even fewer who have his game knowledge. Regularly this year I saw him look off safeties, make very nice play action ball fakes, throw the ball away when no one was open, and complete back shoulder throws against tight coverage. Those aren’t things you usually see in 1st year full time starters yet they were common occurrences. Outside of Luck and Kellen Moore, who is in a league of his own in the category, Tannehill is one of the smartest QBs in this draft and plays the game at a much more cerebral level than most. He also excites me due to his rare athleticism as I think he would have ran a 4.5 or 4.6 40 at the Combine and worked out very well as he showed a nice blend of athleticism as a WR in his early years and he occasionally showed it off at QB with long TD runs. He will fit in well with the new era of QBs like Tebow, Newton, Luck, and Griffen and is right in the mix with all of them in terms of size/speed/strength ratios. Yet while I love his character, athleticism, intelligence, work ethic, and strong arm I do have concerns about him. He’s accurate as a passer but is very streaky and there were a few times (Oklahoma St., Arkansas, Texas) where he lost the strike zone (always in the 2nd half) and would go into stretches where he almost couldn’t complete a pass. That’s extremely scary to me as Sherman was fired for his team’s choke jobs but he wasn’t the one throwing the passes and it often seemed like Tannehill just shut down at times for his team. Especially in the Oklahoma St. and Texas games he went into a black hole and never came out of it. I think that it’s unfair to put all of the blame of A&M’s 6 losses on Tannehill’s back but it’s also naïve to say he wasn’t a big part of it. I also am wary of his small hands and it’s a big deal considering he’s being advertised as an elite athlete who is worth waiting for development wise. He has 9 inch hands (smallest among the 19 QBs at the Combine this year) and while there are a lot of measurements scouts throw out there that I often dismiss, hand size isn’t one of them when we are discussing QBs and RBs as it’s a very good indicator of future success. Small handed players fumble the ball much more often than bigger handed players. It’s as simple as that and history proves it over and over again (Culpepper, Romo, Vick vs. big hands like Aikman and McNabb) yet it also means a QB will have a harder time throwing a ball in wet conditions as well as have a harder time throwing the deep ball. Tannehill has 10 career fumbles (4 in 2011) which is a pretty high number for a guy who didn’t play that much for part of his career. He also struggles throwing the deep ball as he lacks timing on it and I suspect he will be mainly a short to intermediate passer in the pros. His small hands aren’t a deathblow by any means but they are a red flag and combines with his streaky accuracy, questionable deep throw ability, and lack of experience to make me pause before giving him a top level grade. In the end he gets the grade I thought was possible 14 months ago as a mid 1st rounder as he has some warts but is a similar player to Jake Locker who went in the Top 10 last year. He might take a little while to develop into a starter but his height, speed, arm strength, accuracy (inconsistent but usually very good), work ethic, character, and understanding of the game make him a high ceilinged future starter albeit one who has some warts and lacks experience. Top 20 3/14/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

22

19

22

4

-14

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: A pretty big reach in my opinion but I do think he’s more talented than Jake Locker who was taken at the same spot last year so it’s not nearly as big of a reach as Locker, Gabbert, or Ponder last year. QB’s get taken earlier than they deserve to be but I even had Osweiler ahead of Ryan so not the biggest fan.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: Man I watched that guy suck in so many games in the 4th Quarter last year. Bad pick.

 

 

Team: TampaBay Bucs

Pick: 7th (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): WR, RB, LB, CB

Player: Mark Barron

Jon’s Final Assessment: Barron is that rare player who has been the best at his position for multiple years before going pro. That consistency is probably the thing I like the most about him as I graded him as a 2nd rounder in ’09 and a 1st rounder in ’10 and ’11. He’s a guy who has no weaknesses as he’s good against the run, good in man coverage, good in zone coverage, has good instincts, has good ball skills, is a big hitter, is a leader, and is a professional. Unfortunately he lacks the elite speed of an Eric Berry or the elite size/speed ratio of a Sean Taylor so he isn’t deserving of a top 10 grade and he might settle into a career as only a very good starter. Yet he still gets a very high grade by me b/c he’s the rare player that has no holes and will be a 12 year starter for someone at a very high level. Their frames aren’t very similar but he reminds me of Darren Woodson in the way he leads his teammates and carries himself on and off the field with the comparison making even more sense as Woodson was never the best in the NFL at his position but a very good one for a long time. Mark should make a Pro Bowl or two but when comparing him to previous top safeties he comes up a bit short. I question whether he ever becomes a star but some team will take him in the first 15-25 picks and be happy with him as they can play him at SS or FS and watch him make plays for the next decade. A borderline star at a non-value position gives him a Top 20 grade as my #1 S 3/20/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

19

7

10

19

-12

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: A good but slightly overrated safety who I think fits their scheme perfectly so I do like the pick though I wonder if he would have been there if they had traded down to #10-12.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: Huh guess Barron wasn’t going to make it to #14 after all for us.

Team: Dallas Cowboys

Pick: 6th (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): S, 3-4 OLB, C, DT, #3 WR

Player: Morris Claiborne

Jon’s Final Assessment: Claiborne is a guy I’ve known well the past 2 years but had to grown on me a bit as I didn’t see the elite straight line speed or quickness I prefer in my CBs. Eventually though he won me over with his elite technique, good height, and elite ball skills as he really understands how to play the position and (being a former WR) reads routes well. He is clearly inferior to Darrelle Revis as a player due to his inferior speed (4.50 vs. 4.38), weight (188 vs. 204), explosion (9’10 broad vs. 10’5), and quickness (7.01 3 cone vs. 6.56) yet he reminds me a lot of him as they are great at reading a WR’s routes and reacting to it often times running the route better than the offensive player. Claiborne won’t be the shutdown CB Revis is as he struggles against quick, fast types as seen in his poor game against Stedman Bailey of West Virginia and the 65 yd TD given up to Andre Debose. Yet Claiborne will be a big time playmaker for a team as he has 11 INTs the past two years and not only didn’t cave under the pressure of playing opposite the best CB each of the past two years (Peterson, Mathieu) but thrived with the increased opportunities it provided. He has Pro Bowler written all over him as he should get 5-8 INTs each year but will also have an occasional bad game, unlike Revis. It took me awhile to get comfortable with his mediocre athleticism but I’m finally there and am giving him a top 5 grade as my #1 CB 3/7/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

6

4

5

6

-1

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: Elite ball skills for a CB as he’s a former CB and QB but lacks elite athleticism so I could see a career similar to Asante Samuel where he has a lot of interceptions but also is beat more often than is normal for a top CB prospect. For the Cowboys though I love the trade as it gives Jenkins the door a year from now and adds a true playmaker in the secondary which we haven’t had since…….Deion Sanders?

Drunk Cowboys Fan: Man those LSU cornerbacks are all good aren’t they.

Team: Jacksonville Jaguars

Pick: 5th (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): WR,DE, CB, DE, CB, OG, LB

Player: Justin Blackmon

Jon’s Final Assessment: Justin is a player that flashes big play ability to go along with a good sized frame and a tenacity and competitiveness not often seen in WRs that makes me think of Terrell Owens. Unfortunately he also reminds me of Owens due to his sideline routes and inconsistent hands and comes up short in the comparison when comparing their size/speed. For some reason the scouting community has been led to believe for two straight years that Blackmon is 6’3 220 lbs when in reality he’s more like 6’1 210. That’s a big difference as a 6’1 210 receiver is only slightly above average in size on the NFL level so a WR can’t hang his hat on size and physicality with that frame. Blackmon is an incredibly tenacious wideout yet I wonder how good he’ll look when matched up against CBs nearly his size who are dramatically faster than him. This will often be the case as his speed has always been a bit of a concern for me since he looks like a low 4.5 guy on film. I was comfortable with that at 6’3 220 and still somewhat am at his new height but the more I study him the more I think Blackmon isn’t the star receiver everyone has made him out to be but is really just a good WR who is overhyped. At the end of last year I had him rated just ahead of Julio (who was behind AJ Green by the way) yet when comparing the two it isn’t close as Julio was 6’2 ¾ 220, ran a 4.34 40, had a 38.5 vertical, and had a 6.66  3 cone drill that would have placed him 1st at the 2012 Combine while Blackmon was 6’0 7/8 207, ran a 4.46 40 (adjusted to 4.51 due to track), had a 35 vertical, and had a 7.13 3 cone drill that would have put him near the bottom of performers at the 2012 Combine. Blackmon is an above average athlete at best and it worries me as he’s also coming from a spread system, had a top level QB throwing to him, and seems to have attitude issues. This last part could be the most concerning as he was arrested for a DUI, has had numerous temper tantrums, and there are rumors about his maturity. I still love Blackmon’s production, tenacity, toughness, and think he is a solid route runner with okay speed for his size yet he lacks the elite ball skills and frame of AJ Green, the elite blend of size/speed of Julio Jones, and even the size and short area burst of Michael Floyd. Unfortunately for Blackmon I’ve had a late change of heart after spending more time in the film room and think he’s not only the 4th best WR among those mentioned but isn’t even very close to the others. His only above average height, average hands, below average deep speed, poor quickness, and questionable character drop him out of the Top 10 and puts him on my overrated list. Top 15 as my #2 WR 4/10/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

15

10

7

13

-10

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: Didn’t like him nearly as much as a lot of people but he could be a playmaker and eventually develop into a true #1. Could be the next Michael Crabtree though as he isn’t that fast and has a questionable attitude.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: He killed the Big 12 last year.

Team: Minnesota Vikings

Pick: 4th (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): LT,DE, WR, CB

Player: Matt Kalil

Jon’s Final Assessment: I compare Matt Kalil to only one person, Joe Thomas, as Kalil is the only player I’ve ever graded who came close to Thomas’ feet. The ease which he glides in his sidestep and kick out is so effortless and fluid that rushers can’t get around it wide and it isn’t choppy enough for an opening to be created for an inside rush. The only way you can rush Kalil right now is by bull rushing him and with a frame that makes him look skinny despite holding 306 lbs it’s a temporary flaw that soon will be fixed I’m sure. He’s the rare plug and play LT who I expect to be in Pro Bowl contention as a rookie. His run blocking is only above average, especially in line against DL as he needs to improve his strength and base yet his run blocking at the 2nd level is very impressive so teams could trap and pull on his side of the line allowing him to use more athleticism than strength in his blocks. Whether a team does that or not though doesn’t really matter as his value lies in his elite pass protection skills which are some of the best I’ve ever graded. In the previous 5 drafts only Joe Thomas gets a higher grade than Kalil as Matt fits right in after Thomas and ahead of the Jake Long (2008), Russell Okung (2010), and Eugene Monroe (2009). It’s rare to be able to draft one of the best LTs to come out of college in the past decade yet teams will have that opportunity this year with Matt Kalil. Top 5 and my #1 OT 3/1/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

3

5

3

3

+1

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: Kalil is the best OT I’ve graded since Joe Thomas in 2007. Great pick and to get an extra 5th and 7th while still getting your guy is very smart managing by Spielman.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: Tyron Smith was pretty good this year and couldn’t even beat this kid out at LT. He must be good.

Team: Cleveland Browns

Pick: 3rd (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): RB, WR, RT, CB

Player: Trent Richardson

Jon’s Final Assessment: Richardson is similar to Mark Barron and Peter Konz in that I’ve had them rated as the #1 player at their position the past 2 years. That consistency is impressive at any position let alone running back where injuries are such a part of the game and either knock out players or reduce their effectiveness. When Richardson came out of HS as the #1 RB (#2 on some boards behind Bryce Brown) I loved his game but was worried about the potential for injury with his extremely physical style. Yet after 3 years of college that concern appears to be irrelevant as he only missed 2 games due to injury, despite a workhorse role, and looks the part of a future Pro Bowl RB. He has elite strength and lower body power with the only RB I can compare him to from college being Ricky Williams with his freakish thick thighs. Richardson though could be considered more powerful than even Ricky as he’s shorter and seems to relish the weight room a bit more with Alabama’s trainers forcing him to stop adding weight to his bench press (465 lbs), squats (600 lbs), and power clean (365 lbs). Also unlike Ricky who had great power but a bit of fat on him as well, Richardson is 228 lbs on only 6% body fat. That dedication in the weight room is seen in other parts of his game as he’s an incredibly polished runner with good hands, quick feet, and natural vision to go along with a ferocity and hunger that is rare to see in such a talented back. His overall power as a runner is one of the best I’ve ever graded and is his hallmark as he has the rare ability to break tackles and move the pile against even the best defenders. In the two LSU games this year he went up against a defense full of NFL talent yet even in those matchups it was rare to see him taken down by one defender. He’s a true inside runner that will force defenses to commit defenders in this area and will give his team’s passing game a huge lift as it will open up single coverage for them on the outside. Yet he isn’t just about power as he’s shown good hands and solid speed (the reports that he has run a low 4.4 seem exaggerated both from his game film and his pro day workout as he has good speed but isn’t a burner I at times hear him called) making him a solid pass catcher out of the backfield and will surely be a 3 down back as he’s the best pass blocking RB in this draft. This is a very underrated skill as it often keeps players off the field as rookies and his ability to not just cut a rusher but stay strong and meet him high without being pushed back is elite. Also, while I think his speed is a bit overrated, his quickness is top notch as is his cutting ability with the 57 yd run vs. Auburn being all the proof a scout needs that he can juke defenders in the open field with the best of them. Trent Richardson is that rare specimen that has the speed and quickness to turn the edge and make big runs yet also the power and yards after contact ability to churn out the tough yards and be a beast in the red zone. Add to that his elite work ethic, his leadership skills, and his production the past 3 years for the best program in the nation in the best conference in the nation and you get one of the greatest RBs I’ve ever graded. Richardson’s only red flags are a burst that is only above average, long speed that is below average (plays at a 4.55 type speed), the fact that his bruising style could someday catch up to him and shorten his career, and that he has 3 and 5 year old daughters with another woman who he isn’t married too or even seeing right now. Overall though I have no doubt that Trent will step in and immediately be a Top 5 running back in the NFL as he reminds me of a taller, more athletic Maurice Jones-Drew who I regard as the 2nd best RB in the NFL right now. That’s high praise and deserving as his power is elite, his ball security is elite, his weight room numbers are elite, his production is elite, his quickness is above average, and his burst is above average. He’s the 2nd best RB I’ve graded in my 14 years of grading the NFL Draft just behind Ricky Williams and ahead of Darren McFadden and Adrian Peterson. As you can see the top 3 RBs I’ve ever graded have all been to the Pro Bowl and I expect that to continue with Richardson joining that trio as I think he’ll be ROY and, though he might lack the speed to make the long TD runs like McFadden and Peterson, he could challenge Emmitt Smith as the greatest red zone RB of all time as in the right offense he could score 25-30 TDs in a year. The extremely rare RB who gets a Top 5 Grade from me as my #1 RB in the 2012 NFL Draft 4/6/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

4

3

4

5

-1

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: Perfect fit for the division (cold weather division) and team (lack a great QB) but I do wonder how smart it is to take a RB in the Top 5 when good RBs like Mike Tolbert and Michael Bush were available for such cheap contracts this offseason.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: I heard that guy has a baby momma.

Team: Washington Redskins

Pick: 2nd (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): Fast, big armed QB who has already been in the
process of learning Shanahan’s offense the past month

Player: Robert Griffin III

Jon’s Final Assessment: Unlike most scouts I had a 1st round grade on Griffin most of this year yet even I was caught off guard a bit on how fast he developed. As recently as November I was saying he was a mid to late 1st rounder who was an elite athlete and one of the best I’ve ever graded at throwing the deep ball but still struggled a lot with short and intermediate throws. Yet towards the end of the season everything seemed to click for him and he just dominated talented defenses like Texas and Oklahoma (not going to pretend Tech or Washington has a good D) looking like the most talented player in the country. Don’t get me wrong, I think Robert Griffin the 3rd is the most talented player in this draft yet I have him at #2 because he’s more of a roll of the dice in a lot of ways. At the end of last year Luck was my #1 rated player in the country yet RGIII was a 2nd or 3rd rounder with a lot of promise. At the end of last year Luck was 2nd in the voting for the Heisman Trophy yet Griffin wasn’t even considered as a finalist. At the end of last year Luck was being discussed as the greatest prospect since John Elway yet Griffin wasn’t even making most scouts Top 5 QBs list for next year. Griffin came on strong and at times looked superior to Luck this season but at other times Griffin looked raw and inaccurate. With Luck you know that at worst he’s a top 15 QB down the road yet the floor with Griffin is much lower and to me isn’t worth the slightly higher ceiling it comes with. Griffin has a stronger arm, is faster, is more eloquent and easy going with teammates, seems to have more commercial potential as a spokesman, and throws a better deep ball yet I’ll take Luck. Griffin has a long way to go in terms of reading defenses, is coming from a vertical spread system which accentuated his best throw-no NFL team throws deep as much as Baylor did last year, is inferior at feeling pressure, is less accurate on short routes, and has far more chance of being injury prone than Luck (missed most of ’09 season and had concussion in ’11). It wouldn’t shock me at all if Griffin became a better QB than Luck as he could light the NFL on fire if put in the right scheme with explosive talent at the WR position. Yet Luck has been the more consistent player and has the much higher floor so Griffin settles in at #2. Still though he’s not just the 2nd best QB in this draft but the 2nd best QB of the past 5 years I’ve graded, barely beating out Sam Bradford and easily beating Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan. Griffin has a little more bust potential than some of those just mentioned but also has the highest ceiling of any of them as I didn’t even try and compare him to anyone since he’s unlike any QB I’ve ever graded. He has WR speed so inevitably he’ll be compared to Vick but he’s taller, smarter, more mature, works harder, and more accurate so I don’t think it’s an apt one. He has a strong arm and is black so he’ll also be compared to Newton or Vince Young but again he’s smarter, more mature, works harder, and more accurate (just no longer taller). To compare him to a black QB doesn’t make much sense as most before him had a dual threat, inaccurate and raw as a thrower skill set that Griffin transcends. If I had to make any comparison I would say he’s a less accurate but stronger armed Steve Young. Now that’s a scary thought. #2 QB in this draft and of the past 5 years 3/26/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

2

2

2

2

0

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: RGIII is a perfect fit for a Shanahan offense in that he’s mobile, accurate, and has a strong arm. They could struggle in Year 1 and even maybe in Year 2 but pretty soon I expect the Redskins to be a perennial playoff team.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: Crap that Thanksgiving game just got tough.

Team: Indianapolis Colts

Pick: 1 (1)

Team Needs (In Order): Tall, thick, cerebral QB who reminds everyone of Peyton Manning

Player: Andrew Luck

Jon’s Final Assessment: With Luck there are two debates to answer as you first have to decide whether he’s the best player in this draft but next you have to decide if he’s the once in a generation prospect Kiper and McShay are making him out to be. Personally I feel that I’ve been consistent this entire season on these two questions as I’ve said he’s the best player in this draft but hardly the spectacular, best prospect since Elway, prospect. He’s a tall, thick QB with underrated athleticism but overrated arm strength and accuracy who isn’t the pure thrower an Elway or Marino was but who reminds me a lot of Manning as he doesn’t throw the best spiral or have the strongest arm but has an elite understanding of how to attack a defense. Yet he’s also like Manning in that he was dominant in college but hardly clutch losing both years easily to Oregon (the best team in his conference during his tenure) and losing his last bowl game to Oklahoma State. While I do see a lot of Mannings positives (ability to see how a defense is playing him, quick decision making keeping sack total down) and negatives (average arm strength, inability to consistently throw a tight spiral, average play in the clutch) I don’t buy into the “a more athletic Peyton Manning” talk simply because Manning is very accurate and Luck only has average accuracy. That is the most troubling aspect of Luck as a prospect as accuracy is one of the most important traits for a QB but he seems to be only average in this department. It’s even more strange as he has great touch on the ball, is outstanding in the red zone, and is great at breaking a defense down all of which tend to lend themselves to great accuracy. His numbers make this lack of accuracy even more deceiving as he’s completed at least 70% of his passes back to back seasons yet just as I mentioned numerous times when arguing against Blaine Gabbert, college completion percentage often times doesn’t paint a perfect picture. I scouted Luck in 5 games this year and I often saw him throw a wobbly ball short or behind a WR for a PBU or INT. Advocates of his have glossed over this and even derided Phil Simms for bringing it up but it’s the truth as he often didn’t make NFL throws and showed only average accuracy when pressing a defense +15 yds down the field. While this does worry me, a lot actually, I see too many other things that make him one of the more unique players I’ve ever graded. Everyone is raving right now about RGIII’s Combine workout yet what they fail to understand is that it’s unlikely he becomes the dual threat QB his 4.41 40 has people envisioning. Griffin has the pure speed to be an occasional scrambler, and an incredibly effective one at that, but his history and his frame (223 lbs) make it unlikely that he would stay healthy for a 16 game season in that capacity. Tim Tebow is 236 lbs, Cam Newton is 248 lbs, and Luck is 234 lbs all who have a thicker build that allows them to handle being hit better than the thinner Griffin. Griffin also missed most of the 2009 season and received a concussion in the 2011 season on running plays making me worried that his dual threat abilities will simply get him injured and on the sidelines. Luck has none of those worries as he’s never missed a game in his career, had 453 rushing yards on a gaudy 8.2 ypc average in 2010, and has bounced right up after enough vicious hits in and out of the pocket that I’m very comfortable with him as a dual threat. I know you won’t hear this anywhere else but I think Luck might actually be the better scrambler in the NFL. Another thing that makes Luck special is his Manningesque ability to avoid not just interceptions but sacks. Both are negative plays that inhibit a passing game and when a signal caller is able to avoid these negative plays on a consistent basis the team gets a distinct advantage over a predominantly running team or a passing team with a QB that causes negative plays. Over the past two years Luck has an incredible 3.8 to 1 TD/INT ratio (Griffin actually betters him with a 4.2 to 1) and also only has 17 sacks in those 2 years (Griffin has 47 and that’s a pretty solid number showing Luck’s elite ability in this regard). His ability to avoid the negative play is the best I’ve ever graded in a QB. Finally the last thing that I see that sets Luck apart is his film study and his elite intelligence in attacking a defense. I was too young when Manning came out in 1998 so I can’t compare the two but I can say that Luck is the best legit QB prospect (saying it in this way to avoid having to add Kellen Moore in the debate) I’ve ever graded in terms of understanding X’s and O’s and how one action relates to another. In every game I scouted I saw him look off safeties, make polished ball fakes, go to his 2nd, 3rd, and sometimes even 4th reads, and make audibles like a seasoned pro. This is the part of Luck’s game that gets me intrigued the most as I’ve literally never seen it and it just make the Manning comparisons understandable, though still unjustified in my opinion due to the huge discrepancy in their accuracies. At the end of the 2010 season I had Luck as the #1 prospect in the nation and while he didn’t have the Heisman trophy winning, national championship winning coronation many expected, he came back and had a very good 2011 season for a team that I think has overrated talent. While many consider Luck the greatest prospect since John Elway I politely disagree and have him as the 3rd best QB I’ve graded in my 14 years of scouting the NFL Draft. I still have Vick from the 2001 Draft and Eli Manning from the 2004 Draft ahead of him due to numerous reasons I won’t go into now. Yet that’s hardly a slap in the face as it gives him a higher grade than Bradford or Newton who both won ROY honors and Aaron Rodgers who is the reigning MVP. Luck is a cerebral QB with a Tebow like athleticism and durability who should be elite in the red zone, elite in his ability to avoid the negative play, and will surprise some people how effective he is as a scrambling QB. I do think his average accuracy and arm strength will limit his upside so I don’t think he’s the once in a generation prospect many make him out to be but he should be a Pro Bowl caliber QB who develops into a Top 10 QB and possibly Top 5 QB over time. Top 5 Pick as my #1 QB though Griffin is a close second 3/26/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

1

1

1

1

0

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: Makes perfect sense if your ready to cut bait on the Peyton Manning era but that to me was a dubious decision and is worth a separate argument.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: Luck has a weird upper lip thingy going on.


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