Could Griffin be better than Luck?
Posted Feb. 27 at 09:36 AM
Pretty much everyone agrees that Indianapolis could and should select Andrew Luck No. 1 overall. I won’t argue with that. To me, he looks like he’ll be a very good pro for a lot of years – definitely a good starter, and maybe true superstar like Rodgers, Brees or Brady. To me, Luck looks like the kind of quarterback prospect who comes along only about once every 5-10 years.
But there also seems to be a growing consensus that there’s at least a chance that Robert Griffin III will be even better than Luck. He’s less proven and doesn’t come out of the same kind of a pro-style system, but he’s very athletic and he completed 72 percent at Baylor.
Looking at past drafts, it’s not unusual, when there are two coveted quarterbacks, for that second option to outperform No. 1.
Since the start of the common draft, there have been 11 instances where two quarterbacks were selected with top 5 picks (and that will be the case this year; Luck and Griffin almost certainly will go first and second). In those 11 cases, the more coveted quarterback – the first one chosen – went on to have a clearly better career only five times. Three times, the second quarterback definitely wound up being better (Bob Griese, Jim McMahon and Donovan McNabb are in that group).
And in three cases, there’s a little uncertainty (at least in my minds). Eli Manning has won two Super Bowls, but Philip Rivers has also been very good – better than Manning for much of their careers. And I think it’s the same with Jim Plunkett and Archie Manning; I’ve got Plunkett higher, but it’s not by a knockout.
So ultimately, on my scorecard, I’m giving the top quarterback (the first one drafted) a 5-3 edge, with 3 draws. They’ve been better, but not that much better.
I’m not saying this means that Luck and Griffin are interchangeable. Every year is different – we’re talking about different quarterbacks, different teams and different offenses. But ultimately, there hasn’t been much difference between the end result of these highly drafted quarterbacks. With that in mind, I don’t think we can say we’ll be shocked if five years from now, Griffin winds up being better than Luck.
YEARS WITH TWO QUARTERBACKS DRAFTED IN TOP 5
Steve Spurrier, S.F. (3)
Bob Griese, Mia. (4)
Verdict: Griese quarterbacked only 14-0 team. Spurrier primary quarterback on only 0-14 team.
Terry Bradshaw, Pitt. (1)
Mike Phipps, Clev. (3)
Verdict: Bradshaw won four Super Bowls. Phipps was in the same division.
Jim Plunkett, N.E. (1)
Archie Manning, N.O. (2)
Verdict: Plunkett, with two Super Bowls for Raiders, gets slight edge. I wonder what would have happened if Manning was with the Steelers and Bradshaw was with the Saints.
Art Schlichter, Balt. (4)
Jim McMahon, Chi. (5)
Verdict: McMahon. Schlitcher's career ruined by gambling issues from the get-go. You wonder if he's ever played fantasy football.
Drew Bledsoe, N.E. (1)
Rick Mirer, Sea. (2)
Verdict: Bledsoe. Mirer looked good at times as a rookie before completely falling apart.
Steve McNair, Hou. (3)
Kerry Collins, Car. (5)
Verdict: McNair. They both played for a team that didn't exist when they were drafted (Tennessee Titans).
Peyton Manning, Ind. (1)
Ryan Leaf, S.D. (2)
Verdict: Manning. Leaf looked awfully good in college; might have worked for a different team/coach.
Tim Couch, Clev. (1)
Donovan McNabb, Phil. (2)
Verdict: McNabb. Couch had some success early; might have worked out OK for another team.
David Carr, Hou. (1)
Joey Harrington, Det. (3)
Verdict: Both guys were busts. We'll call this one a tie.
Eli Manning, S.D. (1)
Philip Rivers, NYG (4)
Verdict: With two Super Bowls, Manning gets the edge, but Rivers also has been good.
Matthew Stafford, Det. (1)
Mark Sanchez, NYJ (5)
Verdict: No team right now would select Sanchez before Stafford.
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