Sunday, April 29, 2012

Andrew Luck vs. Robert Griffin III: NFL Edition

(AP Photo/Rod Aydelotte and Paul Connors)
Now that everything's official, The Andrew Luck vs. RG3 NFL rivalry has begun.
For the rest of their careers, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will always be compared to each other, so why don't we start off the great quarterback debate now?

The top two picks in the 2012 NFL Draft have tough tasks ahead of them. Luck, who was drafted #1 by the Colts, will have to lead his franchise back to being one of the best teams in the league. RG3, who was drafted #2 by the Redskins, will have to make his franchise relevant for the first time in over a decade.

The two have a ton of traits in common, but also a whole lot of differences.

Both Luck and Griffin III are tremendous athletes who led two of the most dynamic offenses in college football last season. Luck led Stanford to an 11-2 record, and threw for over 3,500 yards and 37 touchdowns. Griffin III led Baylor to a 10-3 record, and threw for nearly 4,300 yards and 37 touchdowns.

Both quarterbacks can get it done with their arms, but also with their feet, a talent not every quarterback has.

Ironically, despite being the most talked about college football player since Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck never won a Heisman. Instead, it was the quietly talked about Robert Griffin III who won the prestigious college football award.

How could it be that the most "NFL ready" quarterback never dominated in college? Sure he led his team to an 11-2 record and threw for 3,500 yards, but why couldn't he lead them to a 13-0 record, with over 4,000 passing yards? Why is it that the sports world declared Andrew Luck, and not Robert Griffin III the next Peyton Manning?

There is no doubt that the 22-year old quarterback can throw the ball better than most, but why is it that we automatically can assume he will be a 10-time Pro-Bowler?

The expectations for Luck have been set extremely high. Ever since his sophomore year at Stanford, NFL analysts have declared him as the next superstar. While all the attention has been on Luck, other quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III have had equal, if not more success.

On top of the already high expectations, comes the fact that Luck will have to replace the man that everyone is expecting him to be. Not only will Andrew Luck be compared to RG3, but he will be compared to his predecessor, Peyton Manning.

While Luck's pressure to succeed is ridiculously high, RG3 is flying under the radar when it comes to expectations.

Unlike Luck, the quarterbacks before Griffin III were nothing special in Washington. Unlike Luck, the team RG3 is playing for hasn't won a Super Bowl in over 15 years. If Griffin III has immediate success in Washington, he will be hailed as the Redskins' hero. If not, too bad, the Redskins are used to it.

Will Griffin's unique playing style transfer over well in the NFL, or is he better off playing in a standard  pocket style? Will Luck's traditional play help him in the NFL, or will it make him fit in with the rest? Andrew Luck has the DNA to be the better NFL player, but RG3 has the raw athletic ability to outshine his rival.

Both the Colts and Redskins cut ties with many players, and will have completely new offenses in 2012. Luck and RG3 will struggle early on with the tools they have to work with, and will have to adjust accordingly. In addition, Luck and RG3 will have to adjust to the ball-hawking cornerbacks in the NFL, since they won't have the pleasure of throwing against college-level cornerbacks anymore.

While their roles and expectations are completely different, their goals are identical: To be the best NFL quarterback they could be.

Both Luck and RG3 are very well spoken, and know the situations they are in. Both are very hard workers, and will put in the effort to become stars at the next level. The two will take very different paths in the NFL, but in the end, will both try to accomplish the same goal.

Andrew Luck vs. Robert Griffin III to be continued...

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