It’s been almost 14 years since the Indianapolis Colts almost passed on Peyton Manning. The Colts once again sit on the top spot of the draft order with seemingly two choices to fill Manning’s position: Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. That decision, several analysts predict, should already be made.
With the draft still weeks away, what makes Luck—touted by some as the best NFL prospect in 25 years— the clear decision? It could be that Luck has built a mystique too big to avoid. For more than a year now, the Stanford quarterback has been viewed as the league’s top prospect—overwhelmingly seen as the likely No.1 pick in last year’s draft. But Luck deferred his professional debut in favor of returning to Palo Alto, Calif., for his senior season. His unavailability in 2011 elevated his appeal for many fans of struggling franchises hoping for a “Suck for Luck” season in order to secure the quarterback for 2012.
But an injury to Peyton Manning unrolled a flurry of misfortune that led to league’s worst record and the Colts sitting at pole position at Radio City Music Hall in New York City to pick at the April 26 draft. Now as the date draws near, it appears all-too-certain that Luck’s name will be called as the top choice.
Even Griffin III seems the undeniable heir apparent to be under Center for the Washington Redskins, who traded for the No. 2 pick reportedly with the Heisman Trophy winner in mind. Now in Washington D.C., Griffin III already has some fans sporting his Redskins jersey.
So if it’s Luck in Indianapolis, the Colts are hoping to fill one gap on a team recently rid of most of its notable stars. It doesn’t look like ideal circumstances for a rookie quarterback. But if Luck struggles in his first year, he could draw even more comparisons to Manning.