Why RG3 could (should?) go before Luck

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
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Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III put on a show at his pro day on Wednesday, but today is Andrew Luck's turn at Stanford.

ESPN Insider/numbers guru KC Joyner will take the leap Insider on what's a somewhat tentative debate .

Should RG3 go No. 1 ahead of Luck, the man most assumed for the past year would be the top pick in the 2012 NFL draft?

Joyner says yes, and provides 10 reasons why. You'll need Insider to see the full story, but here's a quick look at some of his most compelling reasons.
Some have argued that the reason Griffin III had better downfield numbers is because he was able to throw to Kendall Wright, a speed merchant whom Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both have listed as a late first-rounder in their most recent mock drafts.

The issue in taking this tack is that Griffin III actually had better vertical numbers when throwing to someone other than Wright last year.

RG3's vertical numbers on passes to Wright: 45 targets, 693 yards, 15.4 vertical YPA (VYPA)

RG3's vertical numbers on passes to other players: 70 targets, 1,146 yards, 16.4 VYPA

Luck was the exact opposite in that his vertical totals dropped off dramatically when not throwing to his best vertical target (tight end Coby Fleener):

Luck's vertical numbers on passes to Fleener: 29 targets, 533 yards, 18.4 VYPA

Luck's vertical numbers on passes to other players: 99 vertical targets, 1,167 yards, 11.8 VYPA

Interesting stuff. Personally, I think whichever NFL teams select them will be pretty happy with both guys. The physical skills are there, but for me, what gives confidence to both selections is their minds.

Both are great combinations of brilliance and hard work, and good decision-making (on and off the field) can help ease the transition for any player.

One other reason Joyner likes Griffin? The rest of the Big 12.
Last year RG3 faced three teams that ranked in the top 30 in the FBS in passer rating allowed in 2011, and two of those teams (the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma State Cowboys) had exceptionally strong starting cornerback batteries.

By contrast, Luck faced only one team (the Utah Utes) that ranked in the top 30 in passer rating allowed last year.

What do you think? Any buyers? Should the Colts take the Heisman winner over Luck?

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