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What if Andrew Luck isn't as good as we believe?

Here's what ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. had to say about a projected number one overall quarterback:

"He is a franchise-caliber quarterback with accuracy and velocity reminiscent of another No. 1 overall pick, Troy Aikman. Look what Aikman meant to Dallas. He is a major building block; with the right supporting cast, the rest could be history. But he has the physical ability. Last season he was the most consistent performer at the college level, and he beat top-level opponents at the start of the season. His maturity and leadership are critical aspects of his makeup."

Nope, that isn't about the projected 2012 number one overall pick, Andrew Luck; you're ten years too early. This blurb from Mel "Slickback" Kiper is about Houston Texans' number one overall pick in David Carr who, at the time, was unequivocally seen as a can't-miss prospect. We all know how that ended.

So as the "Andrew Luck Sweepstakes" seem to be spiraling to new levels, I have to ask a real question...

...what if Andrew Luck isn't that good?

Over the last ten years (excluding 2011), there have been a total of 27 quarterbacks drafted in the first round. Eight of them were drafted number one overall by a team that truly believed that the signal-caller would turn the franchise around for the better. Those eight quarterbacks are:

2001: Michael Vick
2002: David Carr
2003: Carson Palmer
2004: Eli Manning
2005: Alex Smith
2007: Jamarcus Russell
2009: Matthew Stafford
2010: Sam Bradford

While one became the superstar everyone tabbed him to be (Vick), others have had varied levels of success (Palmer, Manning), and the young guns are still searching for their true ceiling (Stafford, Bradford.) There are three quarterbacks on that list (Carr, Smith, Russell) that make you scratch your head and wonder what in hades were they thinking?

What's painfully obvious about picks like David Carr, Alex Smith, and Jamarcus Russell is that they have the attributes that you want in your quarterback: strong throwing arm, quick release, desired height. Carr was beloved in the draft because he was seen as a leader; Smith for his accuracy and intelligence; Russell? A ridiculously strong arm. Of course, when they stepped onto the football field, all hell broke loose. David Carr got gun-shy, (partially from getting hit every single time when dropping back) Alex Smith, in seven seasons, has become nothing more than a mediocre quarterback, and Jamarcus Russell is out dunking his donuts into a cup full of lean. Listen how Mel Kiper gushes about Russell...its damn near sickening.

What's confounding is to hear fans already screaming out "LETS TANK FOR LUCK!" I've heard this in Indianapolis, Minnesota, and Seattle, to name a few fan bases. The rarest commodity in professional football is an elite signal-caller. Its the reason why, almost every year, a quarterback is the number one selection in the draft.

Let me be clear about this: this is not a slanderous post about the All-American quarterback that is Andrew Luck at all. From what we know about Luck, he has all the "tools" and "intangibles" that we look for in a prime-time quarterback. If you are a franchise in need of a quarterback, you have to take the chance and draft him if there's one possibly there. With the new labor agreement, teams can be more aggressive in drafting quarterbacks and letting them sit for a few years, so it's not out of the question at all for Indy to draft him. Teams will do what they have to do.

Just realize that Houston did so for David Carr. Now his business card reads something like this...

"David Carr: professional clipboard holder."




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