Colts pick Luck to replace Manning as draft gets under way
Indianapolis Colts have made their move to replace the departing Peyton Manning by making Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck their number one pick of the 2012 NFL draft.
The long-anticipated move comes after the Colts limped to a 2-14 record with four-time MVP Manning sidelined all season with a serious neck injury, eventually prompting the team to release the veteran who joined Denver last month.
In Luck, they hope to have landed the next leading quarterback of his generation. The 6ft 4in, 234-pound 22-year-old threw for 3,517 yards and 37 touchdowns for Stanford last year before opting to skip his senior season and turn professional.
Luck finished as the runner up for the Heisman Trophy last season, with the coveted award instead taken by another quarterback, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, who heard his name called second by the Washington Redskins.
Griffin, known as RG3, relies on his speed where Luck is a more typical ‘NFL-style’ quarterback.
Last season, Griffin threw for 4,293 yards and 37 touchdowns, while rushing for 644 yards and a further nine scores.
The 22-year-old, a redshirt junior, also skipped his senior season.
The Cleveland Browns made the first trade of the evening, moving up from the number four spot to the Minnesota Vikings’ third pick to select Alabama running back Trent Richardson.
Minnesota then took Southern California offensive tackle Matt Kalil, who the Vikings were expected to take at number three.
Jacksonville jumped up two spots, trading with Florida neighbour Tampa Bay to get Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon.
Dallas moved into sixth spot by doing a deal with the St Louis Rams, enabling the Cowboys to come away with LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne.
Tampa Bay took Mark Barron, a safety out of Alabama, before the Miami Dolphins chose quarterback Ryan Tannehill out of Texas A and M.
The Carolina Panthers had Boston College’s impressive linebacker Luke Kuechly at nine, with the Buffalo Bills rounding out the top 10 with the selection of South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
On the Luck arrival, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson told the Colts’ official website, www.colts.com: “The bottom line for Andrew Luck is he wants to win. He really wants to win.
“A lot of times you get a guy with all the skills, but to have someone wired like this is special.
“In this day and age to have someone be so completely team-oriented is uncommon. That’s why I say Andrew’s abilities fit like such a glove with what we’re building.
“He has those values and he has demonstrated them in a genuine way throughout his career. He’s completely selfless, he’s all about the team.”
Luck himself told www.nfl.com: “How do you really replace a legend like Peyton? You go in there and do the best you can.
“Those are huge shoes to fill…(but) there’s no reason not to have high expectations for yourself and the team.”