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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The Draft: The East Side Perspective 

The Clarion Content is always on the lookout for new talent. We are big believers in collaboration and promoting good work where and when we see it. Many of you may not know it, but the Clarion Content was originally a sports heavy blog. In part, the Clarion Content was founded with intention of being a safe place to voice strong opinions. It would be our contention that sports, itself, is situated as one such realm in America.

In effort to be a generalist, truly communitarian rag, we believe sports must have its place. Bread and circuses or not, sports has a massive audience in America. The Editor-in-Chief is a sports fan. We have longed to find a way back to our sports roots for some time. We believe that moment is here.

We have joined forces with the East Side Perspective. It is an up and coming sports and culture website published in Chapel Hill. They are going to keep you up-to-date, sports fans, so that you can turn to the Clarion Content and get what it is you need; Durham, Arts, Culture and Sports, all in one place.

For even more sports articles from the East Side Perspective, check here. For music articles from the East Side Perspective check here.

We will be co-hosting a sports podcast with the Co-Founder of The Eastside Perspective, Matthew Creatore, asap, featuring plenty of special guest appearances.

So without further adieu let us offer you the first of what we hope will be many co-hosted columns from the East Side Perspective.

The Debate Of The NFL Draft: Luck Or Griffin?

Adam Cubbage

With the NFL draft fast approaching the Indianapolis Colts confirmed what many believed in that they are taking Andrew Luck, quarterback out of Stanford University, with the number one overall pick.

The question some had leading up to the draft was whether or not Robert Griffin III should have been chosen before him. Some say it was never a conversation to begin with, others, even two weeks ago, said otherwise. Let’s take a look at both and see if the Colts are making the right call.

A quick tale of the tape:
Both have the physical tools to succeed at the quarterback position in the NFL, with Robert Griffin III at a slight disadvantage because of his height. Usually when I look at the quarterback position, I look at more than raw numbers and controlled NFL Combine/Pro Day scenarios. One of my biggest determining factors is their experience in college, and this is where I think Luck separates himself significantly from Griffin.

Luck played his college career in the Pac-12 and had career numbers of 9,430 yards, 82 touchdowns, 22 interceptions, 67% completion and 162.8 QB rating. He started three years in the conference, with his best year being his sophomore season. He took many by surprise when he decided to bypass the NFL draft and return to Stanford to finish his degree.

Last season gave me the opportunity to see what he could really do at the position and he didn't disappoint. Without elite weapons, Luck led the Cardinal to the Fiesta Bowl and continued to put up big numbers as he had in past seasons. The main criticism last season was that he didn't have great arm strength - I couldn’t have disagreed with that assessment more because he didn't need to use such pace as often last season because the offense was more conservative due to the talent level around him. He later showcased his full arsenal in the BCS game against Oklahoma State and later during his Pro Day.

Robert Griffin, who competed in the Big 12, had numbers most can only fathom in a video game. Throwing for almost 4,000 yards and rushing for almost 700, he became Baylor's first ever Heisman Trophy winner and deservedly so. For putting Baylor on the radar of college football fans for all the right reasons, Griffin was truly amazing last season. There were, however, some issues with his overall game.

His arm is great, his speed is off the charts, but his ability to read and adapt to above average defenses worries me. While the likes of Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State aren't pushovers, we can all agree that they weren't at the peak of their powers during his time at Baylor. His ability to make all of the throws is there, but I worry about him against NFL defenses because Griffin won't be able to improvise like he did much of the time in college in crucial moments when the pocket wasn’t there. I would also contend that while comparisons will be made, he isn't Michael Vick or Cam Newton.

Indianapolis is making the right choice in taking Luck over Robert Griffin III. Luck is more prepared for the NFL at this point because of his extra time in college and his knowledge of the position mixed with his physical attributes. Griffin, while immensely talented, could have benefited from another year in school. I don't see him as an immediate starter in the NFL, but someone who, with a year or two behind a veteran, could be a star in the league at the quarterback position.

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