ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. believes that Robert Griffin III should experience more success as a rookie than fellow quarterback Andrew Luck, whom the Indianapolis Colts are expected to draft first overall on Thursday.
Luck is considered the more NFL-ready quarterback, but Griffin – who beat out Luck for the 2011 Heisman Trophy – is expected to have an immediate impact as well.
As Kiper points out, both quarterbacks are going to teams desperately in need of a franchise passer, but the two situations differ significantly.
The Indianapolis Colts dismantled their team during the past offseason and are rebuilding. They lack proven talent at many critical positions. The Redskins’ rebuilding process is farther along. The team has a strong defense and has been working this offseason to upgrade what will be Griffin’s supporting cast.
“Because [Griffin] is in Washington with Shanahan, a team that beat the Giants twice this year and beat the Green Bay Packers their Super Bowl year two years ago — is he with a much better team? Sure he is,” Kiper said in a conference call last week. “The Redskins are 10 times the team that the Colts are right now, so RGIII should have a better chance to be successful this year. Will he? I don’t know. He’s still going to be a rookie coming out of a completely different offense at Baylor than the one he’ll run at Washington. So we’ll see.”
Kiper believes that even if Griffin fares better than Luck this season, it will be too early to know which quarterback will end up as the more successful pro.
“Too much is made of these rookie years,” Kiper says. “Everybody raved about Sam Bradford, now he’s fallen back and there’s questions about how great he can be. Josh Freeman looked good, now it’s questions about what he is in Tampa. Then you see guys that take time. Aaron Rodgers sat for four years, and he’s a great quarterback. [Drew] Brees was in San Diego, then he goes to New Orleans and he lights it up. Eli Manning was called almost a bust at one point, now he’s won two Super Bowls and he’s one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. Look at Flacco; Flacco was a question, now they say he’s the best, and he’s had a good year overall.
“The bottom line,” Kiper continued, “is I think quarterbacks are really in a bad situation now. They’re asked to play too early, they’re scrutinized as veterans in their first and second year and they’re not ready to be, and they’re kicked to the curb far too early. There’s guys in their second and third year and they act like they can’t play. What, because they didn’t show anything as a rookie? Big deal. John Elway didn’t show anything as a rookie. You go back to Troy Aikman’s rookie year [when Aikman was 0-11 as a starter]. Peyton Manning threw 28 interceptions … his rookie year.”
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