Tag:Andrew Luck
Posted on: January 8, 2012 1:45 pm
Edited on: January 8, 2012 1:45 pm
 

Irsay denies Colts have decided on Luck

Colts owner Jim Irsay denied a report that the team has discussed moving a $28 million option bonus owed quarterback Peyton Manning on March 8. The bonus would trigger the final four years of Manning's contract and prevent him from becoming a free agent.
  
Irsay also denied an ESPN report that the Colts have definitively decided to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick in April. Other potential top prospects include Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.
  
"There has been no discussion of a deadline push,n just like '98 with Manning/Leaf..u have 2 go thru a long,disciplined process of evaluation," Irsay tweeted Sunday, referring to the 1998 draft in which the Colts selected Manning over Ryan Leaf.
  
With the health of Manning in question after he missed the season recovering from neck surgery, the Colts are prepared to secure a franchise quarterback who will eventually take the baton from Manning.
  
Irsay is focused on hiring a new general manager after firing Bill Polian last week. Irsay tweeted Saturday that the Colts are interviewing seven candidates.
  
If they take Luck, the Colts will do so nearly 20 years since Irsay's father, Bob, selected another Stanford quarterback, John Elway, with the No. 1 pick in 1983, but ultimately traded the future Hall of Famer.
  
The sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen the younger Irsay welcomes the opportunity to complete the circle.
  
Of course, the Colts already rectified the missed opportunity with Elway by taking Manning as the top pick in 1998 and watching him develop into a future Hall of Famer, who led them to two Super Bowls, including a Super Bowl XLI win over the Chicago Bears.
  
Irsay said last week that he has no idea if Manning will play football again.
  
Manning has had three surgeries on his neck, including spinal fusion, and didn't practice or participate in team on-field activities in 2011. He will continue rehabbing at the team facility, a luxury he didn't have during the four-month lockout last year, and is hopeful of resuming his career in 2012.
  
But Manning will be 36 in March and his continued health isn't certain given the nature of the surgery and the physical demands of the NFL. If Manning is healthy, Irsay had vowed he will return.

Posted on: January 1, 2012 6:34 pm
 

Baylor QB Griffin heading to the NFL

Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III described his Heisman moment as "unbelievably believable."

That moment was extended Sunday with multiple reports that RG3 is foregoing his senior season and entering the 2012 NFL draft.

Rated behind Stanford's Andrew Luck by NFLDraftScout.com as the No. 2 quarterback in the 2012 draft and No. 3 overall player, Griffin completed 72.3% of his passes as a junior for 4,293 yards and 37 touchdowns against only six interceptions. Griffin, who qualified for the Olympic trials in high school, is just as dangerous on the ground, rushing for 699 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2011.

Griffin led Baylor to a 10-3 record, their first victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in team history and first bowl win since 1992.

While at 6-2, 220 pounds he does not possess the size and experience in a pro-style offense that Luck boasts, Griffin's electric combination of mobility and accuracy does give him a rarer skill-set and more upside than the Stanford star.

It makes for a fascinating decision for the Indianapolis Colts, who by virtue of their loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, clinched the first pick of the draft.

The Colts can hope for the success recovery of future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, but don't expect team president Bill Polian to waste his chance at securing a franchise quarterback of the future simply out of respect for their current star.

A significant portion of Luck's appeal to NFL teams is his pro-readiness. Should the Colts determine that they cannot rely on Manning returning to his previous All-Pro form, Polian is expected to make the traditional choice with Luck.

If the Colts feel secure that Manning can return in 2012, drafting Griffin and allowing him a season or two to acclimate from Baylor's relatively simple spread offense to the Colts' complicated attack is another strategy that will be heavily debated inside the Colts' headquarters.

If Griffin isn't able to leap Luck, he won't have to wait long before his "unbelievably believable" moment continues.

With Southern Cal quarterback Matt Barkley already announcing that he's returning for his senior season, Griffin may have gained enough value that the St. Louis  Rams with the No. 2 pick and Minnesota Vikings, picking third, may be prepared to auction off their pick to the highest bidder, as well.

The Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins are other potential landing spots for Griffin inside the top ten.
    


Posted on: January 1, 2012 3:51 pm
 

It's official. Colts lose, own No. 1 pick

The fascinating drama some guy predicted back in September might occur, will indeed.

The Indianapolis Colts, in losing 19-14 Sunday to the Jacksonville Jaguars, have secured the rights to the No. 1 pick of the 2012 draft.

If the Colts aren't absolutely convinced that Peyton Manning will return to All-Pro form next year, they'll be hard pressed to pass up the opportunity to draft the franchise quarterback to lead them into a new era.

Many, including NFLDraftScout.com analyst Dane Brugler and myself, have predicted that the Colts will ultimately select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. Those who think the Colts might do something other than take Luck, generally argue Polian could take another passer, Baylor's Heisman-Tropy winner Robert Griffin III.

All of which sets up for a fascinating decision for the Colts. With no clear top defensive prospects to realistically consider over Luck and Griffin, they'll either have to take a quarterback, trade the pick or trade Manning.

The 2011 NFL regular season boasted plenty of drama.

The 2012 pre-draft season is starting off just as intriguing.

Posted on: December 19, 2011 8:45 am
 

Polian's statement points to Colts taking QB

In a five paragraph statement made to the press shortly following Indianapolis' first win of the season, Colts' vice chairman Bill Polian announced that four-time league MVP Peyton Manning has begun throwing passes to teammates but that there is "no chance" that he will play this season.

"It was determined by the doctors that there was no chance he (Manning) would play this year," Polian said, alluding to a meeting that took place on Thursday. "His rehabilitation has not come far enough to make it prudent for him to step on the field in game action. He may practice in some very scripted and circumscribed circumstances if he wishes. That's entirely up to him."

Perhaps it is just me, but the last sentence in the quote above I found to be particularly interesting.

"That's entirely up to him" is the kind of thing one parent might say to another about a child about to make a foolhardy decision. It reeks of washing one's hands of a decision so that if something bad were to happen fault couldn't be spread.

It sounds like the words of a man who has already made up his mind with what he's doing with the first pick of the draft.

Having spoken with scouts specifically about the Colts and their 35-year old quarterback, the writing has been on the way for months. The Colts recognize the unique talent expected to be available and do not appear likely to be willing to mortgage their future at the game's most important position just to acknowledge what Manning has done for them in the past.

The real question could turn out to be which quarterback the Colts would prefer.

The overwhelming consensus, of course, is that the Colts would take Andrew Luck. As I noted here, however, there is growing sentiment that the higher upside of Robert Griffin III could convince some teams that he's the player who should be taken first.

If running a team needing a quarterback to step in and play immediately, it would seem Luck would be the slam dunk choice. Southern Cal's Matt Barkley, should he also decide to leave school early, is also especially ready for the leap to the NFL due to his experience in a pro-style offense.

If the Colts see enough in Manning's post practice workouts to convince them that he is on schedule to return to his MVP-caliber play, Griffin might sneak up on Luck. He, after all, is expected to need some time to acclimate to the NFL after having earned his Heisman trophy in a spread offense.

But, of course, Polian isn't tipping his hand on which college quarterback he likes best.

That won't come until a press conference scheduled four months from now.


Posted on: December 16, 2011 12:19 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:48 pm
 

Stanford OG DeCastro heading to NFL

Fans of the Stanford Cardinal will not only have to endure life without Andrew Luck next season, they'll also be losing junior right guard David DeCastro, considered by many to be the elite interior lineman in the country.

NFLDraftScout.com has learned that DeCastro will leave Stanford after this season and head to the NFL.

All of the Stanford players have been asked to put off dealing with agents until after Stanford meets Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl January 2, but a source tells me that DeCastro "is definitely coming out. It isn't a matter of if, but when."

DeCastro redshirted in 2008 and has since started three consecutive seasons at right guard for the Cardinal, earning honorable mention all-conference accolades in 2009 and first-team honors both years since. The 6-5, 312 pound DeCastro was the only Stanford player to make the AP's First Team All-American team. Andrew Luck was relegated to the second team. It was behind his crushing blocks at both the first and second level that helped Stanford average 207.9 yards per game on the ground this year.

NFL teams hate to spend first round picks on interior linemen but that is precisely the grade I am giving DeCastro. He's higher on ny Big Board rankings than I've ever had a guard at this point in the year. He's also sitting firmly in the middle of my first round mock draft and is rated the No. 10 rated prospect on NFLDraftScout.com's overall player rankings.

DeCastro is joing a rare fraternity of interior linemen leaving early to the NFL. There were no early entrants among interior linemen in the draft last year. There have only been three underclassmen offensive linemen to have been drafted since 2008. Pittsburgh took Maurkice Pouncey out of Florida in 2010. The Chiefs and 49ers tooks Branden Albert and Chilo Richal, respectively, in 2008.

DeCastro and Luck may ultimately be joined by another Cardinal defection as junior left tackle Jonathan Martin is also thought to be likely to leave school early. Martin, along with Southern California's Matt Kalil and Iowa's Reilly Reiff, is considered one of a three-headed monster of junior offensive tackles who each could wind up as top 20 picks come April.

DeCastro and the rest of the No. 4 rated Stanford Cardinal will take on No. 3 Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl January 2.




Posted on: December 10, 2011 2:20 pm
 

Two mistakes may have cost Mathieu the Heisman

Two years ago I campaigned hard for Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to join former Michigan great Charles Woodson as the only defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy in the modern era.

Considering the fact that LSU sophomore cornerback and punt returner Tyronn Mathieu made plays every bit as dramatic and consistently as Woodson did for the 1997 Wolverines, he too should get strong consideration for the award. Whether it be with his interceptions, fumble recoveries or returns, Mathieu unquestionably had more "Heisman-esque" moments this season than Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson and Montee Ball. Mathieu's chances at the trophy would seem even better with none of the other four finalists having an obvious edge over the others. Like Baylor's Griffin (affectionally called RG3), Mathieu even had the benefit of a spectacular nickname (Honey Badger) to aid in the hype-building that has unfortunately become so important in building a Heisman campaign.

Two critical mistakes, however, will keep Mathieu from winning the award -- an October 21 suspension for using synthetic marijuana and a controversial hit from behind against Alabama cornerback 'Dre Kirkpatrick that some labeled a cheap shot and felt deserved another suspension.

I do believe Mathieu deserves to have been among the finalists for the Heisman Trophy. His exploits on the field and in helping LSU finish the season undefeated and in position to win the BCS Championship in my opinion demanded that he be there.

However, the Heisman Trophy carries with it not only the expectation of athletic supremacy, but playing and carrying oneself with integrity, as well.

As such, for those interested, my Heisman "ballot" would read:

1. Robert Griffin III, Baylor
2. Andrew Luck, Stanford
3. Tyrann Mathieu, LSU
4. Trent Richardson, Alabama
5. Montee Ball, Wisconsin


Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:49 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:50 pm
 

Luck says he's 'absolutely' ready for the NFL

Stanford junior quarterback Andrew Luck said he's "absolutely" prepared to go to the NFL after the Cardinal finish their season in the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State on Jan. 2.
  
"I think I'm going to hopefully play professional football if a team will have me," Luck told ESPN on Monday night, per NFL.com.
   
That might be the understatement of the year.
  
Projected as the top prospect available in the 2012 draft by NFLDraftScout.com since the end of last April's draft, Luck is one of five finalists for the Heisman Trophy to be announced Saturday.
  
Luck likely would have been the top overall pick last year, but returned to Stanford for his redshirt junior season to pursue his architectural design degree and believed it was understood he'd go to the NFL after this season.
  
"I thought it was pretty formal or understood when I came back for my final year, so I have no clue if I'll make a formal announcement or not," Luck said.
  
Many NFL scouts have touted Luck as the best quarterback prospect entering the NFL in the past two decades. And he could well end up in Indianapolis, where the 0-12 Colts have been without injured Peyton Manning all season.
  
The Vikings and Rams are the next closest teams to the top pick, but each have two wins with four games to play.
  
"It will work itself out," Peyton's father, Archie Manning, told Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson of CBS' Eye on Football Tuesday afternoon when asked about the Colts' quarterback situation.
  
Luck has thrown for 3,170 yards with 35 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season.


Posted on: November 26, 2011 11:15 am
 

Five Prospects I'll Be Scouting Closely Saturday

Each Friday I list my "Five prospects" that I'll be focusing on for the upcoming weekend. In reality, I'm focusing on dozens of prospects each week, but the players listed below are playing in high profile games and against the caliber of competition that I believe provides us with an opportunity to truly assess how a collegiate player might fare when asked to make the huge jump to the NFL. 

Typically I focus on senior prospects in this space. However, with it becoming more and more obvious as to which underclassmen are considering the jump to the pros, I'll be incorporating a few more juniors and redshirt sophomores in the coming weeks. 

Sometimes it also leads to the player being featured in Draft Slant , NFLDraftScout.com and CBSSports.com's weekly NFL Draft preview. In each PDF issue of Draft Slant Senior Analyst Chad Reuter breaks down six more players in Filmroom Notes, updates our Top 64 prospects overall and offers extensive previews of the next week's action. Here is the link to this week's issue of Draft Slant. Or for the entire season click this link . Looking for a specific week? Download past issues from the past three years here. 

Without any further adieu, here are the five prospects, as well as the cable provider and time you can expect to see them.

RB Dan "Boon" Herron, Ohio State: Herron appeared poised to enter this season as one of the Big Ten's few superstars at the skill positions. After all, he'd shown an NFL-caliber combination of size, power and speed and had already rushed for over 2,000 yards and scored 29 touchdowns on the ground. Suspended for the first five games of the season due to Tattoo-Gate, however, this has been a lost year for the senior, who enters the annual showdown with Michigan having only rushed for 556 yards and two touchdowns this season. Michigan has a solid run defense and know the Buckeyes are going to try to control the clock to keep Denard Robinson off the field. Other than a senior all-star game, this may be Herron's best chance this season to impress scouts. This game begins at noon ET and will be televised by ABC.

ILB Audie Cole, North Carolina State:  For all of the talk this season about underclassmen inside linebackers Manti Te'o, Luke Kuechly and Vontaze Burfict (among others), Cole is quietly earning top 75 grades from some scouts. Big (6-4, 239) and athletic enough to move back to outside linebacker, Cole is viewed as one of the more versatile linebackers in a relatively weak senior class. He's getting plenty of Senior Bowl buzz and should perform well in his final home game against a Maryland team that features the run. This game begins at 12:30 pm ET and will be broadcast by ESPN3.

ILB Donta Hightower, Alabama: As you can tell from my Top 32 "Big Board," of the so-called elite Alabama defenders, I'm lowest on Hightower. In terms of their ability to play in the NFL I rank the top draft-eligible Crimson Tide defenders as Dre' Kirkpatrick, Courtney Upshaw and Mark Barron over Hightower, a 6-4, 260 pound redshirt junior. Hightower is clearly more explosive this year than last as he further heals from the torn ACL that ended his 2009 season prematurely, but still doesn't have the lateral agility and straight-line speed most teams operating out of 4-3 are going to be looking for at linebacker. A move to defensive end is possible. Teams operating out of the 3-4 will certainly like Hightower's bulk and explosive hitting in their scheme, however. I'm curious to see Hightower have to defend in the open field, something I expect an Auburn team currently averaging 183.5 yards on the ground to force him to do. This game begins at 3:30 pm ET and will be televised by CBS. 

TE Coby Fleener, Stanford: All of the hype in this contest is going to revolve around Andrew Luck and the possibility that this is his last game in Palo Alto -- as it should. We all know Luck is a terrific prospect, so I'm going to focus my attention elsewhere, including with Luck's senior tight end, Fleener, who despite being rated by most scouts as the top senior tight end in the country virtually all season long, he's received very little national attention. One can certainly understand why the scouts love him. While not a legitimate in-line blocker at the next level, the 6-6, 245 pound Fleener has rare speed and soft hands and is averaging a guady 19.7 yards per catch. Fleener will be matched up much of this game against another legitimate NFL prospect in Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith, so this should be a battle worth keeping an eye on. This game begins at 8:00 pm ET and will be televised by ABC. 

DE Devin Taylor, South Carolina: In reality, I could have listed several of the Gamecocks' and Tigers' defensive linemen in this game as this is definitely the area scouts will be closely watching in this game. Without a doubt, in terms of pure talent, this game features the best collection of defensive line talent of the day. At 6-6, 260 pounds the redshirt junior Taylor has as much physical upside as any of them, though he's not the same consistent difference-maker as his senior teammate Melvin Ingram. I'll be spending a lot of time watching the Clemson defensive line, as well, as end Andre Branch and defensive tackle Brandon Thompson (both seniors) are each capable of taking this game over, themselves.  This game begins at 7:45 pm ET and will be televised by ESPN2.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com