Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III became the fifth pair of quarterbacks taken with the top two picks in the National Football League draft, selected by the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins, respectively.
The Cleveland Browns traded up one spot with Minnesota to take University of Alabama running back Trent Richardson with the third pick, while the Vikings took University of Southern California offensive tackle Matt Kalil fourth. The Jacksonville Jaguars traded up two slots to select Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon at No. 5.
The New York Jets used their first-round pick, the 16th overall, to try to bolster their defense with University of North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples. The New York Giants closed the first round by selecting Virginia Tech running back David Wilson at No. 32 overall.
Luck, the Heisman Trophy runner-up the past two seasons at Stanford University, went No. 1 to the Colts as the replacement for Peyton Manning, who was released last month after winning four Most Valuable Player awards in 14 years with the team.
“It was everything I ever thought it would be,” Luck said in a televised interview. “I feel so blessed, so fortunate to be in this situation and can’t wait to start with the Colts.”
Griffin, who won the Heisman at Baylor University last season as college football’s best player, was taken next by the Redskins, who last month sent three first-round picks to the St. Louis Rams to move up four spots on the draft board.
It’s the first time quarterbacks were taken with the first two picks since 1999, when Tim Couch was selected No. 1 by the Cleveland Browns and Donovan McNabb went second to the Philadelphia Eagles. A year earlier, the Colts took Manning with the top pick and the San Diego Chargers followed by drafting Ryan Leaf.
Other 1-2 Quarterbacks
Since the NFL’s common draft was instituted in 1967, the only other times quarterbacks were taken with the top two picks were in 1971 (Jim Plunkett and Archie Manning) and 1993 (Drew Bledsoe and Rick Mirer).
The Dallas Cowboys drew loud boos in New York from fans of the division-rival Giants when they traded up to sixth to take Louisiana State cornerback Morris Claiborne, the 2011 Jim Thorpe award winner as the nation’s top defensive back.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers then took Alabama defensive back Mark Barron at No. 7, while the Miami Dolphins followed by drafting a quarterback in the first round for the first time since Dan Marino in 1983, selecting Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill.
The Carolina Panthers picked Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly ninth and the Buffalo Bills rounded out the top 10 by taking University of South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
Defensive tackles were taken with three of the next four picks: Memphis’s Dontari Poe to Kansas City at No. 11, Mississippi State’s Fletcher Cox to Philadelphia at No. 12 and LSU’s Michael Brockers to St. Louis at No. 14.
Michael Floyd of Notre Dame was the second wide receiver taken, going 13th to the Arizona Cardinals, while the Seattle Seahawks took the first true pass-rusher in West Virginia linebacker Bruce Irvin with the 15th pick.
The second and third rounds will be held tomorrow, while the final four rounds will be conducted April 28.
Luck, 22, guided Stanford to an 11-1 record last year while passing for 3,170 yards and 35 touchdowns. He’s been regarded by some scouts as the NFL’s best quarterback prospect since Manning in 1998.
Colts Turn to Luck
The 6-foot-4, 234-pound Luck will probably immediately take over at quarterback for a team that tied for the NFL’s worst record last season at 2-14. The only other quarterbacks on the Colts’ roster are Drew Stanton and Trevor Vittatoe.
Manning, who was the Colts’ last No. 1 overall pick, was released on March 7 and signed with the Denver Broncos as a free agent. The Colts opted to part ways with Manning rather than pay $35.4 million in salary and bonus money this year to a 35-year-old seeking to come back from multiple neck surgeries that forced him to miss the 2011 season.
Now they’ll make the transition to Luck, the son of former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck.
The valedictorian of his high school class, Andrew Luck played four seasons at Stanford and the engineering major will graduate on June 7 with a degree in architectural design. He had a 31-7 record with the Cardinal and won multiple national player of the year honors, including the Maxwell and Walter Camp awards last season, while setting Pac-12 Conference career records for passing efficiency and completion percentage.
“He’s a football junkie,” Colts new coach Chuck Pagano told reporters this week. “He’s big, strong, physical, he can make every throw out there and he’s a great leader in his own way. We’ve got a great one for years to come and it’s another piece of the puzzle that we feel really good about.”
While Manning had a 3-13 record as a rookie with the Colts in 1998, he led the team to at least 10 wins in 11 of the next 12 years while winning four league MVP awards and a Super Bowl title after the 2006 season. Manning left the Colts with the third-most yards passing and touchdowns in NFL history.
Luck’s selection marks the fourth straight year that a quarterback has been taken No. 1 in the draft and the 31st time overall, the most of any position. He’s the fourth Stanford quarterback taken with the top pick, joining John Elway (1983), Plunkett (1971) and Bobby Garrett (1954).
Griffin, 22, entered the draft after a junior season in which he was college football’s top-rated quarterback, completing 72 percent of his passes at Baylor for 4,293 yards, 37 touchdowns and six interceptions. The former All-American hurdler also rushed for 699 yards and 10 scores.
Griffin joins a Redskins team that hasn’t had a winning season since 2007 and hasn’t won a playoff game since 2005. Three different quarterbacks have led the team in yards passing the past three seasons.
Griffin is the first quarterback taken by the Redskins among the top two picks since 1961, when Norm Snead was the second player drafted. The highest the franchise had taken a quarterback in the draft since then was in 1994, when Heath Shuler was the third overall pick. Fans in New York chanted “RG3” before Griffin’s name was called.
“To whom much is given, much is expected and I’m going to expect more out of myself and my teammates than any of the fans will,” said Griffin, who wore maroon and gold socks -- the Redskins’ colors -- with his baby blue suit.
The Browns sent their No. 4 overall selection to the Vikings along with their fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round draft picks to land Richardson, who was a Heisman Trophy finalist after rushing for 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns as a junior last season.
The last running back taken among the top three picks in the NFL’s draft was Reggie Bush by New Orleans in 2006.
Minnesota followed by taking USC’s 6-foot-7, 306-pound Kalil, who will likely start on the left side of the offensive line to protect second-year quarterback Christian Ponder.
The Dolphins at No. 8 took Tannehill, who converted to quarterback from wide receiver as a junior and set Texas A&M records with 3,744 yards and 29 touchdowns as a senior.