NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: (L-R) Quarterback prospects Robert Griffin III from Baylor and Andrew Luck from Stanford arrive on the red carpet during the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
We've written a great deal about how Lucky (pun intended) the Colts were to go 2-14 in 2011 and have a chance to draft Andrew Luck. I'll confess, when the final score read 19-13 in favor of the Jaguars at the close of Week Seventeen, I cheered. I did this because I knew the Colts would land Luck. Players like him come around once every 12-14 years, and we're just now seeing how special he is in these preseason games.
Recently, Adam Caplan got a quote from former Colts president Bill Polian discussing the talent that came out of college in 2012- specifically, the quarterbacks:
"What it tells us is, we have the most talented class since the (Dan) Marino, (Jim) Kelly class of ’83. That’s
number one. Number two, we know it’s a quarterback-driven league. Number three, with all respect to another network, this is still the football apprentice. These guys are apprentices. They are learning on the job, and it will be three years before we know whether or not any of them have the capability to take a team to championships. They’re all talented. They’ve all earned the spots -- on collegiate play and talent, but they’re young and they’re going to make mistakes just as Peyton Manning did. Just as Dan Marino did when he first came in after even sitting a while. It’s going to take them some time. In three years, we’ll know."
We bash Polian a lot here, but on this subject his opinion should be noted and valued. The QB class of '83 is considered by many to be the best ever. Dan Marino, John Elway, and Jim Kelly are Hall of Famers. Ken O'Brien was also taken that year (ahead of Marino!) and he had a good career as well.
Todd Blackledge (No. 7 overall that year) and Tony Eason (No. 15 overall) are considered the two biggest disappointments, even though Eason played in the Super Bowl in 1986 for the Patriots.
Worth noting that the QB class of 2004 was pretty damn good too. Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger have won two Super Bowls apiece. Philip Rivers was also drafted that year (and traded to NY in exchange for Eli, who was originally drafted by the Chargers).
Interesting stat for this year: With Jake Locker being named the starting QB in Tennessee, that means that three of the four teams in the AFC South have starting QBs with two years (or less) of experience. Blaine Gabbert of the Jaguars and Locker were drafted in the first round in 2011, and Andrew Luck went no. 1 overall to the Colts this year.