Greg Cosell and Others Who Thought the Colts Should Draft RGIII Over Andrew Luck

Ryan Glasspiegel

Robert Griffin III needs a change of scenery. The book’s not totally shut on his career, but it seems far more probable than not that he’ll never recapture his marvelous rookie year in Washington. There’s too much baggage there, not just for himself but even more on the part of the organization.

The franchise has failed dramatically on a much longer scale than the quarterback. Napoleonic owner Daniel Snyder is the common thread in the prolonged rot and wields final say. He seems to be the only one who thinks this situation could be salvageable. For now, though, it appears Kirk Cousins will start Week 1, and RG3 remains sidelined with a concussion that in a cynical way feels like an excuse rather than the reason to hold him out.

It wasn’t so long ago that RG3 versus Andrew Luck was a genuine debate. It simmered before the 2012 NFL Draft, and continued into a season where Luck turned the ball over a lot and Griffin was electrifying until he was inevitably-in-retrospect electrified. In the Draft Industrial Complex, where everyone’s fighting for relevance, you must deliver cold, hard opinion.

In January 2012, Tony Dungy told Dan Patrick the Colts should pick Griffin. “I like those mobile guys,” Dungy told Patrick, saying he thinks they supply an “extra dimension….they are intriguing to me…I like Robert Griffin. … I do [like him over Luck]. As I say, just watching him play a couple of games, not studying it every throw and every play.”

ESPN’s Jemele Hill wrote a column advocating for the Colts to pick RG3 first overall, though part of her rationale was that they should keep Peyton Manning, and that fans and media were less likely to be up in arms over Griffin starting out as a backup than Luck, who was a “more polished product.”

A couple months later, Merril Hoge chimed in:

A few days after that, Greg Cosell’s said that Luck was “not a special [deep] passer based on film study,” and was effusive in his praise for RG3:

About a year later Cosell said that Luck was “arguably the most physically gifted quarterback in the league.”

In April 2012, RG3 scored higher on Football Outsiders’ Lewin Career Forecast than any other quarterback of all-time. (There were also a lot of takes that Luck was a better choice than Griffin — our EIC Jason McIntyre said he was bookmarking RG3-better-than-Luck takes “for future laughs” — but those aren’t quite as fun to read in retrospect.)

And then Griffin got off to a scorching start! It was all-but-forgotten that Washington gave up far too much to get him. This was a weird time where it felt like running quarterbacks would totally supplant pocket passers, and injury risk was not properly accounted for.

Because everything in sports need to be binary — and context of teammates, coaches, and front offices often falls by the wayside — there’ll be the sense that Luck’s defeated Griffin in what amounts to a tennis match. To be sure, this is not to say that RG3 deserves no blame for his current predicament (if nothing else, he’s got poor tact), but how certain are we that Andrew Luck would be thriving in Washington, with Snyder lording over everything?