If you believe all the pre-draft hype surrounding Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, you'd have to think that he's a combination of John Elway and Joe Montana, with a dash of Roger Staubach.
No quarterback will ever be that talented, but conjecture at this time of the year sometimes gets carried away with superlatives. Luck is certainly a great prospect with a chance to become an All Pro in the NFL, but you never know how players will react when the pressure is turned up.
The pressure is even greater for the first overall draft pick, which, barring something unforeseen, Luck will be Thursday at 8 p.m. The Indianapolis Colts need help in a big way after parting ways with Peyton Manning, and Luck fits the bill.
Colts owner Jim Irsay threw out conjecture that Robert Griffin III might be the pick, but that never seemed likely. Reports leaked last week that the Colts have told Luck he'll be their choice.
Luck (6-foot-4, 234 pounds) brings many attributes seen in all successful quarterbacks. He has size, arm strength and intelligence. Luck doesn't have the foot speed or elusiveness of Griffin, but he moves better than average.
Luck was tutored in a pro-style offense under the direction of head coaches Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw. His ability to read defenses and make the right decisions is Manning-like.
Ironically, one of the first sights that greeted Luck at the NFL combine in Indianapolis last February was a picture of Manning.
"I'm not too caught up in that right now," Luck said. "Peyton was my hero growing up. That's who I modeled myself after in high school, middle school, whatever it was. You never truly replace a guy like that."
Luck has been called the most NFL-ready quarterback in the last 20 years.
"It's obviously flattering when people have nice things to say about you," he said. "But I realize at the end of the day it's an opinion. Not to discredit or discount any of those opinions, but they sort of have to flow off your back like water. The game can change so quickly."
Last season Luck broke his personal records for touchdown passes (37) and completion percentage (71.3). He threw for 3,517 yards in finishing as the runner-up to Griffin in Heisman Trophy voting. He won the Maxwell Award as college football's player of the year.
Griffin's stock sky-rocketed during his final season at Baylor. In addition to winning the Heisman Trophy, Griffin won the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's best player and was selected player of the year by the Associated Press.
Griffin (6-2, 223) completed 291-of-406 passes (72.4 percent) for 4,293 yards, 37 touchdowns and just six interceptions. His ability to create positive plays on the run was unmatched. He rushed for 699 yards and scored 10 touchdowns on 179 carries.
There's no question that the Browns coveted Griffin's services. They attempted to trade with the St. Louis Rams to move from the fourth to the second overall spot, but the Rams decided to accept a generous offer from the Washington Redskins.
Griffin's style of play has been compared to Cam Newton, who was picked first overall in last year's draft. Newton is bigger than Griffin, but Griffin gets the edge in speed.
"As a runner he's a little shiftier than I am, but I'm faster than he is," Griffin said. "(I'm) more experienced in the passing game in college. Not that I'm more polished and he's not polished. (It's) just we threw it a little bit more at Baylor than they did at Auburn. Other than that, confidence-wise his confidence is off the charts. I'm a confident guy as well. You've got to be that way."
Griffin is considered a good fit for west-coast offenses like those in place in Cleveland and Washington.
"Long verbiage in the plays, but other than that, once you get into a system it's easy to learn it," Griffin said. "I'm not saying I'm going to open the playbook and know it immediately. Once you can get on the field and start going through the routes and the protections that you're going to have to run in those types of offenses, it comes to you a lot sooner."
There's plenty of debate concerning where Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill fits into the draft. The Browns could shock everyone and pick him fourth overall. The Miami Dolphins at number eight are supposedly interested. If he gets by the Dolphins, Tannehill could have a Brady Quinn-like drop.
Tannehill (6-4, 241) started off his college career as a receiver in 2008. He split time between quarterback and receiver in 2010. Last season he started 13 games at quarterback, completing 327-of-531 passes (61.6 percent) for 3,744 yards, 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
Tannehill has ideal size and arm strength, but he has a ways to go in terms of decision-making and dealing with blitzes. He has a tendency to lock his sights on one receiver, which is why he was intercepted 15 times.
Tannehill will have to be brought along slowly in the NFL.
"It kind of depends on the situation of whatever team drafts me," Tannehill said. "I'd be excited just to go in and compete with the guys that are already on the roster or any of the guys that they potentially bring in. I'm excited to go to a team, compete and I want to be a starter. It's a goal of mine."