After my first release of my 2012 mock draft, I was flooded with emails, presumably from USC fans, suggesting my assumption of Andrew Luck as the first overall pick is premature. These fans suggested that the coaching change in Palo Alto would play a big role in the demise of Luck’s draft stock. Some even went as far as comparing Luck to Jake Locker.
If the Spring Game is any indication of the 2011 season, I am feeling pretty good about putting Luck atop my 2012 mock draft. Luck finished the day 16 of 22 passing and led the Cardinal to TD drives on all four his possessions. His stat line included three TD passes to his new favorite target Zach Ertz.
Some pundits questioned Luck’s return to Stanford for his junior season, particularly after Head Coach, Jim Harbaugh left Palo Alto for the NFL. Luck was the consensus number one pick and every draft expert had his bags pack to Carolina until he surprised everyone and announced his return to Stanford.
Undoubtedly, Luck had nothing to gain by returning for his junior season but I would argue he also had nothing to lose. If Luck is injured, has a great 2011 campaign, wins the Heisman, or has a substandard junior season; he is the first pick in 2012. Luck’s skill set is the best to come out of college since Peyton Manning. This season he will be given an opportunity to showcase his leadership and will be expected to take more control of the offense. Both of these attributes will further enhance an already phenomenal skill set.
So, for those looking to persuade me into changing the top of my 2012 mock draft, it won’t happen on April 11, 2011 or April 12, 2012. Unless, Luck pulls the rug out on us again and stays for his senior season.