Dealing frenzy as Luck leads draft
NEW YORK - The Associated Press
Quarterback Andrew Luck of Stanford University waves after being selected by the Indianapolis Colts as the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft in New York.Once the NFL draft got past quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, it was like a day on Wall Street - everybody wanted to make a trade.
The wheeling and dealing started even before the Indianapolis Colts opened the proceedings as expected on April 26 by taking Luck with the first pick and the Washington Redskins followed by selecting the young man known as RG3.
Behind closed doors, general managers around the league were jockeying to position their teams to land the most coveted player on their draft board.
When it was over, there were eight trades involving 12 of the league’s 32 teams. It all started when Minnesota swapped its No. 3 choice for Cleveland’s No. 4 pick. The Browns, who also gave up a fourth, fifth and seventh-rounder, desperately wanted Alabama running back Trent Richardson. The Vikings still got the guy they sought in Southern California tackle Matt Kalil.
“Unfortunately, we had to make a little trade to secure the pick,” said Browns coach Pat Shurmur, who later added quarterback Brandon Weeden with the No. 22 selection. “We knew as we went through the process that he was our guy and so we did what we had to do to secure it.
“We had pretty good knowledge that there were teams behind that wanted him as well, so we gave up a couple of picks to make sure we got him. We’re thrilled a bunch about Trent.” The move allowed the Vikings to deal for another first-round pick, gaining the No. 29 spot in a trade with Baltimore and choosing Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith.
“That trade with Cleveland kind of set the tone for this draft, and us being able to do some things,” Vikings GM Rick Spielman said. “That was a huge, huge thing to get done right before the draft started.
The Jaguars, Cowboys and Eagles also traded up, and the Patriots did it twice to select players they wanted.
Credit the rookie wage scale for so much buying and selling, with GMs making last-minute moves knowing that extravagant salaries for top picks have been replaced by a compensation plan.
There were no such concerns for Indianapolis and Washington.
Stanford’s Luck heads for Indianapolis and the burden of replacing Peyton Manning, who won four MVP awards and a Super Bowl. Baylor’s RGIII answers the call in Washington, where he will try to soothe a devout but highly critical fan base.
“You don’t really replace a guy like that,” Luck said. “You can’t. You just try to do the best you can. He was my hero growing up.” His selection as the top pick was hardly a stunner. The Colts informed Luck last week that Commissioner Roger Goodell would announce his name first.
“I realize you could go crazy trying to measure yourself to Peyton Manning every day. That would be an insane way to live,” Luck said. “I know his legendary status, really. Huge shoes to try and fill if you’re trying to do that. ... If one day I can be mentioned alongside Peyton as one of the football greats, that would be a football dream come true.” To get Griffin, Washington had dealt a second-round pick this year and its first-rounders in 2013 and ‘14 to St. Louis to move up four spots. They wound up with the QB that beat Luck for the Heisman Trophy for college football’s best player.
RG3 sang the team’s fight song during a conference call: “Hail to the Redskins! Hail vic-tor-y!” Griffin said. “That’s how I felt. It felt that good.” After Minnesota took Kalil, Jacksonville jumped up two spots to No. 5, trading with Florida neighbor Tampa Bay to get Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, the top receiver in this crop.