Colts draft Andrew Luck at No. 1 news services
April 27, 2012
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After months of waiting and analyzing, Andrew Luck finally is a member of the Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts selected the former Stanford quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick on Thursday night, making him the heir to the throne Peyton Manning vacated when the Colts released him earlier this offseason.

"You don't really replace a guy like that," Luck said. "You can't. You just try to do the best you can. Obviously, he was my hero growing up."

The Stanford quarterback was told by the Colts last week that commissioner Roger Goodell would announce his name first on Thursday night. He got the nod over Baylor QB Robert Griffin III, the Heisman Trophy winner who was taken second overall by the Washington Redskins. Washington acquired the No. 2 overall pick weeks ago in a trade with the St. Louis Rams.

After being loudly booed at the outset, Goodell told a raucous crowd at Radio City Music Hall that "the season begins tonight, so let's kick if off." Then he did, congratulating Luck while the crowd chanted "RG3, RG3."

Luck left the stage, slapped hands with some fans in Colts shirts and headed to the interview room.

"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 dealt a second-round pick this year and its first-rounders in 2013 and '14 to St. Louis to move up four spots. But they wound up with the Baylor QB who beat out Luck for the Heisman Trophy.

Dressed in a light blue suit that didn't quite mesh with Redskins burgundy and gold -- and wearing socks that fit the team's color scheme and proclaimed "GO CATCH YOUR DREAM" -- Griffin had some trouble getting a Redskins hat over his braids. He ended up wearing it just a tad crooked while he flashed big smiles for photos.

"Go catch that dream -- because a lot of times when you chase something you never get to it," he said. "So if you say, `Hey, I'm going to go catch my dream,' you're already telling yourself that you're going to get it."

RG3 also 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."

Less than an hour before Goodell began the draft, Cleveland and Minnesota pulled off another trade in what would become a virtual swap shop. The Browns moved up just one spot, from fourth to third, to ensure getting running back Trent Richardson of national champion Alabama. Minnesota received picks in the fourth, fifth and seventh rounds and still was in position to get one of the elite prospects in this draft.

Like Griffin, Richardson was treated with lusty cheers from the crowd. Unlike Griffin, he had less trouble placing the Cleveland hat over his impressive dreads.

"This team really wants me," Richardson said. "They ain't going to let me slip out of their hands at all."

Instead of trading back again, the Vikings chose to stay at No. 4 and drafted left tackle Matt Kalil out of USC.

The Jacksonville Jaguars then moved up to No. 5 in a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and selected Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon. In exchange for dropping down two spots, the Bucs also received Jacksonville's fourth-round pick (No. 101).

"It just goes to show you that anything can happen," Blackmon said, referring to the Jaguars going after him.

The Rams, possibly hoping to land Blackmon at No. 6, traded that pick to Dallas and the Cowboys selected cornerback Morris Claiborne from LSU. The Cowboys gave up the No. 14 overall pick and their second-rounder (No. 45) to move up eight spots.

Finally, Tampa Bay selected safety Mark Barron at No. 7. Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill went next at No. 8 to the Miami Dolphins, and linebacker Luke Kuechly was drafted by Carolina at No. 9. Tannehill played wide receiver for most of his time in college. His coach at A&M, Mike Sherman, is Miami's offensive coordinator.

The Buffalo Bills, who spent heavily on their defensive line in free agency, rounded out the top 10 by taking South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

Combine wonder Dontari Poe of Memphis was taken No. 11 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. With Fletcher Cox still on the board, the Philadelphia Eagles moved up to No. 12 in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks and selected the Mississippi State defensive tackle. Seattle received picks Nos. 15, 114 and 172 from Philadelphia.

Notre Dame's Michael Floyd was the second wide receiver off the board, going to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 13. Floyd will team with All-Pro wideout Larry Fitzgerald to give Arizona the potentially dangerous 1-2 duo it has lacked since trading Anquan Boldin to Baltimore in 2010.

On the clock at No. 14, the Rams picked LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers.

The Seahawks made the biggest reach of the first round, taking troubled West Virginia defensive end Bruce Irvin at No. 15. Irvin, who has had numerous legal run-ins, wasn't expected to be picked until the second or third round.

"So fired up to have Bruce Irvin on the Seahawks! Speed, motor, height... Perfect for our system! #12thMan will love him coming off the edge!," Seattle coach Pete Carroll tweeted Thursday night.

The New York Jets then drafted North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples at No. 16, and Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick went to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 17.

After Kirkpatrick, defensive end Melvin Ingram went to the San Diego Chargers, linebacker Shea McClellin was taken by the Chicago Bears and the Tennessee Titans selected wide receiver Kendall Wright.

The New England Patriots jumped up six spots from No. 27 to No. 21 in a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals. New England, infamous for trading back and hording picks, also gave up their third-rounder (No. 93) to select Syracuse defense end Chandler Jones.

The Browns, who acquired the No. 22 overall pick in a trade last year with the Atlanta Falcons, took 28-year-old Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden with their second first-round selection.

There was a mini-run on offensive linemen after the Weeden selection, with Iowa tackle Riley Reiff heading to the Detroit Lions, and Stanford guard David DeCastro picked by the Pittsburgh Steeelers. The Patriots stopped the run with their second pick of the first round, taking Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower.

Hightower was the ninth and last player drafted from a Southeastern Conference school. Several draft experts have projected the SEC could have at least 11 players selected in the first round....
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