INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts got their guy.
They went into the 2012 National Football League Draft knowing full well they needed to find a suitable replacement for former quarterback Peyton Manning, who was released on March 6.
All along, it was thought that former Stanford signal caller Andrew Luck would be that person. And while the Colts did their due diligence and also looked hard at ex-Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, in the end there was really no doubt who Indianapolis would eventually choose.
Luck, thought to be one of the top quarterbacking prospect to come out of the college ranks in nearly 30 years, was taken with the first-overall pick Thursday night and it only took Colts officials all of five minutes into the draft to make it official.
"It's a new era, a new beginning. It's exciting. We got our guy,” Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson proclaimed Thursday night. “This guy is just flat out genuine. He doesn't shove his intelligence down your throat. He doesn't need anybody to hold him by the hand, this guy. He is ready. He's mature beyond his years."
Coach Chuck Pagano was pleased that the Colts were able to select the player who is expected to become the new foundation and the new face of the franchise.
“It's an exciting time. We got our man in the fold. Most everybody thought it was a foregone conclusion months ago. But I tip my hat to Ryan [Grigson] and to Tommy Telesco and the rest of the scouting staff," Pagano voiced. "They did a fantastic job. We did get the very best football player, the very best quarterback in this year's draft. So we feel great about Andrew being in the fold."
Earlier in the day, Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians discussed what a player of Luck’s obvious talents can bring to the franchise.
“I have no doubt in my mind that he’s going to be himself and not try to do anything that’s not him,” Arians said. “I think that is one of the most impressive things about him is that he can be himself in all circumstances with all people and not have to change who he is.”
Interestingly, Arians was the Colts’ quarterbacks coach when Manning was selected in 1998.
“It is scary. Like I said, the family, the style of person, the style of player and what [Luck] brings to your organization is extremely comparable,” he said, adding that he plans to bring the Colts’ new quarterback along in much the same way that he did with Manning and later Ben Roethlisberger when Arians was Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator. “I think you have to keep the game simple. Let them play in Technicolor. Quarterbacks have to see a picture when they call a play, and you keep it as simple as possible for them. The ones like [Luck], Peyton, Ben and those guys, they are like piranhas. They eat information and gobble it up, and then you let them run with it. They make it work, because they understand it.”
Arians said that Luck will be the team's starting quarterback from the moment that he first steps foot on the Colts’ practice field during next weekend’s rookie mini-camp (May 4-6).
“You just throw the whole offense at him and see what sticks, and then throw it at him again and see what sticks that week. You just keep throwing it at him until they’ve got it all,” he said. “Day one he is going to walk in, he’s going to be in the first group and he’s going to have an entire playbook that these guys have had for five or six weeks. I don’t have any doubt that he’s going to be caught up.”