Mel Kiper Jr. could be the reason the Indianapolis Colts selected Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning with the number one overall pick in the first-round of the 1998 NFL Draft. Fast forward 14 years, and the Colts made another great decision with their number one overall pick when they drafted former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has scouted a number of athletes, and both Colts quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck are amongst the best he's ever unearthed in his career. Let's take a look at why Mel Kiper Jr. feels that Luck and Manning are two of the best players he's scouted for the NFL Draft.
NFL Draft: What made Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning special to Mel Kiper Jr.?
Peyton Manning (No. 1 pick in the 1998 NFL Draft)
Mel Kiper Jr. nailed Peyton Manning's pre-NFL Draft profile and had this to say about the QB heading into the 1998 event:
"The need for consistency and leadership at QB is more critical than ever. Manning will win and win big at the pro level, provided of course he gets the necessary assistance from his teammates and the organization."
Mel Kiper Jr. hit the nail on the head with Peyton Manning, who is one of the best quarterbacks to play in the NFL. He led the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl and the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl twice. Let's not forget the Indianapolis Colts almost selected Ryan Leaf with the number one overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft.
Fortunately, the Colts selected the Hall of Famer out of Tennessee. Peyton Manning threw for 71,940 yards and 539 touchdowns in his NFL career.
Mel Kiper Jr. has Peyton Manning as the 3rd highest graded-quarterback that he's scouted in the history of the NFL Draft.
Andrew Luck (No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft)
The Indianapolis Colts have done an exceptional job at drafting franchise quarterbacks. Mel Kiper Jr. was all-in on Andrew Luck heading into the 2012 NFL Draft and had this to say about Andrew Luck going into the 2012 event:
"Luck has it all -- size, incredible smarts, accuracy, and great work ethic. I compare him a lot to Peyton Manning, but Andrew Luck is more athletic."
Like Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck had the ability to read defenses at an elite level. During his career with the Colts, Luck threw for 23,671 passing yards and 171 touchdowns.
Mel Kiper Jr. has Luck at the number two spot in the top 10 quarterback prospects that he's scouted.
Only one NFL quarterback was placed higher than both Luck and Manning and that was John Elway, a special talent coming out of Stanford. Take a look at what Kiper Jr. said about Elway leading up to the NFL Draft.
"In my final evaluation, Elway received the highest grades one can achieve in all categories. He has no discernible weaknesses and is the prototype QB. Without question, Elway is a can't-miss All-Pro NFL QB who has the ability to make a place for himself in the Pro Football Hall of Fame," said Mel Kiper Jr.
Two of the top three highest graded quarterbacks on Mel Kiper Jr.'s list are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Colts having two quarterbacks on his list speaks volumes to how great they are at drafting franchise quarterbacks. Now Indiana is turning to Carson Wentz, and with the way Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning turned out, it's hard to believe that Wentz will fail in Indianapolis.
Also Read: Peyton Manning’s Super Bowl Wins