INDIANAPOLIS — It’s official: Andrew Luck will be the No. 1 choice in Thursday night’s NFL draft.
Rather than keeping the NFL’s worst-kept secret under wraps until Luck’s name rolled off the lips of commissioner Roger Goodell, general manager Ryan Grigson decided there was no reason to delay the inevitable: Luck will become the successor to Peyton Manning as Indianapolis’ quarterback and the new face of the franchise.
“We didn’t the see the point in prolonging what the world already knows,” Grigson told reporters Tuesday after a voluntary mini-camp workout. “It’s about Andrew and we wanted to do the right thing by him.”
The decision is no surprise. Last Wednesday, Grigson said the Colts had made a decision about who to take with the first choice but declined to say whether it would be Luck, the Heisman Trophy runner-up, or Robert Griffin III, the Heisman winner. Less than 24 hours later, The Associated Press learned that the choice would be Luck barring an unforeseen accident.
Indy has been preparing for Luck’s arrival for a while.
Grigson said last week that the team made its decision a couple of weeks earlier and that was one reason they didn’t have Griffin come to Indy for an interview.
The Stanford quarterback plans to have his entire family in New York on draft night. He’ll fly to Indianapolis on Friday, where he will take questions from local reporters and then meet fans at Lucas Oil Stadium, his new home field.
“I’ve got his number now. I’ve been waiting to give him a call until everything else was figured out,” said quarterback Drew Stanton, who the Colts acquired in a trade with the New York Jets last month. “Try and do that and reach out to him and let him know I’m going to be every bit of a resource that I can for him.”
Stanton and Trevor Vittatoe are the only quarterbacks currently on Indy’s roster, something that will change Thursday night.
But that’s not the reason Grigson made the impromptu announcement Tuesday.
“Really, on behalf the kid, you try to make things a little bit easier on his part. Go ahead and make the decision. Go ahead get it out there officially that he’s our guy,” new Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “The intangibles are off the chart. You know the skill set. You’ve seen his body of work. He’s a gym rat. He’s a football junkie. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s physical. He can make every throw out there. He’s a great leader in his own way.”
The Colts have not had the first pick in the draft since 1998 when they selected Manning.
They will also have the final pick Thursday night, marking the first time a non-expansion team has had both the first and last pick in a draft since 1967.
The then-expansion Houston Texans also had the first and last pick in 2002.