Why? Luck is easily the best quarterback to come out of Stanford since Elway. In addition, the Colts released Manning because they were in position to take Luck No. 1 overall in the 2012 draft, and Luck has been called the top quarterback prospect to enter the NFL since Manning. And to complete the circle, Elway signed Manning to play for the Broncos.
While Elway is a Hall of Famer and Manning will be, Luck is favored at Bovada to do something this season that neither Elway nor Manning did: Win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Elway played 11 games in his 1983 rookie season with Denver and completed just 47.5 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Rams running back Eric Dickerson, another future Hall of Famer, was the Offensive Rookie of the Year in ’83.
Manning started all 16 games with Indianapolis in 1998, winning three games and completing 56.7 percent of his passes for 3,739 yards, 26 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. It was easily the worst season of his career so far. Vikings receiver Randy Moss was named the top offensive rookie that year.
Luck is the 5-2 rookie favorite at Bovada after being a two-time Heisman finalist at Stanford. He will start from Day 1 for a Colts team that is in full rebuilding mode. But Luck's NFL career got off to quite a start as on his first NFL pass in the Colts' first preseason game, Luck connected with running back Donald Brown on a 63-yard touchdown (most of the work being Brown's).
Coincidentally, Manning's first NFL throw was an 8-yard completion to Marvin Harrison, who took it to the end zone.
Recent history seems to favor Luck to win this award because the past two No. 1 overall picks, quarterbacks Sam Bradford (St. Louis) and Cam Newton (Carolina), both won the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The second favorite for top offensive rookie in 2012 is quarterback Robert Griffin III, the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft by Washington after winning the Heisman at Baylor last season. The Redskins gave up a fortune to St. Louis to move up and take Griffin III, and he already has been named the Week 1 starter for the Skins.
Two Cleveland Browns are next on the odds with running back Trent Richardson at 11-2 and quarterback Brandon Weeden at 15-2. Richardson, the No. 4 overall pick out of Alabama, already has had a setback with arthroscopic knee surgery, but he is expected to return by the season opener. The last running back to win Offensive ROY was Minnesota's Adrian Peterson in 2007. The 28-year-old Weeden, off a record-setting career at Oklahoma State, already has been designated the Browns’ starting QB.
On the other side of the ball, former Boston College star linebacker Luke Kuechly, now with Carolina, is the 4-1 favorite to win Defensive ROY. Kuechly was drafted No. 9 overall by the Panthers after winning the Butkus Award for the Eagles in 2011. His 532 career tackles are records for the Atlantic Coast Conference and BC. Linebackers have won the Defensive Rookie of the Year in eight of the past nine seasons. Denver's Von Miller was the 2011 winner.
The second-favorite at 6-1 is Cowboys defensive back Morris Claiborne, a first-round pick out of LSU. No defensive back has won the Defensive ROY since Oakland’s Charles Woodson in 1998.
Meanwhile, the Patriots gave up a third-round pick in this year’s draft to move from No. 27 overall to No. 21 and take Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones, and Jones is the 9-1 third-favorite on this prop. In addition, the Pats dealt a fourth-round pick to Denver to move up from 31 to 25 and secure Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower, who is 12-1.
The 6-foot-5 athletic Jones, the younger brother of MMA champion Jon Jones, had 4.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for a loss last season at Syracuse. Hightower had 85 tackles a year ago, 11 for loss, four sacks and an interception for the national champion Tide.
2012 NFL team and player futures now at Bovada Sportsbook.
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