Let’s begin with what should be an obvious statement of fact if it isn’t already: the Colts are taking Andrew Luck with their first overall pick in this year’s draft.

It may not seem obvious now, and Jim Irsay would certainly like you to believe that Indianapolis is entertaining the idea of choosing Robert Griffin III. Realistically that amounts to little more than a useless smokescreen. Irsay isn’t obligated to tip his hand in any direction regarding the Colts’ intentions, but to make grand statements intended to leave teams selecting behind the Colts guessing is an odd practice.

The advantage of holding the first overall pick is that you control and anchor the draft, and verbal games are only necessary during a year when there’s no clear top pick. Last year we had that when there was uncertainty surrounding Cam Newton. This year we don’t, not even a little bit.

That said, Griffin and Luck are close, and perhaps uncomfortably close. Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland spoke to Jim Harbaugh, and while he heavily praised his former quarterback at Stanford, he also did something a little unexpected.

Harbaugh couldn’t decide between Luck and Griffin.

From Grossi:

“He was a 4.0 student, his test scores were extremely high,” Harbaugh said of Griffin. “This was a Stanford kid. Maybe a month after (Griffin’s) visit, he called and said he was going to go to (Baylor). That left a bruise. I really wanted him on our team. I’ve been a big fan ever since.”

As you may expect, Harbaugh praised Luck to high heaven.The two of them rejuvenated the Stanford football program together and Harbaugh led you to believe Luck was more responsible than the coach.

But when asked if the choice between the two were an easy choice or a tough one, Harbaugh answered, “A tough choice.” He likes Griffin a lot, too.

Grossi also spoke to Charlie Casserly, the former Texans general manager and current draft analyst who said that the race is indeed close, but Luck still has the clear advantage.

“First, there are obvious differences in size. Luck is 6-4, 240. (Griffin) is 6-2-plus and about 220. So size (goes to Luck), which equals the durability part of it.

“Second, Luck has already run a pro-style offense, which means the checks at the line, the reads, all that, and he does it at an A-plus level. Griffin hasn’t done any of that yet, so you haven’t seen him do it.

“So one guy is the prototype in all areas and he’s played at a high level. The other guy has talent, but hasn’t done that. So to me those two things separate them right off the bat.”

It’s Stanford’s pro-style offense that still raises Luck’s value and experience, and lingers as a minor stigma over Griffin, despite his elite athleticism. In a league that’s quickly shifted its emphasis towards the air, having a quarterback who can stand and deliver in the pocket is paramount. But that Newton guy isn’t a pocket passer, and he was sort of alright during his rookie campaign.

This feels like a year when the difference between the No. 1 and No. 2 pick is nearly non-existent.

And now you want to know the rest of the story…

  • Bill Parcells said he’d be a hypocrite if he didn’t at least consider filling in for Sean Payton if he was asked to, and referred to Payton as a “dear, dear friend.” [Chris Mortensen]
  • Darrelle Revis thinks Bill Belichick is a jerk. [ESPN Boston]
  • In his press conference at the conclusion of the owners meetings Wednesday afternoon Roger Goodell wouldn’t set a timetable for his ruling on the punishments that will be handed down to players for their involvement in the Saints’ bounties. He also said that the debate regarding an 18-game schedule could resume either in the fall or early next year. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
  • A unique set of circumstances led to a potential loophole for Reebok to cash in on the Tim Tebow Jets jersey bonanza before Nike begins its new licensing deal with the NFL on April 1. But that convenient and lucrative loop hole was promptly closed by a judge who granted Nike a temporary restraining order that blocks Reebok’s production and sale of Tebow jerseys. [Darren Rovell on Twitter]
  • The owners are still gushing over Goodell’s work as commissioner over the past year. [Palm Beach Post]
  • Pete Carroll is quite familiar with Mark Sanchez since he coached the Jets quarterback at USC. Carroll said he expects Sanchez to respond well to Tebow’s presence, but added that there’s “no question this is a ripple and a force in their locker room.” [Rich Cimini]
  • The Bears signed Devin Thomas to a one-year deal, bringing in another fringe wide receiver to add depth, and a quality special teams player. [Bear Goggles On]
  • Last night’s episode of South Park was rather fantastic, and the show’s crosshairs were focused on the pandemic-like spread of idiotic memes like Tebowing and Bradying. [KSK]
  • Jeff Ireland will be doing the QB prospect tour throughout the rest of this week, beginning with Ryan Tannehill’s Pro Day today, and then moving on to see Brock Osweiler tomorrow. [Ben Volin]
  • Should the Chiefs consider Tannehill? [Arrowhead Addict]