What the NFL draft lacked in surprise and suspense with its top two picks, it certainly delivered in challenges for the league's newest stars.
"You don't really replace a guy like that," Luck said. "You can't. You just try to do the best you can. Obviously, he was my hero growing up."
His selection as the top pick was hardly a stunner. The Colts informed Luck last week that Commissioner Roger Goodell would announce his name first. Right behind him was Griffin; no suspense attached to that pick, either.
"I realize you could go crazy trying to measure yourself to Peyton Manning every day. That would be an insane way to live," Luck said. "I know his legendary status, really. Huge shoes to try and fill if you're trying to do that. ... If one day I can be mentioned alongside Peyton as one of the football greats, that would be a football dream come true."
To get Griffin, Washington dealt a second-round pick this year and its first-rounders in 2013 and `14 to St. Louis to move up four spots. But they wound up with the Baylor QB who beat out Luck for the Heisman Trophy.
Dressed in a light blue suit that didn't quite mesh with Redskins burgundy and gold - and wearing socks that fit the team's color scheme and proclaimed "GO CATCH YOUR DREAM" - Griffin had some trouble getting the Redskins hat over his braids. He ended up wearing it just a tad crooked while he flashed big smiles for photos.
"Go catch that dream - because a lot of times when you chase something you never get to it," he said. "So if you say, `Hey, I'm going to go catch my dream,' you're already telling yourself that you're going to get it."
Less than an hour before Goodell began the draft, Cleveland and Minnesota pulled off a trade in what would become a virtual swap shop, with eight deals on opening night. The Browns moved up just one spot, from fourth to third, to ensure getting running back Trent Richardson of national champion Alabama. Minnesota received picks in the fourth, fifth and seventh rounds and still was in position to get one of the elite prospects in this draft with the fourth spot overall, Southern California offensive tackle Matt Kalil.
Like Griffin, Richardson was treated to lusty cheers from the crowd. Unlike Griffin, he had less trouble placing the Cleveland hat over his impressive dreads.
"This team really wants me," Richardson said. "They ain't going to let me slip out of their hands at all."
Elway now runs the Broncos and recently signed Manning as a free agent after Manning missed all of last season following neck surgery.
Indianapolis was the only team in the first seven picks to stay put.
After Minnesota took Kalil, Jacksonville jumped up two spots, trading with Florida neighbor Tampa Bay to get Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, the top receiver in this crop.
"It just goes to show you that anything can happen," Blackmon said, referring to the Jaguars going after him.
St. Louis got a second-rounder in the deal.
Tampa Bay finished off a wild 30 minutes of bartering by grabbing Alabama safety Mark Barron seventh overall.
Philadelphia moved up from 15 to 12, giving Seattle two later picks, then took Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.
Tampa Bay also got back into the first round at No. 31, dealing with Denver, then taking Boise State running back Doug Martin.