By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Indianapolis Colts kicked off the 2012 National Football League (NFL) Draft by taking Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick on Thursday at Radio City Music Hall.
Luck, considered one of the most polished quarterback prospects in recent years, will be taking over the reins of the Colts' offense from four-time NFL Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning.
The selection came as no surprise, as the Colts had announced earlier this week that they planned to select Luck, the son of former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck.
Luck was handed a No. 12 Indianapolis jersey, to match the uniform number he wore at Stanford.
"That's the number I'm wearing this year and hopefully for many years to come," Luck said in an NFL Network interview.
Luck, a classic drop-back passer, completed 67 percent of his passes at Stanford, throwing for 82 touchdowns and just 22 interceptions in compiling a 31-7 record as a starter.
The second choice in Thursday's first round also held no suspense as the Washington Redskins, as widely expected, took Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, popularly known as RG3.
Griffin, a running threat as well as a strong-armed passer, narrowly edged out Luck as winner of the Heisman Trophy award in December as the outstanding U.S. college football player.
The first shock of the draft came right afterwards, as the Cleveland Browns, who had been set to pick fourth, swapped places with the Minnesota Vikings to be able to select third and used the pick to claim Alabama running back Trent Richardson.
Minnesota, who received Cleveland's fourth-round pick (No. 118 overall), a fifth-rounder (139) and seventh-round selection (211) in return for dropping back one spot, then named Southern California offensive tackle Matt Kalil as their choice.
The prime-time event Thursday will go through the 32 first-round selections in reverse order of the NFL season finish, down to Super Bowl champions New York Giants with the last pick.
The second and third rounds of the draft will be held on Friday, with rounds four through seven conducted on Saturday.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Steve Ginsburg)