04/30/2012 - Coach Chuck Pagano on drafting Luck: "I feel like the luckiest man in the world right now. You know, it's obviously a great time, an exciting time. We've got our man in the fold. We feel like, most everybody felt like it was a foregone conclusion months ago, but I tip my hat to (general manager) Ryan (Grigson) and Tommy Telesco and the rest of the scouting staff. You can't imagine the hours, the man hours that went into this process. Not only evaluating the quarterbacks and Andrew and going through that whole process, but everything else in this draft. They did a fantastic job and what we found out in the end was again what everybody thought was a foregone conclusion. We did get the very best football player, the very best quarterback in this year's draft. We feel great about Andrew being in the fold." - The Sports Xchange
It seemed appropriate for a long time that Luck was hailed as the second coming of Peyton Manning, even if that isn't technically accurate.
After all, Indianapolis has the first pick in the draft and that second-coming stuff goes hand-in-hand with Luck being considered the logical heir to the cerebral offense Manning ran so well for the Colts. But Luck isn't exactly Manning. And, after considerable changes, the Colts aren't the same Colts.
So that begs the question -- are Luck and the Colts still a logical match?
Team owner Robert Irsay tweets all the right things about Luck, especially after the quarterbacks team visit. And as the draft draws closer the inevitable sequence of events should be (1) reports that Luck is indeed the Colts pick, (2) verification in an Irsay tweet that this is true, (3) and perhaps announcement of a signed contract. And, finally, Luck should be No. 1 after finishing second in two Heisman Trophy votes where he was expected to win at least once.
Last year he yielded the Heisman to Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, who is listed behind Luck on almost every draft list, including that of NFLDraftScout.com. But since the end of the season, more scouts questioned whether Luck really is a better pro prospect than the athletic RG3. Most still concede Luck is the safer pick.
To be clear, Luck is a truly exceptional athlete himself, with workout results similar to those of Cam Newton. He is the son of Oliver Luck, former Detroit Lions and Houston Oilers quarterback and current Athletic Director at West Virginia, and masterfully manipulated a pro-style offense coached until last year by former NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh, now with the 49ers.
Luck can make every throw required, but, like almost everyone else, doesn't play with the urgency of Manning. His athleticism, genetics and coaching resulted in amazing college statistics. He completed 713 of 1,064 passes (67 percent) for 9,430 yards, 82 touchdowns, 22 interceptions and a passer rating of 162.8.
And, while those are spectacular stats, Luck is expected finally to be the No. 1 because he is the safe pick.
Accuracy: Possesses extraordinary accuracy to all levels of the field. Consistently throws his receivers open, leading his receivers to where the defenders are least likely to be able to impact the reception or stop the receiver from gaining additional yardage. Zips the deep out low and outside. Excellent touch down the seam to fit the ball between the linebacker and safety over the top. Leads his backs on swing passes and receivers on slants/crossers so that they do not have to break stride. Rare accuracy extends to the deep ball, as well, as he throws a tight spiral with good trajectory that makes his passes easy to track over the shoulder. Trusts his accuracy too much, at times, showing a willingness to throw too often into coverage. In his two multiple INT games of his young career (Oregon 2010, Arizona State 2010) all four of his interceptions were thrown into double coverage.
Arm Strength: Doesn't boast a Matt Stafford-like howitzer, but has plenty of arm strength to make every NFL throw. Fires the deep out from the opposite hash without having to wind up. Confident in the pocket despite pressure around him, as he's shown the ability to make 50+ yard throws even with defenders pulling him down (Arizona State).
Setup/Release: Takes virtually all of his snaps from under center. Quick-footed and balanced in dropping back, scanning the field. Clearly is comfortable in the pocket, stepping up, sliding left or right and dipping his shoulder to avoid contact while setting up to throw. Rarely retreats or takes his way away from the secondary to look at the rush. Boasts a textbook throwing motion. Has an efficient over-the-top release, stepping into the throw and ending with a clean follow-through. The ball doesn't explode out of his hand as it does some passers with greater arm strength, but the fluid motion -- like a smooth golf swing -- generates plenty of torque.
Reading Defenses: Put simply, it is Luck's recognition of defenses that might be his most extraordinary accomplishment. Had full freedom to call audibles at the line and takes advantage of his recognition to improve the offense's chance at a successful play, including often switching from passing plays to handoffs and bootlegs. Often will look one way and throw the other, leaving defenders with very little time to react. As mentioned previously, he does need to improve his decision-making, at times, as he will occasionally take unnecessary risks throwing the ball into double coverage.
On The Move: Perhaps the most underrated element of his game. Possesses very good straight-line speed for the quarterback position, as well as vision, enough mobility to evade defenders in the open field (not in tight quarters, however) and good strength. Doesn't take unnecessary hits and looks to slide or run out of bounds when he scrambles, but isn't afraid of lowering his shoulder to get the first down or score.
Intangibles: A winner who helped elevate the Stanford program. Highly intelligent; was the valedictorian at Stratford High. Elected to return for his fourth year at Stanford in large part due to the fact that he wanted to finish his degree. Father, Oliver Luck, is a former West Virginia and Houston Oiler quarterback who now serves as the Athletic Director at his alma mater.