Regardless of how you project Luck’s prospects at the next level, you have to admit (at least I hope you do) that it’s easy to get behind a college player that just seems to get “it”. Luck bypassed bigger money in 2010 by opting to stay in school, work on his game and finish what he started in 2009. The Fiesta Bowl didn’t end as he had hoped, losing to the Oklahoma State in a high scoring affair and losing the Heisman to the Baylor’s dynamic quarterback, Robert Griffin III, but Luck leaves college with no regrets and with a first pick selection in the NFL draft guaranteed come April.
Let’s zoom in and take a closer look starting with his college production:
Even his impressive college statistics don’t portray exactly what Luck brings to the table at his position. While many believe that Luck is the single best quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning in 1998, many more believe that you have to go back even further, to 1983 and John Elways, also from Stanford. Put me with the latter, but it’s very close. Either way, he’s going to be a great one.
Let’s break down some of the video to see some of the important tangibles that are considered must-haves for the ability to develop professional quarterbacks from the college ranks. It’s rare that a prospect emerges containing so many of them before even being drafted.
It shouldn’t be lost that Stanford has an extremely capable offensive line, a pro-style offense and capable receivers that will be playing at the next level in 2012.
1:10 – Smooth footwork, great body position, high release point and drives through the throw with a great wrist-snap and follow through strong on his left leg (right leg pulling off the ground). This allows him to drive the ball well to the receiver and past the defending defensive back.
1:25 – In the shotgun, stays patient in his drop while he checks through his progression. Again, finishing with a nice driving pass with a shortened follow-through due to his offensive lineman being pushed back into his throw.
1:50 – Unpressured out of the shotgun, Luck again quickly runs through his progression by looking out wide first, followed by the seam until checking it down with a nice, low, driven ball. Again, not the follow through onto his left leg, through the pass with his right leg coming off the ground, on even this short route.
2:30 – Now sliding to his left, throwing off balance but notice the wrist-snap which allows him to spin a nice ball with touch over the defensive back and to his leaping receiver
2:43 – Note his quick feet on the drop to get himself in position to drop in a nicely thrown corner ball. The trajectory of the ball from the touch makes it nearly impossible to be intercepted and would take a much taller and well-positioned DB to make any sort of play on it.
5:07 – Again, notice the shoulder positioning that he uses to get the touch on the ball to drop it into his receiver at a trajectory where only one player can make a play on the ball.
5:18 – This is what separates him from Peyton Manning to being more Elway-like. The quick read to his right, feels the pressure and has the ability to immediately take what the defense gives him on the ground with the smarts to get out of bounds to avoid the hit.
5:30 – From under center again, he goes through his progression but quickly picks up the incoming defender and rolls from the pocket, ultimately utilizing a stop-move to pick up the first.
5:40 – Roll-out to his right on a designed play, but snaps through the throw with his shoulders squaring to his target … allowing him to drive the ball on target.
7:03 – Sheer arm strength without a lot of set-up and 55 yards in the air with ease of motion. Luck’s throwing mechanics would likely allow for a 70 yard, in the air, pass.
The rest of the video is more of the same, showing amazing consistency in his mechanics and that beautiful throwing motion with a high release point, the plane of shoulders, wrist-snap and most of all, the weight transfer that when combined with the rest of his motion, provides for that velocity and accuracy that he is known for.
Aside from his throwing motion, Luck remains a fantastic leadership presence, within the huddle and on the sidelines, while maintaining an air of humility and confidence. He leads by example, is a tireless worker and does not settle for mediocre.
Negatives: Luck’s footwork can sometimes break down as he relies on his arm strength to make the throws that come easily to him, sometimes throwing off of his back foot. Additionally, one notable area of weakness I have often seen is that in his play action motion, routinely going through the motion of the play-action and not “selling” it. As he gets accustomed to the NFL, this will be an area of focus and will also greatly increase his results. Should he pair with Peyton Manning in Indi, who is one of the strongest play-action quarterbacks in the NFL today, he’ll learn the subtle details of effective play-action techniques at a much quicker pace.
The single remaining negative attribute may be the most striking and concerning – that terrible Amish-style beard. That HAS to go!
When watching Luck’s videos, it’s easy for his motion and positive attributes to almost seem redundant and, dare I say, boring in their repetitive use. But it is just that fact that makes Andrew Luck the strongest quarterback prospect that we have seen in almost three decades.
In fantasy drafts, if you will be needing a quarterback at any point within the next three-to-four years, I urge you to strongly consider the addition of Luck with the earliest possible pick. Strong words I know, but words I’m also willing to put my full-faith behind.
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