Jon Gruden isn’t the greatest color guy. It seemed like Jaws and Chucky were in a constant battle for the crown of “most positive when there’s no reason to be positive” in the annals of the terrible football announcing hall of fame. Mercifully, Monday Night Football has ditched the three-man group for the 2012 season.
What Gruden does very well, however, is break down quarterbacks during his yearly draft special, and his time with Andrew Luck was probably the best of the bunch this year. The words “Spider 2/3 Y Banana” are now permanently etched in my brain.
Look, there isn’t much left to say about the Stanford product that hasn’t already been said. Deemed the best QB prospect in years, Luck is expected to do what Peyton Manning first did for the Colts 14 years ago. Expectations are high, but there seems to be little doubt about Luck’s ability to revive a franchise.
Weight: 234 Pounds
Born: September 12, 1989
40-yard dash: 4.67
Vertical jump: 36′ inch
Broad jump: 124′ inch
3 Cone Drill: 6.80
20-yard Shuttle: 4.28
Arm length: 32′ 5/8 inches
Hands: 10′ inches
2011: 13 GP 3,517 Yards 71.3 Comp % 37 TD 10 Int
2010: 13 GP 3,338 Yards 70.7 Comp % 32 TD 8 Int
2009: 12 GP 2,575 Yards 56.2 Comp % 13 TD 4 Int
What the experts say
Doesn’t have an elite arm, but is a “plus” in just about every other facet of the game. Is about as safe a franchise quarterback prospect you can find.
As far as ability, I don’t think he’s quite in the Peyton Manning mold. But I think he’s close. I think he’s got a little more ability than a Matt Ryan when he came out. But, I don’t put him up there as a once in a lifetime guy. I’ve never said that about him. I think he’s in the same category with a Bradford. . . I’m not sitting here telling you that I think he’s going to be Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.
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.
An outstanding pro day workout, which confirmed Luck’s ability to make all the throws and quieted questions about his arm strength, has cemented his status as the top overall prospect and the best choice for the Colts as they begin the post-Peyton Manning era.
[Talking to] everybody and anybody, I have never yet heard a dissenting vote about Andrew Luck…If he’s not great, then everybody is wrong. Because nobody has stepped up and said Andrew Luck is slightly overrated, not as good as advertised, over-hyped, or this concerns me about his game. Nothing concerns anybody about Andrew Luck.
Luck has better speed and athletic ability than expected. He has great concentration and the work habits that are needed to be a successful NFL quarterback. He completed 77.8 percent of his passes in the fourth quarter, which is six percent better than the next-best QB in the draft (Brandon Weeden at 71.6). That’s very telling of Luck’s ability.
Luck has been the top NFL prospect in the nation for almost two years and nothing has changed. He’ll be the first player selected in the draft and the Indianapolis Colts will barely notice the bump in the road as they transition from the Peyton Manning era.
As much as scouts are impressed with Luck’s overall ability, there are still concerns about whether he possesses elite arm talent. He shows on tape the ability to make all the throws with zip, velocity and touch, but evaluators aren’t convinced he possesses arm strength comparable to elite talents like Matt Stafford or Jay Cutler.
We have a hard time recalling a draft prospect that’s been universally touted as 100% bust proof. Ironically, it does remind us of the praise heaped on a quarterback from Tennessee in 1998.
It’s a reach to suggest Luck will immediately change the fortunes of the Colts, as it even took Manning a few years to get adjusted to the NFL. One thing is for sure, he’ll face a ton of pressure in his first year.