Andrew Luck News & Updates
Posted 09 December 2010 - 04:39 PM
Posted 09 December 2010 - 04:57 PM
Posted 09 December 2010 - 04:57 PM
Posted 09 December 2010 - 05:01 PM
What stands out immediately about Luck is that he has one of the quickest throwing motions since Dan Marino. When Luck lets it fly, his passes are laser fast and accurate—truly beautiful. Aside from that, Luck has quintessential NFL measurables: 6’4”, 230-plus pounds, very intelligent and instinctual.
The red shirt sophomore has wonderful footwork in his drop backs and when throwing the football. Luck has light and graceful feet that give him unexpected mobility, allowing him to almost glide through the pocket to avoid would-be sackers. As such, Luck has underrated scrambling ability, and his feet also allow him to take a very low number of sacks or have his throws affected by pass rushers.
At Stanford, he is currently playing in a pro-style offense and getting pro-style coaching under head coach and former NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh. That gives him a leg up on prospects who play in spread offenses with everything called from the sideline.
One thing that NFL coaches will love about Luck is that he does not give up big plays to the defense. His footwork allows him to avoid sacks and still throw beautiful passes which defenders cannot intercept. His quick release also prevents defenders from getting a quick bead on his throws, which along with his accuracy makes Luck very difficult to intercept.
Luck also has “it”, the ability to play well in big games and in big moments, which is a must for NFL quarterbacks. In other words, Luck does not just feast on weak Pac-10 opponents; he saves his best for the likes of USC and Oregon. Luck has a very strong arm, he is not all release; he can easily drive the ball down the field and has little trouble fitting the ball into tight windows.
Not only did the Stanford signal caller put up some impressive numbers, but also he was the one mostly responsible for taking Stanford’s football program from obscurity to a BCS bowl.
The Texas boy also has the intangibles. The high school valedictorian is one of the brightest student athletes in the nation, and despite his youth, Luck displayed leadership skills from day one, which he backs up with work ethic and toughness.
The biggest issue with Luck is that he has one of the weirdest throwing motions in college football because it is one part beautiful and one part hideous. And this is not about his occasional tendency to somewhat sidearm the ball—I actually don’t mind that.
Luck has an occasional wind-up in his throwing motion that causes him to drop the ball beneath his waist before he throws the ball.
His wind-up is so weird because unlike say, The Golden Calf of Bristol, Luck’s wind-up adds no momentum to the ball and is in many ways completely separate from his actual throwing motion.
Also unlike The Golden Calf of Bristol, Luck doesn’t always have a wind-up. It's like he winds the ball around and then brings the ball into a normal throwing motion and lets it fly. Luck has to learn to just cock the ball without throwing in a wind-up beforehand in all situations.
It must be said that there has been a noticeable decline in the rate of his wind-up in his throws from his red shirt freshman to red shirt sophomore year.
The total elimination of this wind-up will not affect his actual throwing motion in any way but dramatically speed up the delivery time from decision to release.
Luck also has a slight tendency to float balls when throwing 15-yard outs, digs and back shoulder fades. It’s not that Luck lacks the throwing motion to put the ball on more of a rope, but it’s that he is aiming it. If he does that in the pros more often than not, those balls will be batted down or worse intercepted.
If Andrew Luck chooses to declare for the 2011 NFL Draft, he will, regardless of which team has the pick, be the No. 1 player chosen overall. He is the caliber of franchise quarterback who can single-handedly change a team’s long-term prospects and give a franchise its previously lacked focus and direction.
While Luck isn’t perfect—he needs some refining of his mechanics and his tendency to float the ball—he is the cleanest college quarterback I have ever analyzed.
And the fact that he is intelligent, coachable, has incredible physical talent, toughness and an incredible work ethic give credence to the notion that while he is a very refined quarterback, he is still only scratching the surface. This kid doesn’t just have it, he is it.
Posted 09 December 2010 - 05:07 PM
That said, I can't help but be fooled that this guy is already any NFL MVP, I mean he CAN'T fail right?
Basically I am trying not to get my hopes up... :S
Posted 09 December 2010 - 05:08 PM
He processes information quickly. He scans the field and is able to work the progression of the play. By working the progression, we mean check out receivers in order to see if they are covered and getting the ball to the open guy. He has the vision to find the next receiver quickly.
He has made good decisions. He has thrown for 4464 yards, with 48 TDs with only 6 interceptions. That gives him a QB rating of 168.3. He is a playmaker and has 5 rushing TDs. He converts an above average number of 3 downs which is critical in the NFL.
He can run but is much more of a pocket passer than most other spread QBs. That will give him an advantage in the draft over a Tim Tebo or Chase Daniel. He moves around in the pocket to avoid the rush but still keeps his vision down field. He is not nearly as accurate moving as he is when he can set his feet. If he goes to a team like the Lions, he had better work on that because behind the Detroit offensive line he will be running a lot.
He has above average but not great arm strength. Many of his long TDs are due to hitting excellent wide receivers that are able to run the ball after the catch.
He has very good touch and a quick release. However, on swing passes he tends to push the ball out rather than throw it. That is surprising given how often the team runs that play.
He does not have exceptional accuracy. He has completed 68.3% in 08 as compared to nearly 77.8 percent by Colt McCoy. While some of those incompletions are throw-aways, he does miss more open receivers than you would like.
A lot of his statistics come in garbage time. The Sooners scored more than 60 points in their last 5 games. When a team is down by 40 points, their defensive backfields are easy pickings and the D-lines are gassed.
Most of the passes in the Sooner playbook are out of the shotgun formation. That brings us to perhaps the biggest concern that GMs have about not only Bradford but almost all of the college spread formation quarterbacks—what about his footwork? The QB is under center for nearly all plays in the NFL.
Traditionally, shotgun or spread offense rookie QBs struggle with the 3, 5 and 7 step drops fundamental to the NFL passing game. Many high pick shotgun/spread formation QBs have failed. Nearly always their downfall has been due to footwork/accuracy problems. It is nearly impossible to have NFL level accuracy by a quarterback that lacks consistent footwork. The passing windows are microscopic compared to those in college even in good conferences. Timing of the throw is critical and timing is determined by footwork.
A second and nearly equally significant concern is the ability of Bradford to make pre-snap reads. An NFL quarterback must be able to read the defense before the snap to determine if the play needs to be changed or not. The Oklahoma system involves the team looking to the sideline to get the play. The reading of the D is done by the coaching staff in the booth, relayed to the sideline and given to the QB.
In the NFL, the QB must make the reads. Is the opponent going to blitz? Are they in zone, man or a combination coverage? Each of these possibilities requires different patterns and play calls. Many of the Big 12 QBs have never been responsible for making those reads. The problem is made more significant by the multiple defenses the NFL uses. While he had NFL quality receivers, they were not facing NFL quality defensive backs. These guys are bigger, faster, smarter, and hit a lot harder than any college conference defenses.
Yet another major question the NFL will have is Bradford's ability to anticipate the player coming open and hitting the spot where he will be when the ball gets there. Often that ability is what separates the very good quarterback from the Hall of Fame one. The Sooner offense is not built to require that. Almost all the patterns require a WR to stop in the open area because the Big 12 plays so much zone. In cases where he has faced man coverage, he has at least convinced me that he can anticipate the open receiver.
I think another year would be very helpful for Bradford. However, with so many of the NFL bottom feeders in such desperate need of QB help and so few quality prospects in the senior class of 08, it is more than likely that he will declare. He will be the first or second QB drafted depending on the combine. He will not be able to play in most of the college all star games because he is an underclassman. His prime competitor for the first QB taken will be Georgia QB Matt Stafford.
In the preseason rankings, Stafford was ranked #1. Matt and the team did not have the kind of season most of the experts had projected and his stock has dropped a little. I project now that one of them will be the choice of the 0-16 Lions with the first pick. The other could go in the top 10 to Kansas City, Jacksonville, or San Francisco. If not, the second QB might fall to the mid teens with Minnesota, Chicago, or even Washington or Philadelphia depending on what they do with their current starters. But don't feel sorry for the second in the draft. He will still be set for life with his first contract. That is one of the biggest problems the NFL has.