What do you get when you add Peyton Manning’s coverage-reading skills to Tom Brady’s ability to hang in the pocket? What if you included Aaron Rodgers’ arm strength and escapability, as well as Drew Brees’ penchant for moving defenders? If you mixed in Cam Newton’s size and athleticism as well as Ben Roethlisberger’s ability to throw with defenders hanging off of him, what would you get? The answer is Andrew Luck.
Physically, Andrew Luck is a stud. He’s 6’4”, 240 pounds. He had a comparable 40-yd dash time to Cam Newton at the Combine. He can throw the ball out of the stadium. The scariest part for NFL defenses is that he is as cerebral as any quarterback in the league, and his overall game is already very mature.
Aside from being able to physically make every single type of throw, Andrew Luck’s anticipation is great. He holds and moves defenders like a 10-year veteran. He plays the position the way it’s meant to be played. He can scramble and make plays late in the down with his legs, but he does this as a last resort, when the protection has completely broken down or when the coverage has taken the design of the play away.
The most impressive aspect of Luck’s game is his ability to maintain his downfield focus at all times. Whether he’s moving within the pocket or escaping and buying time, Luck looks to throw the ball first. This is the most dangerous type of athletic quarterback because it makes teams have to defend his running ability in space as well as receivers moving to get open downfield. When quarterbacks move and their first instinct is to run, defenses can win more easily, attacking the quarterback with less fear of what’s going on behind them. As soon as they see the quarterback go, they play him like a running back. With Andrew Luck, that isn’t the case, and it creates lots of big plays for the Colts.
Don’t misunderstand us, Luck still has his flaws. For instance, in his rookie season, Luck would sometimes lose his throwing base when he moved – his feet would get too close together. This led to a lot of inaccurate throws. Yet that footwork improved in 2013, and it should figure to be even better this season.
Luck still does make the occasional unexplainable mistake. He sometimes misses really easy throws that you never see a top quarterback miss. Sometimes he’ll trust his arm too much and make an ill-advised pass. However, none of these are symptoms of huge flaws in his game. The flaws he does have are very fixable, and it’s amazing how much he’s grown as a passer in his first 2 seasons. Do not be surprised if a year from now he is number 1 on this QB ranking list.