By David Hollinshead, Staff Writer
When the Indianapolis Colts drafted Andrew Luck first overall in the NFL Draft in April, every expert was hailing him as the Colts’ new franchise quarterback who will “replace” Peyton Manning for the next 10 years or so. It’s interesting how he has yet to take an NFL snap, and his career seems to already be decided as a success. Might as well put his bust in Canton now, why wait 30ish years to put him in the Hall of Fame. You won’t find me hating on him, but I think that as easy as it is to fall in love with his measurable and college tape, we should take a look at what his future may hold for him. Without making any ridiculously bold predictions like “perennial pro-bowler” and comparing him to Peyton Manning every five minutes.
Andrew Luck is an athletic freak. That’s the only way to describe him. It’s rare for a quarterback to be given the term at all, but to still be as effective in the pocket as Luck is. Luck stands at a tall 6-foot-4 and weighs a sturdy 234 pounds. He ran 40 yards in 4.67 seconds which is amazing for a quarterback, and was a top performer in the broad jump, three cone drill, and 20 yard shuffle. It’s not only those measurables, but his intangibles set him apart from any other quarterback in recent memory. His college film shows he has the ability to pick apart a defense with excellent reads and can make every NFL throw. You also saw him running down the sidelines, bringing in a one handed catch for a touchdown. His past, you can’t debate, it’s his future situation that’s interesting now.
The Colts just departed from Peyton Manning, the quarterback that literally carried them for his entire career, and here comes Luck who is doomed to fail. If he doesn’t measure up to Manning, you can no doubt bet that people will be bringing up his predecessor to no end. Team owner Jim Irsay brought in head coach Chuck Pagano to replace Jim Caldwell after a disappointing 2–14 season. Pagano is a good coach. He was last with the Baltimore Ravens as a defensive coordinator, keeping in place the Ravens great defence of probably the last ten years. He doesn’t have an offensive mind though, so Luck won’t be receiving too much progression help from him. It will be coming from Bruce Arians, who last coached the Pittsburgh Steelers for the past four years. He contributed in the development of Ben Roethlisberger, who was named to his first pro-bowl once Arians took over and won a Super Bowl title the year after. Luck is in good hands with Arians.
The division that Luck is going into is another plus to help him out. The Houston Texans, the division winners last year, appear to be the team to give the Colts the biggest amount of trouble. The Texans defense looks to be getting better and better, making them tough to de-throne. Their front seven is loaded, despite losing Mario Williams. With JJ Watt, Brooks Reed, Brian Cushing, and newly-drafted Whitney Mercilus, they can put the pressure on. The Texans also have Pro Bowl cornerback Johnathan Joseph and riser Kareem Jackson covering receivers that are less than starting calibre, aside from Reggie Wayne
The Tennessee Titans look to take second place, just for being a better all-around team that’s not in the middle of a rebuilding phase like the Colts, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they split the season series. If the Colts are built right and quickly, it won’t be long before Luck can overcome them. The lowly Jaguars round out the division. Two easy wins a year for Luck, and isn’t that music to every rookie quarterback’s ears? The division is set up perfectly for Luck, giving him challenges at every stage of his career, assuming that things stay the same, which they definitely won’t, but we can only live in what we know now. How many times though have we heard of the “next big franchise quarterback” and they let us down?