Andrew Luck

Draft Grades: Indianapolis Colts

The Colts clinched a solid grade from this draft class the minute the regular season ended. But new GM Ryan Grigson took their development to a new level with a strong draft class which should allow this team to emerge as contenders again in the not-so-distant future.

Obviously the addition of Andrew Luck was franchise-changing move. He’ll step into a starting role from day one, and should be the face of this franchise for the next 10 years and beyond. He won’t right the ship in one season, but he has all the tools necessary to make this team a Super Bowl contender again within the next three to five seasons.

I’m not as high on Coby Fleener as most, but this was a no-brainer for the Colts. Every young quarterback needs a go-to receiver, and who better to play that role for Luck than his college teammate and close friend?

Some have criticized the Colts for drafting two tight ends, but Fleener and Dwayne Allen are very different and both should play significant roles. Fleener is really more of an oversized receiver, while Allen is more of a traditional tight end. The Colts offense will likely feature sets with Fleener lined up in the slot and Allen on the line.

T.Y. Hilton is an explosive deep threat and should also contribute on special teams. He’s not a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver, but he’ll be a weapon that opposing defenses need to account for at all times.

Josh Chapman is a prototypical nose tackle. As with most 320-pounders, stamina is an issue, but he should see the field for 20-25 snaps per game even if he doesn’t win a starting job as a rookie.

Vick Ballard will likely fight with Deji Karim for the third-string running back job. His upside is limited due to a lack of explosiveness, but he could be an effective short-yardage back.

LaVon Brazill is an intriguing developmental prospect. Don’t expect to see much of him early in his career, but the Colts could keep him around as a 5th receiver and develop him for the future.

Justin Anderson is a physical lineman who could provide depth at guard and right tackle. And if he impresses early, he could push Joe Reitz for playing time.

Tim Fugger played defensive end at Vanderbilt and should be a nice fit in the Colts new hybrid defense. He has the athleticism to play both end and linebacker depending on the defensive set.

Chandler Harnish, Mr. Irrelevant, will compete with Trevor Vittatoe for the third-string quarterback job.

The Colts left a lot of holes unfilled, mainly on the defensive side of the football, but I love the fact that they surrounded Luck with a ton of talent. Too many teams address their need for a quarterback and only halfheartedly fill the holes around him. The Colts are clearly making sure that Luck is given every opportunity to succeed.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Colts, Draft Grades - 2012 Comments Off

Rounds 1-3 Winners: Indianapolis Colts

Obviously the Indianapolis Colts hit a home run with the selection of Andrew Luck. But their Day 2 selections took this draft class to a new level.

Coby Fleener was a no-brainer in the 2nd round. While I didn’t have a high 2nd-round grade on him, his value to the Colts exceeds his value to any other team due to his connection to Andrew Luck. Every young quarterback needs a security blanket, and Fleener will be that guy.

The selection of Dwayne Allen may seem redundant, but Fleener and Allen are actually very different players. Fleener is essentially an oversized wide receiver, while Allen is more of the traditional tight end. I expect the Colts to use Fleener in the slot frequently, much the same way the Packers have used Jermichael Finley in recent years. Allen, on the other hand, will be used more as a blocker and a short-yardage receiver.

In the 3rd round, T.Y. Hilton adds a new dimension to the offense. He has the speed to consistently stretch the field and, even if he’s only targeted a few times per game, his presence on the field will affect how defenses line up.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Colts Comments Off

Colts select Andrew Luck, Grade: A+

Obviously there’s no surprise here. Andrew Luck has been in the No. 1 slot on every single one of my 2012 mock drafts (and most of the 2011 mocks, before he returned to school). The Indianapolis Colts now have the face of their franchise for the next 10+ years. Even if Luck doesn’t fully live up to the lofty standards set by Peyton Manning, Luck will still lead the Colts to multiple playoff appearances once he’s surrounded by enough talent.

All that said, it’s going to be a rough rookie year for Luck. The Colts have essentially no talent on either side of the ball and realistically could be picking at the top of the draft once again in 2013.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Colts Comments Off

5 teams that will draft a quarterback

1. Indianapolis Colts/Washington Redskins
This is a done deal, so I’ll group these teams together.  We know that Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin are headed to Indy and Washington, respectively. But I will add this, don’t be surprised if Colts draft another quarterback to compete for the backup job with Drew Stanton. They own six picks in the final three rounds of the draft, and could add a guy like Russell Wilson or B.J. Coleman late in the draft.

2. Miami Dolphins
I’m not convinced the Dolphins will take Ryan Tannehill, but they will draft someone to compete with Matt Moore for the starting job. If they pass on Tannehill, Brandon Weeden or Kirk Cousins could be options on Day Two.

3. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are another candidate to land Tannehill. But even if they miss out on the Texas A&M signal caller, they’re likely to bring in someone to groom as Matt Cassel’s replacement in the 2nd or 3rd round.

4. Cleveland Browns
The Browns will have the first crack at Tannehill, but they’re unlikely to pull the trigger at No. 4. In fact, the Browns may simply chose to stick with McCoy and pass on most of the top signal callers in this draft. But that doesn’t mean they won’t find someone. Mike Holmgren is a quarterback guru, and is likely to pick out someone in the 3rd round or later that he would like to develop.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers
Obviously the Steelers aren’t in the Tannehill sweepstakes, but they’re also unlikely to enter the 2012 season with Jerrod Johnson and Troy Smith as Roethlisberger’s backups. Look for them to add a quarterback at some point, potentially as a early as the 3rd round.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Browns, Chiefs, Colts, Dolphins, Redskins, Steelers Comments Off

Colts Offseason Priority: Build Around Andrew Luck

The Indianapolis Colts are going to draft Andrew Luck. That much we know.

But what comes next?

The quickest way to turn a top draft pick into a bust is to fail to surround him with talent. And while absolutely no one expects Luck to fall flat on his face, the Colts are in danger of surrounding him with a miserable supporting cast if they don’t make some significant moves this offseason.

If the Colts veterans leave, Luck won't be left with much help.

For starters, the Colts must make every effort to retain their veteran free agents. Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Anthony Gonzalez, Jeff Saturday and Ryan Diem are set to hit the open market in March. And while the franchise tag could conceivably be used on Wayne or Saturday, it will be difficult to retain all five veterans.

If the Colts were to lose their top receivers – a very realistic possibility, considering the fact that few receivers look forward to playing with a rookie quarterback – Luck would be left with some combination of Austin Collie, Blair White and whoever else they sign/draft this offseason.

A depleted receiving corps would certainly hinder Luck’s development, but the issues on the offensive line pose a much bigger problem.

Anthony Castonzo, the Colts 2011 1st-round pick, is the only starter guaranteed to return in 2012. Joe Reitz and Jeff Linkenbach are under contract, but neither did much to earn the right to keep their jobs.

For this reason, re-signing Jeff Saturday may be the key to the Colts offseason. Having at least one veteran to anchor the offensive line would go a long way towards aiding Luck’s transition into the league. The last thing Luck needs is to be taking snaps from a rookie center, with his blind side protected by a struggling second-year pro.

Regardless of who the Colts are able to re-sign, the rest of the draft needs to be all about surrounding him with talent. There are a number of receivers and linemen who deserve consideration in the early 2nd round and it wouldn’t hurt to address another offensive position in the 3rd round as well. A rookie quarterback can never have too many playmaker at his disposal.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Colts Comments Off

Should I stay or should I go?

Andrew Luck – QB – Stanford
Luck stated before the season that his junior year would likely be his last in Palo Alto, and it’s a wise decision. He has very little to gain by sticking around, especially if his top offensive linemen David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin bolt for the NFL as well. Decision: Go

Barley's stock could soar in 2012

Matt Barkley – QB – USC
This is going to be a tough decision for Barkley. He could be the second quarterback off the board, but he could also experience a draft day fall. Landry Jones, Robert Griffin and Ryan Tannehill are also 1st-round possibilities who could leap-frog Barkley during the offseason. If he sticks around he could be the No. 1 pick in 2013.
Decision: Stay

Morris Claiborne – CB – LSU
It will be tough for Claiborne’s stock to get any higher. If he sticks around for another year he may not even be the best draft-eligible cornerback on his own team in 2012 (Tyrann Mathieu will be a junior next year). This should be an easy decision for the potential top-five pick. Decision: Go

Alshon Jeffery – WR – South Carolina
It’s been a somewhat disappointing season for Jeffery, which normally means a player should stick around. But with South Carolina’s shaky quarterback play there’s no reason to believe 2012 will be any better. It’s time to move on. Decision: Go

Dwayne Allen – TE – Clemson
This is a weak class for tight ends, and Allen may be tempted to leave as he will be considered the top prospect at the position by many. However, Clemson has taken major strides as a program this year and will enter 2012 as a dark-horse title contender. Allen could further boost his stock with another solid season as one of Tajh Boyd’s go-to weapons. Decision: Stay

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

Polian says Manning “OK” with Colts drafting Luck

The Colts now have a two-game lead in the Suck For Luck race, all but ensuring themselves a shot at drafting Peyton Manning’s eventual replacement. The only thing standing in their way could be Manning’s objection.

Apparently that won’t be an issue.

According to an AP report, Bill Polian stated “Peyton and I have spoken about [drafting his successor], and he’s OK with that.”

This has to come as a relief for Colts fans. They can now look forward to Manning’s return in 2012 (and possibly beyond) before he gives way to Luck. Few, if any, teams have ever had such a smooth transition planned out two to three years in advance. While this has been a rough year in Indy, there’s no reason to think they won’t reload and become contenders again for the next 10+ years with Luck at the helm.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Colts Comments Off

All eyes on Luck this weekend

Oregon’s defense shouldn’t pose much of a challenge to Andrew Luck but, given the Stanford Cardinal’s weak schedule, this is the one game of the regular season where all eyes will be on him.

Luck needs a strong performance in the biggest game of his career

Luck’s performance on Saturday night won’t shape the opinions of scouts, but it will impact public perception which can, on occasion, alter a player’s draft stock.

Players at the top of the draft board in November almost always start to fall once the draft process begins as people start looking for any reason to question their ability. Inevitably there will be some who over-think their evaluation of Luck (Phil Simms, I’m looking at you) and Luck can help himself by not giving them any reason to question his ability.

If Luck chokes in the biggest game Stanford has played in years (possibly ever) he will gain a reputation and some will claim that Oregon’s defense poked holes in his game.

This is a tough situation for Luck because he cannot exceed expectations. He either meets them, or he fails – at least in the eyes of the general public.

No matter what happens on Saturday, or over the course of the next five months, Luck will be at the top of my draft board, but a poor performance against the Ducks will certainly raise doubts in the minds of some.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

Could Bengals trade up for Luck?

Prior to the start of the season many believed the Cincinnati Bengals were a favorite in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. They’re now 4-2, and would likely lose out on Luck even if they ended the season on a 10-game skid.

But could they still be in market for Luck?

Thanks to the Raiders’ generosity the Bengals now own two 1st-round picks in 2012 and could own two in 2013 if the Raiders make a deep playoff run. That would give them more than enough ammunition to move up to No. 1 if they want to get their hands on Luck.

Andy Dalton looks like a decent quarterback, but he isn’t Luck and he never will be.

Dalton has the potential to be a decent starter in this league, but he isn’t someone you build around. Luck can be the cornerstone of a franchise and if any team with even the slightest concern at quarterback has an opportunity to draft him, he could be worth selecting.

Ultimately Luck-to-Cincinnati is probably a long-shot, but it’s something the Bengals would be wise to consider.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Bengals Comments Off

Andrew Luck scouting report

Andrew Luck QB Stanford
Ht: 6’4″
Wt: 235
Has all the physical tools necessary to excel at the next level. Prototypical size for a true pocket passer. Does a great job standing in the pocket and reading the field. Very patient for a college quarterback. Has the arm strength to make all the necessary throws. Best attribute may be his touch; knows just how much to put on each throw; throws a very catchable ball. Accuracy is already on an elite NFL level and should allow for a smooth transition to the next level. Decent mobility, especially considering his size; a threat to pick up yards on the ground. Above-average intelligence on and off the field; a hard worker. A true team leader on and off the field; respected by teammates and coaches.
Suffered a broken finger in 2009. Overaggressive with the ball at times; will need to learn to throw it away more often at the next level.
There is very little to criticize about Luck’s game. He is as polished as any prospect – not just quarterbacks – to enter the draft in at least a decade. As with any quarterback there will likely be a learning curve once he enters the league, but he has all the tools – both mental and physical – to be the face of a franchise for the next 10+ years. Any team with the slightest concern about their long-term future at quarterback needs to consider making a run at Luck.
School Bio
Continues Stanford’s long tradition of excellence at the quarterback position…Davey O’Brien and Heisman Trophy hopeful finalist is making a strong move up the school’s various career passing charts…already ranks seventh in passing yardage (5,626), despite having played just 24 career games…his 41 career touchdown passes rank tied for fifth all-time with Todd Husak (1996-99)…has already compiled 6,418 yards in total offense, which ranks sixth all-time…Stanford boasts an 19-5 record in his 24 career starts, including a 16-4 Pac-10 Conference ledger…has quarterbacked the Cardinal to a 4-1 record vs. Top 25 competition…has been under center for two of the most prolific offensive teams in school history…helped Stanford amass a 461 points in 2009 as a freshman and a school-record 484 points as a sophomore.
Finalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback and Maxwell Award for National Collegiate Player of the Year…has helped Stanford to a 11-1 record and a No. 5 ranking in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches’ Top 25 polls…the 11 wins and eight conference victories are both school records…has been red-hot over the last seven games, completing 152-of-201 (.756) of his passes for 1,792 yards and 15 TDs against USC, Washington State, Washington, Arizona, Arizona State, Cal and Oregon State…Stanford has won all seven of those games, marking its longest winning streak since the 1991 season…quarterbacks the nation’s eighth-highest scoring offense that is averaging 40.33 points a game…Stanford has scored 30 or more points in 11 of 12 games this season…Stanford is 19-5 with Luck as a starter…has completed 245-of-349 passes for 3,051 yards and 28 touchdowns on the season…his 28 touchdowns are Stanford single-season record, surpassing the previous mark of 27 held by John Elway (1980) and Steve Stenstrom (1993)…is just the fourth Stanford quarterback to pass for over 3,000 yards in a season, joining Steve Stenstrom (3,627; 1993), John Elway (3,242; 1982) and Todd Husak (3,092; 1998) as a member of Stanford’s elite 3,000-yard club…also set a new single-season standard with 3,489 yards in total offense, eclipsing Stenstrom’s previous mark of 3,398 set in 1993…is also on pace to set single-season records for completion percentage (70.2) and passing efficiency (166.10)…has used 17 different receivers this year, including eight players who have caught 10 passes or more…a total of 10 different players have caught TD passes…ranks first in the Pac-10 and eighth nationally in passing efficiency at 166.10…dual threat quarterback who has rushed 448 yards on 51 carries (8.6) and three TDs this season to rank as Stanford’s second leading rusher…his rushing total is the highest single-season total by a Stanford quarterback…has three runs for 50 yards or more this season (58 at Cal; 52 TD vs. Wake Forest; 51 TD at Washington)…completed 17-of-23 passes for 316 yards and four TDs in the season opener against Sacramento State…threw for 301 yards and four TDs in the first half alone…four TDs were a career high and the most by a Stanford quarterback since Trent Edwards threw for touchdowns against San Jose State in 2006…his passing total was the second highest of his career behind his 423-yard effort at Arizona in 2009…among his four TD strikes was an 81-yard bomb to Doug Baldwin in the first quarter, which ranked as the eighth longest touchdown pass in school history…completed 11-of-24 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns in Stanford’s 35-0 victory over UCLA at the Rose Bowl…connected with Ryan Whalen on a 16-yard TD pass to open the scoring and Coby Fleener on a three-yard score with 8:38 remaining in the fourth quarter…also rushed for a career high 63 yards on seven carries…completed 17-of-23 passes for 207 yards and four TDs in a 68-24 win over Wake Forest…also rank for a touchdown on a career long 52-yard run at the 7:42 mark of the second quarter…led Stanford to touchdown drives in all eight of his possessions…point total tied for the fourth highest output in Stanford history…also marked the fourth time as a starter Stanford had scored 50 or more points in a game…threw for 238 yards against Notre Dame, leading Stanford to its first win in South Bend since 1992…completed 19-of-32 passes and one TD vs. the Irish…connected with Coby Fleener on a 16-yard TD pass at the 3:37 mark of the first quarter to erase a 3-0 Notre Dame lead…completed 29-of-46 passes for 341 yards and two touchdowns in a 52-31 loss to fourth-ranked Oregon in Eugene…the completions and attempts were both a career high while the yardage was the second highest single-game total of his career… connected on TD passes to Griff Whalen and Coby Fleener and also ran for another score… completed 20-of-24 passes for 285 yards and three TDs in Stanford’s 37-35 victory over USC… engineered the game-winning, 62-yard, seven play scoring drive over the last 1:02 which culminated in Nate Whitaker’s 30-yard game-winning field goal…threw a pair of touchdown passes to Doug Baldwin and another to Konrad Reuland as Stanford posted its second straight win over USC…completed 20-of-28 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns in Stanford’s 38-28 victory over Washington State… connected on scoring strikes to Doug Baldwin, Ryan Whalen and Coby Fleener… completed 19-of-26 passes for 192 yards and one TD at Washington… connected with tight end Zach Ertz on a three yard TD pass in the third quarter…the touchdown pass was his 20th of the season, moving him into a tie for fifth on Stanford’s all-time single-season list…led Stanford to its eighth straight game of scoring 30 or more points, a school record…completed 23-of-32 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns in Stanford’s 42-17 victory over 13th-ranked Arizona…the passing total was the fourth highest of his career… Stanford improved to 4-1 against ranked teams with Luck at quarterback… completed a career-high 33 passes on 41 attempts for 292 yards in a win over Arizona State in Tempe…rallied Stanford from a 13-10, fourth quarter deficit as the Cardinal pulled out a 17-13 victory… was razor-sharp in a 48-14 victory over California with Stanford legend John Elway watching from the sideline…completed 16-of-20 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns as Stanford scored its most points ever against California in the 113th edition of the Big Game… Stanford scored on all eight of its possessions with Luck under center…also rushed for 72 yards on three carries…ran for a career long 58 yards on a first quarter carry that set up Stanford’s first touchdown of the game… closed the regular season with an outstanding performance against Oregon State… completed 21-of-30 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns in leading the Cardinal to a 38-0 victory over the Beavers…marked the third time this season he had thrown for four touchdowns in a game (Sacramento State, Wake Forest)… became the first quarterback in school history with three, 4 TD games in one season… connected with running back Tyler Gaffney on a 52-yard swing pass in the fourth quarter for his school record 28th touchdown pass of the season, breaking the previous single-season mark of 27, held by John Elway (1980) and Steve Stenstrom (1993).
Earned freshman All-America honors by, and Sporting News…first team all-freshman offense selection by Phil Steele…named national freshman of the year by… also named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team by Phil Steele, and Sporting News…enjoyed a sensational campaign in his first season at Stanford’s starting quarterback…became the first freshman quarterback to start a season-opening game since Kyle Matter in 2002 at Boston College…was the first freshman to win the starting quarterback job in fall camp since Chad Hutchinson in 1996…was at the helm of the highest-scoring offense in school history in terms of total points (434)…set a Stanford freshman passing record with 2,575 yards…only an injury, which forced him out of the Sun Bowl, stood in the way of cracking Stanford’s single-season top-10 list for passing yardage…tossed 13 touchdowns, which were the most by a Stanford frosh since Steve Stenstrom fired 15 scores in 1991…accurate passer who led the conference in passing efficiency (143.5)…ranked second among conference signal callers in total offense (244.1) and fifth in passing yards per game (214.6)…threw just four interceptions on the year, the lowest mark in the Pac-10…dual threat who also rushed for 354 yards on 61 carries (5.8)…his rushing total was the most by a Stanford quarterback since Gene Washington ran for 362 yards in 1966…his 2,929 yards in total offense ranked fifth on Stanford’s single-season charts, 459 yards shy of Steve Stenstrom’s record of 3,398, set in 1991…threw for 200 yards or more in six games, topped off by a career-high 423-yard effort at Arizona…made his collegiate debut in the season-opener at Washington State and completed 11 of 23 passes for 193 yards and one touchdown…first career TD pass was a 63-yarder to Chris Owusu at the 11:54 mark of the second quarter, which ranks as Stanford’s longest pass play of the season…completed a season-high 23 passes including two touchdowns on 34 attempts for 276 yards at Wake Forest…both touchdown passes went to Ryan Whalen…was an efficient 9 for 12 for 170 yards and one touchdown against San Jose State…completed 7 of 14 passes for 103 yards in Stanford’s win over No. 24 Washington…completed 112 of 205 passes (54.6) for 1,833 yards and nine TDs over the final eight games of the season…included in the stretch was a spectacular, 423-yard, three-TD performance at Arizona, which ranked as the third-best passing game in Stanford history in terms of yardage…became the first Stanford quarterback to throw for over 400 yards with fewer than 25 completions (21)…completed three passes of 40 yards or more in the game…totaled 443 yards in total offense which ranked second on the school’s single-game list…came back the following week to complete 17 of 28 passes for 236 yards in a 33-14 home win over Arizona State…played with poise beyond his years in engineering upsets of No. 7 Oregon and No. 11 USC in back-to-back weekends…completed 12 of 20 passes for 251 yards with two touchdowns against the Ducks…was 12 for 22 for 144 yards and two touchdowns in Stanford’s 55-21 victory over USC at the Coliseum…closed out the regular season by completing 14 of 20 passes for 198 yards in Stanford’s 45-38 win over Notre Dame…broke his right index finger in the fourth quarter against Notre Dame and was sidelined for the Sun Bowl contest vs. Oklahoma…first team All-Pac-10 academic selection…recipient of the Dewsarte-Eller Award honoring the team’s top sophomore.
Redshirt freshman.
High School
Graduated from Stratford High School in Houston, Texas…ranked as high as the No. 4 quarterback in the nation by, the No. 5 overall recruit in Texas and the No. 47 overall recruit in the nation… tabbed him No. 1 on its list of the most accurate quarterbacks in the country, as well as No. 4 on its list of pro-style QB’s, the No. 9 overall recruit from Texas and No. 68 overall player nationally…a SuperPrep All-American who ranked as the publication’s No. 10 player in Texas and No. 7 QB nationwide…passed for 7,139 career yards and 53 touchdowns in three prep seasons, completing 488 of 824 passes (59.2%)…also added 2,085 career rushing yards…threw for 2,684 yards and 19 TDs while completing 196 of 338 passes as a senior in 2007 to earn second team All-Texas honors for Class 5A teams…was named the 19-5A District MVP and added a spot on the All-America team for juniors only in 2006 when he threw for 2,926 yards and 27 TDs on 176 of 257 passing…added 1,529 yards and seven TDs as a sophomore when he completed 116 of 229 throws…complemented his throwing exploits with rushing totals of 671 yards as a senior, 714 in his junior campaign and 700 during his sophomore season…son of former Houston Oiler and West Virginia quarterback Oliver Luck, who currently serves as the athletic director at West Virginia…served as the valedictorian of Stratford’s graduating class of 2008…majoring in architectural design.
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 3 Comments