NFL's Future

2014 NFL Mock Draft

Is Andrew Luck the Perfect Prospect?

Posted by Brad On August - 30 - 2011

Who is the better NFL prospect?

Andrew Luck has drawn comparisons to the gold standard of NFL quarterback prospects, Peyton Manning.  Manning was viewed as a surefire elite quarterback coming out of Tennessee.  He tantalized scouts and NFL personnel with his out-of-this-world abilities as a passer and has probably exceeded even those lofty expectations.

Now, comes Andrew Luck.  The “golden boy” that would have been the number one pick in the 2011 NFL Draft but decided to stay in college for his RS junior season.  Luck is the frontrunner for the Heisman and is expected to lead his team into the hunt for the National Championship.

Luck is already the consensus number one prospect in the 2012 NFL Draft but the question remains is he the perfect prospect and how does he compare with Peyton Manning.  With the college football season less than five days away, we look at the new gold standard of NFL quarterback prospects, Andrew Luck.

Arm Strength

Some in the media have questioned Luck’s arm strength and pointed to the lack of arm strength as a deterrent for Luck as a Peyton Manning-like prospect.  I am on the other side of this argument and would actually grade Luck’s arm strength higher than Manning’s.  Neither Luck nor Manning have rag arms and both can make every throw necessary.  Luck’s arm is not that of a Ryan Mallett but he is more than capable of spreading the ball to any spot on the field.

Edge to Luck

Accuracy/Touch

There is no comparison to Peyton Manning’s ability to put the ball where he wants but Luck is as good as anyone outside of Manning in the accuracy department.  The only area of weakness in Luck’s game is his accuracy deep.  Not that it’s bad but he needs to work on his ability to throw into tight spots down the field.  Luck has a knack for throwing the ball where his receiver will be that Manning didn’t have in college.  Manning has developed this attribute over time and Luck seems that to have been born with this ability.

Edge to Luck

Throwing Mechanics

Peyton Manning has perfect throwing mechanics and if you want to teach a youngster how to throw you would try to get them to emulate Manning’s throwing motion.  However, Luck would probably be a close second in this department.  Luck’s footwork in the pocket and in his drops keeps him on balance at all times and allows for accurate passes.  This is a tough one to give an edge to either but Manning has always been a pillar of mechanical perfection.

Edge to Manning

Athleticism/Size

The measurable clearly go to Luck.  Luck is thick compared to Manning coming out of Tennessee.  Luck has the build of linebacker but not Brady Quinn bulky where it affects throwing.  Luck’s ability to scramble and keep plays alive far exceeds that of Manning.

Edge to Luck

Football IQ

No one is smarter than Manning when it comes to anything that goes on between the confines of a football field.  However, Luck may be ahead of Manning coming out of college.  And since this comparison is apples to apples, I will give the edge to Luck.  Manning worked as hard as anyone once in the NFL to stay ahead of the game mentally.  Luck is already prepared to take NFL snaps from the mental side.

Edge to Luck

Poise under Pressure

Manning’s legend at Tennessee was built on his ability to bring his team back to win in the clutch.  He’s as cool under pressure as any QB in college history.  Luck is a little unproven in this area and will get put to the test this season in this arena.  Stanford has big expectations and Luck has even bigger expectations which will test his coolness under pressure.

Edge to Manning

Final Tally

Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck were born to play quarterback at an elite level.  As an NFL prospect, the edge goes to Andrew Luck as he’s the best NFL prospect that I’ve seen.  His abilities as a quarterback are as good as any NFL QB and will be an immediate starter in the NFL.  The complexities of NFL offenses and defenses will separate Manning and Luck.  Manning never stopped his quest to become the best and Luck will have to follow suit if he wants to be among the best that ever played the game.

Edge Luck