2012 NFL Draft: The Real Story of Andrew Luck

Dan BazalContributor IFebruary 18, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 02:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal walks out onto the field against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2012 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

With the 2012 draft nearing, everywhere you look and everything you hear talks about Stanford's Andrew Luck being the best prospect since at least Peyton Manning, but is he?

Scouts have long been enamored with Luck’s skill set and his gaudy passing numbers—including his 71.3% completion percentage—however a closer look at film tells a different story.

Luck is a very accurate passer, but turn on any game he has played and just count how many times he throws to a receiver who doesn’t have a defender within two or three yards. Sometimes there isn’t even a different colored jersey on the screen. Stanford’s rushing attack has ranked in the top 20 every year since Luck has been a starter, which has definitely helped Luck's numbers in the passing game. Another thing that has helped tremendously is the fact that he has never faced a defense that finished the year ranked in the top 20 in passing yards per game. In fact, over the last two years (26 games) he has faced only seven teams ranked in the top 50. The highest ranked team that he faced this year was the Cal Bears at No. 37 overall. Taking a look at the other side of the spectrum he faced eight schools this year that ranked worse than No. 80 overall—including four teams that found themselves ranked in the hundreds—USC in 102, Oklahoma State in 107, Washington in 116 and Arizona in 119. To put that in perspective, there are only 120 FBS schools.

Not only has Luck never faced a team ranked in the top 20 of passing defense, but he has also never played a school from SEC or even the Big 10, conferences known for their defense. What's more, he also threw an interception in each of his last six games, and eight of his last nine.

Luck also has the bad habit of locking on to his first option at wide receiver for too long, allowing safeties and linebackers to get a great read and make big plays going the other way. The best example of this is from the Oregon game on Luck's second interception. He locked on to his receiver allowing the Oregon linebacker Bo Lokombo to read his eyes and be in the right place when the ball bounced off of the receiver and fell into Lokombo’s arms.

Andrew Luck might be the best prospect in this year’s draft, and he is comparable to a Manning, but he is probably closer to Eli than Peyton.