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Andrew Luck: Analyzing Stanford Star's Biggest Challenges to Pro Success

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Andrew Luck: Analyzing Stanford Star's Biggest Challenges to Pro Success
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Andrew Luck might fail.

There, I said it.

I realize that kind of talk is considered blasphemy these days—tune in to any sports media outlet in America and you'll drown in a tidal wave of Luck-flavored Kool-aid. 

Still, I felt like it was necessary to throw that out there. He isn't perfect, he isn't a surefire Hall-of-Famer (no rookie is) and there's a chance that he could be a complete bust.

Are those odds very high? Of course not.

The reason everyone is drooling over him is simple—he's really freakin' good. But like every player that's attempted to make the transition from college to the pros, he'll have some major obstacles to overcome.

Here are his biggest concerns heading into the 2012 season.

 

Arm Strength

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The biggest criticism surrounding Andrew Luck is his lack of elite arm strength. The general consensus is that his velocity is very good, but not great. 

Like a true competitor, Luck attempted to quiet these concerns by throwing into the wind during his pro day. While he put on an impressive performance (particularly this gorgeous 70-yard bomb), the doubts about his arm strength won't be completely quelled until he proves himself in an NFL game.

While this concern may seem a little nitpicky, it could become a real issue because of the speed and intelligence of NFL defenses. If Luck's throws arrive just a split-second late, he will get punished.

 

Over-Confidence

Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Luck is incredibly confident in his abilities, and you certainly can't blame him. When you torch teams over and over and over again, it's only natural for you to feel unstoppable.

But while this fearless attitude is generally perceived as positive, there's a thin line between confident and careless.

At times, Luck's decision making has been questionable. During his career at Stanford, he was prone to forcing throws that simply weren't there. Whether it was single or double coverage, Luck was perfectly fine with testing his limits, and occasionally he got burned.

In the NFL, coverage gets tighter and windows get smaller. If he continues to force throws against professional defenders, he will pay the price.

 

Supporting Cast

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Everyone has been ripping Luck's future Colts teammates, but they can't really be that bad, can they?

Well, yes actually. Yes they can.

Last season, the Colts started 0-13 and looked like they were well on their way to joining the 2008 Lions as the only teams to go winless in a 16-game season. Somehow, they got it together in Week 15 and 16, finishing with a final record of 2-14.

Since then, there's been some massive overhaul. Defensive captains Gary Bracket and Melvin Bullitt were cut. Ditto for Pro Bowl tight end Dallas Clark and running back Joseph Addai. Meanwhile, long-time center Jeff Saturday and star receiver Pierre Garcon fled for greener pastures in free agency.

Of course, there's nothing Luck can do right now about his supporting cast. It's a shame really, because his teammates will undoubtedly be the biggest obstacle on his path to NFL success.

To put things in perspective, former Colts' vice chairman Bill Polian recently said that Luck's supporting cast is worse than Peyton Manning's during his rookie season in Indy.

The Colts finished 3-13 that year.

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