In the weeks leading up to the 2012 NFL draft, the hype surrounding Andrew Luck grew to a fever pitch. It was widely believed that the rising star from Stanford had everything he needed to succeed immediately in the NFL, just like the man he was often compared to: Aaron Rodgers.
Their NFL careers didn’t start out quite the same way. Instead of going early in the draft to a team that would need him right away, as expected, Aaron Rodgers dropped to the 24th pick. Instead of starting, Rodgers spent the first three years of his career playing second fiddle to Brett Favre.
In contrast, Andrew Luck was the first pick in the 2012 NFL draft, selected to replace Peyton Manning and start immediately in Indianapolis.
And yet the two are incredibly similar.
Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck have very similar physical builds that are ideal for a quarterback in the current NFL, each standing over 6' tall and weighing over 200 pounds.
Their size gives them excellent vision of the field while still leaving them light enough on their feet to be mobile as necessary. They are both athletic and quick, posing legitimate ground threats that cannot be ignored.
Aaron Rodgers has also demonstrated that he is incredibly durable, another benefit of his solid build. It can be expected that Andrew Luck will also enjoy plenty of time on the field without falling victim to injury.
Luck is also very similar to Aaron Rodgers in the strength of his right arm. Neither man is particularly known for the strength of his passes—although that’s not to say that they can’t heave it down the field when necessary—but rather for the precision with which he can throw the ball.
There’s nothing wrong with long throws, but accuracy is a much more desirable quality than a simple strong arm.
In addition to his physical attributes, Andrew Luck is also very similar to Aaron Rodgers from an intelligence perspective. They are both scholars of football, and it shows in their conduct at the line of scrimmage.
Now, Aaron Rodgers runs one of the most complex offenses in the NFL. Andrew Luck is still getting his bearings early in his career and has had less to work with than the stellar offense Rodgers inherited, but every indication is that he is making great strides toward making the struggling Colts offense his own.
Perhaps the most important qualities in a quarterback, though, are the intangibles that defy measurement: work ethic, leadership, will to win and more. These are the things that can make a good quarterback great. Aaron Rodgers has demonstrated over time that he has those undefinable qualities in spades, and Andrew Luck is already growing into that role with the Colts.
Although they experienced two different beginnings in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck have many more similarities than they have differences. Given the exemplary career that Rodgers is enjoying, Luck should have every hope in the world that he can follow in his footsteps.