The perfect NFL quarterback prospect. It’s an elusive idea. Every year, there is at least one player being touted as such. Someone with the ideal size/strength/speed/arm, or a combination of those things, that will transform his team, and the league, almost immediately.
Still, no matter how talented a prospect might be, you can count on at least one scout to find something wrong with him. No one is perfect, after all.
However, when Andrew Luck was being evaluated prior to the 2012 draft, scouts were at a loss. There seemed to be no measurable flaw with the Stanford prospect, who would likely have gone No.1 overall even if he’d left school a year earlier.
He had it all. The size, the arm, the toughness and the football IQ. Some were calling him the greatest quarterback prospect of all time. The Indianapolis Colts were prepared to move on from the great Peyton Manning after 14 record-breaking seasons so they could select him with the first overall pick.
Luck quickly showed what all the fuss was about. He took the Colts to the playoffs each of his first three seasons in the League, advancing all the way to the AFC championship game in 2014 (the infamous “Deflategate” game).
He famously brought the Colts back from a 34-point deficit to defeat the Chiefs in the playoffs. He was already considered one of the top signal-callers in the NFL, and it looked as if he was just getting started. No one could fathom what came next.
Since the beginning of the 2015 season, Luck has struggled with numerous injuries. In 2015, he played in just seven games due to a lacerated kidney. Last year, he didn’t play at all due to an injury to his throwing shoulder. To say the Colts have struggled without him would be an understatement.
They average just 18.3 points and 291.8 yards per game without Luck in the lineup, compared to 25.2 points and 369 yards per game when he’s behind center.
Luck’s name is becoming a bit ironic. Since arriving in the league, his luck hasn’t been particularly good. It hasn’t helped that the Colts have done little to surround him with playoff-caliber supporting talent. During the Colt’s playoff runs, Luck was the glue holding the team together. This fact is evident to anyone who has consistently watched the Colts in his absence.
This could very well be a make-or-break year for Luck. He needs this to be the year he bounces back and returns to 2012-14 form. If he can do that, the Colts have a shot to contend once again. If not, the Colt’s will continue to struggle and many will wonder if this once-great player will ever be the same.
The story of Andrew Luck is still being written. No one, not even Luck himself, knows for certain how it will end. Let’s hope it ends with Luck winning Comeback Player of the Year, and going on to have the career so many anticipated – not with this once sure-thing prospect becoming yet another tragic tale of what might have been.