May 4, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) stands in front of his locker after practice during minicamp at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Joel Thorman (editor at SB Nation's NFL site and for Arrowhead Pride) did a little article on what folks are expecting of the quarterbacks drafted in the first round in 2012. For the segment on Andrew Luck, he asked yours truly to offer insight:
Regarding Luck, I think he will do quite well. I know the general expectation is that Griffin will play better, but I don't buy that. For starters, Luck's receivers are now better. Reggie Wayne was re-signed, and there is no one on Washington's current roster who is better than Reggie Wayne, even though he is on the wrong side of 30. Wayne can still get open, and he has very reliable hands as a receiver. He's Hines Ward of two seasons ago.
Also on the roster is Luck's former go-to tight end at Stanford, Coby Fleener. Fleener and 3rd-round pick Dwayne Allen provide Luck with significant match-up advantages against opposing defenses. It will be interesting to see how guys like Donnie Avery, Austin Collie, and rookies like T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill fit in at wide receiver. All four have speed, something that was sorely lacking from the Colts offense in both 2010 and 2011.
The key element for Luck's success in 2012 is the offensive line. Years of poor drafting by Bill Polian depleted the talent. This offseason, new GM Ryan Grigson has been trading for and signing linemen left and right. He also drafted a linemen in the 7th round this year. Gone are veterans Jeff Saturday, Mike Pollak, and Ryan Lilja. Replacing them are guys like Samson Satele, Mike McGlynn, and Winston Justice. The team's 2012 offensive line could have only one starter returning from last year: left tackle Anthony Castanzo.
At the end of the day, the Colts' offense (with Luck in charge) is eons better than the clown car of buffoonery we witnessed last year under the direction of Curtis Painter. My feelings about last year were that if Indy had opted to have Dan Orlovsky start Week 1 (instead of Kerry Collins), the Colts would have won six games in 2011. Luck is light years better than Orlovsky, and the talent surrounding Luck now is better than any that surrounded the Colts' quarterbacks in 2011. So, I expect them to compete.
Head to SB Nation to read Joel's response to my Luck Love Letter.