"As a rookie in 2012, Luck put together one of the best quarterbacked seasons that I have seen in the NFL in a long time. He made the pro bowl (albeit as an alternate), led a bad Colts team to 11 wins and a playoff berth, and posted very impressive individual numbers (including rookie passing records) while enduring an insane amount of pressure due to a terrible offensive line.
"In 2012, Luck completed 54.1% of his 627 passes for 4,374 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions while averaging 7.0 yards per attempt. He also added 255 yards and 5 scores on the ground rushing. Perhaps the most impressive part of Luck's game last year was in the final minutes, where the rookie quarterback quickly established himself as one of the best (if not the best) in the league. He led 7 game winning drives and 4 fourth quarter comebacks, constantly pulling a win out in the final minutes of a close game.
"There's no reason to think that he won't be better in 2013. Equipped with a new but familiar offense, a retooled offensive line, and better receiving threats, Luck could take the league by storm. Perhaps it is unfair to say this about a guy entering his second year, but I fully expect him to emerge as one of the NFL's best signal callers and I expect him to enter into the MVP race in 2013. Yes, I'm serious. This guy is as good of a young quarterback as I have ever seen - in fact, I have never seen a guy have a more impressive rookie season than Luck did. His numbers absolutely will improve in 2013 and his play will too. He will be the unquestioned leader of a team with playoff expectations from fans and Super Bowl expectations from themselves. Some (like me) think they will win the AFC South. All of these expectations revolve around one player, and that one player is Andrew Luck.
"If you think this is way too high of expectations for a second year quarterback, you are absolutely right. But if you look at Andrew Luck and take away his experience factor, he has all the makings of a quarterback ready to burst onto the scene even more than he did last year."
Yeah, I'd like to think I started a trend by calling Andrew Luck an MVP candidate for 2013, as I was one of the first ones to throw out the idea. But I'm not that vain nor that out of touch with reality, and instead I fully realize that the fact that other people are considering Luck for MVP in 2013 is due to one of two reasons: 1) they want attention, or 2) they came to those conclusions by watching him play.
Because I'll tell you for sure that they're not hearing about Luck for MVP on ESPN. Maybe RG3, but no way Luck. Ok, I just had to get that shot at ESPN in there. It was probably unnecessary, but who cares. Anyways, enough of my rambling, let's look at what some other people have had to say about Luck as an MVP candidate.
Michael Schottey, national lead NFL writer for Bleacher Report, wrote a whole article back in July looking at the topic. Schottey wrote:
"It is more than possible-even probable-that Luck could take a huge step forward from a rookie season where the chips seemed stacked against him. While there's a lot of football left to be played, Luck is a legitimate MVP candidate heading into 2013, and no one should be surprised if he's being handed a lot of hardware at the end of his second season."
Just a few days ago, in NFL.com's Around the League MVP predictions, Dan Hanzus picked Luck as his 2013 MVP, writing:
"Best of all, Luck has The Look. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady had The Look early in their careers. Aaron Rodgers had it, too ... once Brett Favre got out of his way. Success is preordained with The Look on your side.
"Luck thrived in the shadows as RGIII and Russell Wilson exploded on the scene last season. That's about to change. This time next year, Luck will be seen as the game's greatest quarterback."
Even more recent than that, NFL.com compiled their list of who each of their writers picked for the main awards, playoffs, and NFL 2013 predictions like that. Kimberly Jones picked Andrew Luck as her MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, writing:
"In Year 2, he'll flourish in the Stanford offense, with college coordinator Pep Hamilton now at the switches in Indy. Think fewer picks and sacks, higher completion percentage."
And realize, too, that these predictions aren't just out of the blue. Andrew Luck had an incredibly impressive rookie season and was already being considered as an MVP candidate at times last season. Don't believe me? Read this. It'll change your mind. If it doesn't (and it should), maybe this will help.
I said this offseason that I expect him to be in the MVP race this year. That's really as far as I think he'll get this year, as I don't think he will win it, but still - to have a second year quarterback in the discussion all year long is really remarkable. That's what I think will happen, and it's not just me either.
This kid Andrew Luck is incredible. Don't miss it by silly debates. He's the best quarterback from last year's draft class and he is ready to emerge as one of the league's best signal callers, period. Before you know it, he will be the league's most valuable player as well.
And honestly, it's not too far fetched to imagine that happening as soon as 2013.
For more on Andrew Luck...
Read Josh Wilson's look at the Sophomore Slump and how it will affect the young quarterbacks, but in particular Luck.
Andrew Luck preseason statistics: