Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has been touted as a can't-miss prospect since he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft out of Stanford. He has since led his team to the playoffs in each of his first two seasons.
The case can be made that Luck, who graces this week’s regional cover of Sports Illustrated, is in the upper echelon of NFL signal callers.
But could Luck be the best quarterback in the NFL this soon? He seems to not even entertain giving an answer.
"I've always found it funny when people ask, 'Are you a top five QB? Are you elite?' As a player, who cares?" Luck says. "It's so hard to measure who's better, who's worse, because every team is different. Football is a team sport. You have to be the best for your team. Good luck proving who the best is."
Luck's numbers in his brief career don't jump out at the casual observer: 81.5 passer rating, 46 touchdowns, 27 interceptions and a 57 percent completion percentage. But what he does have is toughness, as evidenced by the 109 hits (including 32 sacks) he took last season and the flare for the dramatic inherent in his eight fourth-quarter comebacks.
Uncanny instincts, a willingness to take hit after hit, and the intelligence to make even the best defense look silly is all part of the package.
"He's got that sixth sense," Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said. "He's very, very strong and he's a much better athlete than people give him credit for."