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  1. #1
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    From the "Not Surprising at All" Section of the Draft News Wire...

    Sources: Panthers to pick Andrew Luck
    Updated: January 4, 2011, 4:47 PM ET
    By Pat Yasinskas
    ESPN.com

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- If Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck decides to enter the 2011 draft, the Carolina Panthers will take him, two high-ranking team officials said Tuesday.

    ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay says he will grade Stanford QB Andrew Luck as high as any QB prospect over the last 10 years.

    A redshirt sophomore, Luck finished his season in Monday night's Discover Orange Bowl and has until Jan. 15 to declare if he will enter the draft. Although there have been reports indicating Luck may choose to stay in college, the Panthers remain optimistic he will turn pro.

    Luck is viewed as the top prospect in the country by most draft analysts and the Panthers don't disagree with that assessment. The team officials said they wouldn't even consider trading down in the draft if Luck is available.

    Luck deflected questions on his future after Stanford's victory Monday night.

    "I think there are a lot of worse decisions you might have to make in life," Luck said. "I don't mean to be rude, but I'd rather not address that subject anymore."

    There has been some speculation that Luck and Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh could be a package deal. But in a press conference Tuesday to discuss the coaching search, Carolina owner Jerry Richardson said the team has not had any contact with Harbaugh. The team officials said they don't expect that to change.

    The Panthers already have requested permission to interview San Diego defensive coordinator Ron Rivera and New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. Although the team officials said they won't rule out candidates from the college ranks, they said the hire likely will be an NFL coordinator.
    The article on ESPN's cite links to an audio portion of Mike and Mike in the morning, where Todd McShay says he will grade Luck as high as any QB prospect over the last 10 years. The kid has just about everything you look for in a pro quarterback prospect. Can't pass that up because of Jimmy Clausen.


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    Re: From the "Not Surprising at All" Section of the Draft News Wire...

    While I'm sure Luck will receive a high grade from many, but it almost seems like his Clausen angle is one last jab at Todd's buddy Mel (who, as some may recall, had JC rated above Bradford).

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    Re: From the "Not Surprising at All" Section of the Draft News Wire...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    The article on ESPN's cite links to an audio portion of Mike and Mike in the morning, where Todd McShay says he will grade Luck as high as any QB prospect over the last 10 years. The kid has just about everything you look for in a pro quarterback prospect. Can't pass that up because of Jimmy Clausen.
    I wonder if Luck will grade out as high as Sam and, if so, why. What can he do that Sam can't?

    Also, does anybody know if he is related to former NFL QB Oliver Luck?

    Just wonderin'

    WHAT SAY YE?

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    Re: From the "Not Surprising at All" Section of the Draft News Wire...

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    While I'm sure Luck will receive a high grade from many, but it almost seems like his Clausen angle is one last jab at Todd's buddy Mel (who, as some may recall, had JC rated above Bradford).
    Maybe so, but so did Scott Wright; who has been taking some flack for it on his own web site!!

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    Re: From the "Not Surprising at All" Section of the Draft News Wire...

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMarkable View Post
    I wonder if Luck will grade out as high as Sam and, if so, why. What can he do that Sam can't?
    He should, and there are a couple of arguments to be made.

    Luck, who is Oliver's son by the way, has the edge in size, arm strength, and athleticism, in my opinion. Bradford has the edge in accuracy, but Luck really isn't far behind. Completing 70.7% of his throws in Harbaugh's offense will go a long way. Both are very intelligent quarterbacks with high character.

    Luck shined again on the big stage last night, completing 78% of his passes at 12.5 yards per throw with four touchdowns and only one interception to help Stanford crush a Top-15 VA Tech team on an eleven-game winning streak. Virginia Tech had the 15th best pass defense in college football when ranked by opposing QB rating.

    Perhaps the biggest issue though is that Luck has fewer questions about him now than Bradford did as a prospect; for instance, Luck doesn't have the injury/system questions that Bradford had coming out of Oklahoma. In fact, I don't know if there are really any major questions about Luck as a pro prospect right now.

    Finally, and take this for what it's worth, Luck is the consensus top quarterback in what could be a much stronger QB class than last year's, where some argued Locker and even Clausen were better than Bradford. Now, we know Clausen has flopped so far, and Locker has had a disappointing year. It's clear Bradford was the cream of the 2010 crop, but the 2011 crop appears right now to be much stronger and Luck sits unchallenged atop it.

    Here is what Rob Rang of NFL Draft Scout and CBS Sports said of Luck in late November. Rang is one of the draft analysts whose opinion I really respect, and I don't think he'd say some of this stuff lightly...

    Considering that he entered the week No. 1 in my mock draft, it appeared impossible for Stanford redshirt sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck to raise his stock.

    Luck did just that as the Cardinal annihilated Oregon State 38-0 Saturday night to position themselves for a berth in a BCS bowl game.

    Luck was deadly efficient, completing 21 of 30 passes for 304 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. His four TD passes give him 28 on the year, a new Stanford record formerly held by a guy named Elway.

    It is hyperbole to compare Luck to any of the all-time greats. Luck, for as good as he is, obviously hasn't done a thing at the professional level.

    A number of scouts over the long weekend made it clear that the comparison to some of the all-time greats aren't merely media hype -- the scouts are drawing parallels, too.

    Luck's size, arm strength and surprising speed earn high grades from scouts. His accuracy, ability to read defenses and poise are earning even more exemplary marks.

    One key to disrupting any quarterback is pressure up the middle -- and most any mechanism that would throw off a passer's timing. Oregon State senior DT Stephen Paea was again dominant (he led OSU with eight tackles and contributed two tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble), but Luck's ability to side-step him while keeping his eyes downfield and firing strikes gave an emphatic answer to one of scouts' few remaining questions -- whether Luck had the ability to translate to the speed and pressure of the NFL.

    Luck's four touchdown passes covered an average of 36 yards. They came on a variety of routes and reads by Luck. On the first, taking the ball from center, Luck dropped back looked right to move the free safety, turned and fired quickly down the left seam. He perfectly led tight end Zach Ertz for a 21-yard score. Luck split the free safety and cornerback to hit wideout Doug Baldwin on a deep post for a 42-yard touchdown moments later.

    Luck's most impressive touchdown of the night was actually among his shortest throws. Pressure from OSU's front four forced him to step up into the pocket and hit Baldwin on a drag route for approximately 10 yards. Baldwin avoided defenders for the final 20 yards to the end zone. The annual race to be the first pick or highest-rated player at a given position doesn't, in itself, provide the historical data to demonstrate how highly a player is rated by scouts. Obviously, someone is going to be the first pick, regardless of if the draft is considered strong or weak as a whole.

    Luck is more than just the best quarterback -- or best player -- potentially available for the 2011 draft, however.

    He's the best quarterback AND elite prospect -- including LaDainian Tomlinson, Steve Hutchinson, Calvin Johnson, Ndamukong Suh -- I've scouted, including every Senior Bowl since 2001.
    I'm sure some will bemoan the hype so soon after hearing similar things about Suh last year, but based on his rookie campaign, Ndamukong was worthy of the praise. I suspect Luck is as well, but so much of whether or not he lives up to it at the pro level will depend on where he goes and who he is surrounded by.

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    Re: From the "Not Surprising at All" Section of the Draft News Wire...

    Wow this Luck fellow sounds mighty good. Let's see if the Panthers will trade him to us in exchange for this Bradford chump we have right now.


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    Re: From the "Not Surprising at All" Section of the Draft News Wire...

    I didn't have the opportunity to watch Stanford at all this year with the exection of last night, if Luck played the whole season like he did last night, this kid is worthy of the hype. He should have the same impact on Carolina as Sam did here and Matt Ryan did in Atlanta.
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    Re: From the "Not Surprising at All" Section of the Draft News Wire...

    Just because he is highly rated doesn't mean a thing. Years ago, there was a guy who had the following said about him: (Note: I removed his name and other identifying info so I can make my point.)

    On a sun-dappled day in East Lansing, Mich. last Sept. 9, a 6-foot, 225-pound man named __________ ran through and over the Michigan State defense as if it were no more than a collection of mannequins. By the time he was finished, he had 206 yards and four touchdowns, and Nebraska had a 50-10 victory.
    Now seven months have passed, the NFL draft is at hand, and ______ is widely figured to be among the first five players selected. It explains why _______ visited the Jets, owners of the top pick, on Tuesday; saw the Giants and Baltimore Ravens on the same tour; and why the great NFL fact-finding machinery is so hard at work.

    They know all about the 4.48 speed, the punishing power, the franchise-back potential.

    He rushed for 1,752 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior. (High School)
    ________ had a huge sophomore year, running for 1.722 yards, making All-American. He was on his way to an even bigger season last fall, his junior year, and maybe to the Heisman Trophy.


    ________ rolled up 359 yards and seven TDs in two games.
    165-yard performance in his final game, the Fiesta Bowl.
    But teams kept looking at him, and the more they saw, the more they were astounded at his talent. The fact-finding machinery went into overdrive. ________ said friends as far back as eighth grade have been grilled by NFL scouts. The checking apparently has unearthed no additional baggage.
    Green Bay GM _______ expects _______ "to be the first or second player taken in this draft." Giants GM _________ called him "an outstanding talent.
    "Everybody's playing catchup," ______ said.
    The Giants have the fifth pick and a surplus of backs, so don't figure to be in the hunt for ______. ______ cautioned against any hasty judgments, anyway.
    __________ said ______ is "probably the most talented running back we have ever had here." The coach is optimistic that ________ will be fine. Assistant coach ________ agrees.
    "I believe in ________" ______ said.
    One week from now, _______ will be on his way to becoming a millionaire. The new tax bracket will not alter the challenge ahead. He must set loose the explosiveness that has made him famous.
    That article was full of praise - it sounds like a player any team would want...except I wouldn't want him on my team....again.

    Yes, I know some of you figured out the article was about Lawrence Phillips. Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that Luck is going to be another LP, but he could be the next Matt Lienart.

    I'll stick with that record-setting rookie we have now. I think Sam will end up being the better QB long term...wait and see.

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    Re: From the "Not Surprising at All" Section of the Draft News Wire...

    Just another poor mans Sam Bradford....

    No just kidding, but remember, some people (Gil Brandt) had Bradford as the best rated rookie QB prospect since Eli Manning. If Bradford hadn't been injured he would of got the same fame as Luck is getting now. Really the only concern Bradford did have was his injury issue on the shoulder.

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    Re: From the "Not Surprising at All" Section of the Draft News Wire...

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    Just another poor mans Sam Bradford....

    No just kidding, but remember, some people (Gil Brandt) had Bradford as the best rated rookie QB prospect since Eli Manning. If Bradford hadn't been injured he would of got the same fame as Luck is getting now. Really the only concern Bradford did have was his injury issue on the shoulder.
    People were also concerned about the system, lack of under-center experience, and the fact his o-line was dominant. The o-line question I would also have about Luck. Watching the game last night, yea he made some great throws, but he also made them without even a finger of a player near him, and a few times to guys so open I could probably hit them.

    Luck was sacked a mere 5 times this year. Is that to say he can't handle pressure? Not sure, he didn't see much of it. Bradford thrived at times, and struggled at times under pressure. That won't be something we know until Luck plays in the NFL and faces the heavy blitzes rookie QBs get.

    Luck looks like he has all the right tools, physical and mental, to succeed.

  11. #11
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: From the "Not Surprising at All" Section of the Draft News Wire...

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsFanSam View Post
    I'll stick with that record-setting rookie we have now.
    I don't think anyone would suggest otherwise. I just don't think you'd find many people who would rank last year's Sam Bradford The Prospect as being better than this year's Andrew Luck The Prospect. Luck has similar tools, better in some areas, and fewer questions.

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    Re: From the "Not Surprising at All" Section of the Draft News Wire...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I don't think anyone would suggest otherwise. I just don't think you'd find many people who would rank last year's Sam Bradford The Prospect as being better than this year's Andrew Luck The Prospect. Luck has similar tools, better in some areas, and fewer questions.
    Indeed, the key is not to get caught up in the hype and assume that since the talking heads are jabbering on about one player, that it is definite that player is a sure fire MVP Hall of Famer. No one need get upset that oh, Bradford is good, but man Luck is the REAL next Peyton Manning, and Bradford won't be as good. This kind of hype happens a lot.

    A couple of nice things said about Bradford for any who might worry we missed by a year on the truly best quarterback:

    Holmgren - He's a once in a decade quarterback
    Holmgren again - You made the right choice (When Devany informed him 7 minutes before the draft that they decided on Bradford and were not willing to deal)
    Whisenhunt - Man I wish someone else had drafted him

    I know no one outright said it, but reading between the lines, I felt like it was there. No offense to anyone. Bradford is special, no worries.

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    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: From the "Not Surprising at All" Section of the Draft News Wire...

    I just don't see any reason for Rams fans to get defensive about someone being considered a better prospect than Sam Bradford. The Rams still got a very talented quarterback who has the physical tools to become a star at the NFL level, as long as they can surround him with talent and keep him healthy. I think if the Panthers draft Luck and do the same, he can help turn their franchise around as well because he is an exceptionally talented individual.

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    Re: From the "Not Surprising at All" Section of the Draft News Wire...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I just don't see any reason for Rams fans to get defensive about someone being considered a better prospect than Sam Bradford. The Rams still got a very talented quarterback who has the physical tools to become a star at the NFL level, as long as they can surround him with talent and keep him healthy. I think if the Panthers draft Luck and do the same, he can help turn their franchise around as well because he is an exceptionally talented individual.
    More importantly, no matter what the "experts" say about Luck as a prospect, he still has to prove it on the field. Until these guys play in the NFL, its speculation and nothing more. Heck, for all we know Pat Devlin of Delaware might end up being the best Pro in the class.

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    Re: From the "Not Surprising at All" Section of the Draft News Wire...

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    More importantly, no matter what the "experts" say about Luck as a prospect, he still has to prove it on the field. Until these guys play in the NFL, its speculation and nothing more. Heck, for all we know Pat Devlin of Delaware might end up being the best Pro in the class.
    Very true. Luck could be considered the greatest quarterback prospect to ever pick up a football, it still won't guarantee him anything at the next level. But if you're talking about where guys fall in line as prospects, which seemed to be RAMarkable's original question, then the analysis, the opinions, the projections, maybe even the hype come into play.

    The thing is, for that discussion, you have to separate what Bradford has done as a first-year pro in the league from the prospect he was last spring. I think there's a tendency in discussions like these to fall into the trap of mixing Bradford as a prospect with Bradford as a pro. Bradford as a prospect hadn't proved anything at the NFL level, either.

    There are really only three things an NFL draft prospect can do - live up to expectations, exceed expectations, or fail to meet expectations. Maybe a prospect doing one of these things causes a person to make slight adjustments in how they draw conclusions about future prospects, but I don't think that NFL performance should have a retroactive effect on how a player was perceived and thought of as a prospect.

    Tom Brady has won multiple Super Bowls with the Patriots and is one of the best quarterbacks in the league today, but that doesn't change the fact that as a prospect, he was viewed as a scrawny, slow passer who couldn't win the starting job at Michigan and graded out to be a late round pick and basically a career back-up. That goes to show the draft is far from an exact science, but at the same time, Brady's pro success doesn't change what he was as a prospect.

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