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No. 1 pick Andrew Luck ready to start over in Indy
Question of the Day
The biggest difference between Luck and his predecessor might be their perspective.
Luck is more laid back than Manning, something that struck Colts scouts when he decided to throw into the wind during his pro day at Stanford. That decision was one reason the Colts settled on Luck, but it also showed he wasn’t worried about distractions.
He’s scheduled to arrive in Indy on Friday, and will meet fans and reporters at a draft party inside his new home venue, Lucas Oil Stadium.
Luck is expected to attend next weekend’s three-day rookie mini-camp but league rules will prevent him from practicing with the team until he completes his classes June 7. He plans to be in Indy on June 8, and the Colts can’t wait to see him dressed in pads.
“I think this thing happened 14 years ago and I think that it’s all happening once again right before our eyes,” new coach Chuck Pagano said. “You can talk about all the measurables _ his football IQ, his character his integrity, his passion for the game, his work ethic. He grew up in a football family. He’s a worldly guy _ he’s been all over, raised all over. He’s very, very humble. He’s a great leader, very, very competitive. When you look at clean players across the board _ height, weight, speed, intelligence _ A to Z, if you want to label him a 9 or 10 in every one of those categories.”
Like Peyton in 1998, Luck instantly becomes the cornerstone in Indy’s biggest overhaul since 1998. He should start immediately after playing in a pro-style system at Stanford, where he was originally tutored by former Colts quarterback and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.
But now he’s eager to find out who will be his rookie classmates _ perhaps even one of his college teammates, tight end Coby Fleener or tackle Jonathan Martin, neither of whom was drafted in the first round.
The Colts have nine more picks during draft weekend, with two Friday and seven Saturday including the final pick of the weekend, No. 253. It’s the first time since 1967 that a non-expansion team will have both the first and last picks of the draft. Houston did that in its expansion season of 2002.
What Indy does with its other picks is anybody’s guess.
The Colts need help at almost every position on offense, and Pagano is looking for size and depth on defense so he can run his preferred 3-4 scheme rather than Indy’s traditional 4-3. He’s already moved Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Mathis to linebacker and the Colts‘ other Pro Bowl end, Dwight Freeney, was playing both defensive end and linebacker at Thursday’s workout.
And Indy is in the midst of a major rebuilding project.
Team owner Jim Irsay cleaned out the front office and changed coaching staffs in January and February. Then came the player moves in March.
The Colts released Manning on March 7 rather than paying him $28 million. Two days later, Indy cut defensive captains Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt and former Pro Bowlers Dallas Clark and Joseph Addai. They lost longtime center Jeff Saturday and emerging receiver Pierre Garcon in free agency and even dipped into free-agency to improve a leaky defense and an unproven offensive line.
But the biggest challenge in 2012, like it was in 1998, will be breaking in a new quarterback.
Luck threw for 35 touchdowns last season _ breaking his school record of 32 in 2010 _ and eclipsed Elway’s career record (77) at Stanford with 80 touchdown passes in only three seasons. He finished with 3,170 yards passing, a 70 percent completion percentage and only nine interceptions without the benefit of an elite wide receiver in 2011.
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