Important reminder about Luck from Dilfer

April, 10, 2012
4/10/12
11:51
AM ET
Trent Dilfer’s newest Insider piece breaks down seven quarterback prospects Insider in the upcoming draft.

We’ll slice out the Andrew Luck part since he’s the one who’s coming to the AFC South.

Dilfer says Luck has an “elite ceiling” and a “high floor.” His analysis of Luck:
Breakdown: Not to pile on, but Luck is simply the best I have ever studied. He's very refined in his approach, and has been exposed to a graduate level offensive system at Stanford. A line-of-scrimmage mastery far beyond his years will allow his NFL offense to be multiple (no limitations) his first year in league. Off-platform accuracy and ball speed will enable him to perform well within a cluttered pocket and amid chaos plays. Luck excelled at P.A.C.E. opportunities (plays after critical errors), going an incredible 17 of 20 with 4 TD passes in games following a pick-six last season. The guy doesn't flinch. Critical situation numbers (third down and red zone) reflect the synergy of his functional football intelligence and physical gifts. He is one of the few college quarterbacks that truly grasps progression passing; his eyes and feet are tied together.

Challenges: The expectations will be tremendous, even as he joins probably the NFL's weakest roster. Luck is improving -- he is not a finished product. The grade reflects his skills, but he is still a rookie, not a refined NFL QB. Given the hype, people will need to maintain perspective.

I think that final plea is an important one, and one we’ll probably need to circle back to over and over. Even if Luck is more prepared than Troy Aikman and Peyton Manning were, let’s remember their rookie years for poor teams.

There are lumps to be taken, and what the Colts will want to see is steady progress, good health, developing relationships and successful work at surrounding him with good protection, quality weapons, an effective run game and a defense that can get him the ball back.

He can be the best quarterback Dilfer’s ever seen coming into the league. But that weak Indianapolis roster means he won’t be leading any sort of playoff push. Teams often get good fast, but this one is not far removed from bottoming out. With a new GM and a new coach with new system, the roster revamp will take time.

That the centerpiece is ready won’t account for everybody and everything else.

As Gary Horton says in another Insider piece Insider: "This looks like an excellent marriage of offensive philosophy and QB skills, but it's a shame Luck won't have better players around him."

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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