Luck makes pro day about his teammates
March, 23, 2012
By Kevin Gemmell | ESPN.com
It was vintage Andrew Luck. Big smile. Precision accuracy. And, as usual, doing what he can to make his teammates look good.
Following his Cirque de Pro Day yesterday on the Stanford campus, Luck was asked if there was one particular pass out of his 50 that he was most proud of. He could have picked one of the passes where he rolled to his left and threw across his body -- a difficult task even in shorts and a T-shirt. Or he could have gone with the 70-yard bomb on his final toss of the day. After all, hasn't that been the knock against Luck all along? No arm strength?
He could have singled out that throw as the cherry on his told-ya-so sundae -- the index finger over his lips followed by a symbolic "shhhhh."
But that's not Luck's style. He picked the pass just prior that, a 20-yard fade to Coby Fleener -- intentionally thrown high to make the 6-foot-6 tight end up go up for it.
"I wanted to give him a chance to jump up there and show off his hops and his stretch and show what he can do in the red zone," Luck said. "I’m secretly very proud of putting it in the right spot for him."
It's no real secret. Luck has put his teammates in the spotlight his entire career. And he did it one last time Thursday with more than 100 personnel from all 32 NFL teams on hand to watch.
Jason O. Watson/US PresswireAndrew Luck's Stanford teammates got to showcase themselves in front of a hoard of NFL scouts on hand to see the quarterback, bottom right.
Luck could have gone 10-for-50 and still would probably be the top pick in next month's NFL draft. Instead, he went 46-for-50. Three of those were dropped (sound familiar, Stanford fans?). Luck couldn't really do much with his pro day other than feed a starving media and hush a critic or two.
It was really about the other guys participating. Offensive linemen Jonathan Martin and David DeCastro are both expected to be taken in the first round and Fleener is regarded as the top tight end in the draft. But because Andrew Luck is Andrew Luck, some of his former teammates not expected to be drafted on the first day had the benefit of working out in front of every NFL team.
"That was a big focus for me," Luck said. "I'm in a unique position ... I have the chance to be drafted really high. So maybe a pro day is not going to hurt or help me as much as it could these other guys. I wanted to go out there and really showcase the strength of our receivers."
DeCastro is essentially a lock as the top interior lineman in the draft. But because Martin and Fleener didn't workout at February's NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis -- Martin because of illness and Fleener because of a high ankle sprain suffered in the Fiesta Bowl -- this was their first time to record measurables for scouts.
"We might have gotten guys drafted today," said Stanford's sports performance coordinator Shannon Turley told GoStanford.com. "And a few others may have locked up spots in the first round."
Fleener, who chopped his flowing locks and apparently now goes to DeCastro's barber, was appreciative of Luck going out of his way to make him look good.
“Andrew will be a great pro because of his brain and his hard work," Fleener said. "It seems like you can give him endless amounts of information and he can process it and then access and use it during a game. I think you guys saw during the combine that he has more tools than people give him credit for as far as his physical attributes.”
And looking to return the favor, Fleener had no problem taking a jab at those who criticized Luck's arm strength.
“Well, how far did he throw it at the end today?" asked Fleener, referring to the 70-yard ball. "I think he could probably throw it further than that. Maybe in fact his arm strength isn’t his weakness after all."