Luck bounced back last season from an injury-shortened 2015 to surpass 4,000 yards passing for the third time in his career and 30 touchdowns for the second time. His completion percentage and YPA were each a tick better than his career year in 2014, but he didn't get as many attempts, missing one game with a concussion. He also faced much more pressure last season, as he was sacked 41 times (2nd) while the Colts' offensive line, which featured three rookies, allowed 123 knockdowns (3rd) and 128 hurries (3rd). Luck was sacked on 7.0 percent of dropbacks (3rd); in 2014, it was only 4.2 percent (26th). At 6-4, 240, Luck has the size and mobility to make plays on the run (7th in QB rushing), and with a strong arm and a league-leading 50.0 completion percentage (29 of 58) on attempts of 21-plus yards, he needs only a good bit of health this year to again challenge for the top spot among quarterbacks. Luck had surgery in January on a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, which he initially hurt in 2015. Recovery was expected to take 4-6 months, but he missed all of training camp and the preseason, leaving his Week 1 availability in serious doubt. A healthy year from Donte Moncrief and continued development from Phillip Dorsett in his third year would complement the dynamic T.Y. Hilton in the wideout corps, while 6-6 tight end Jack Doyle is an effective red-zone target.
Big things were expected from Luck last season on the heels of a 4,700-yard, 40-TD performance, but despite his name and the horseshoe on his helmet, fortune did not smile upon him or the Colts in 2015. A Week 3 shoulder injury cost him two games before a lacerated kidney suffered in Week 9 against the Broncos knocked him out for the remainder of the season. Even when he was on the field, Luck seemed out of sorts as his 6.4 YPA and 15:12 TD:INT were by far career worsts, although the team's coaching turmoil may have contributed to his struggles. Pep Hamilton, the team's offensive coordinator since 2013, was let go at the beginning of November and replaced with former Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski. At his best, Luck possesses every quality one could want in a franchise QB, with the arm strength, accuracy and smarts to dissect a defense from the pocket and the athleticism to avoid big hits and pick up yards on the ground when necessary. Fully recovered from last season's injuries and with a full offseason to adapt to Chudzinski's offense, Luck should be poised fora big rebound in 2016, especially if young wide receivers Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett continue their development.
Luck became the eighth quarterback in league history last season to throw at least 40 touchdown passes and broke Peyton Manning's single-season franchise records for passing yards (4,761) and 300-yard games (10). He also led the league in completions of 20- and 40-plus yards (73, 15, respectively) and was significantly more efficient with 7.73 YPA (6.71 in 2013) and a 6.5 touchdown percentage (4.0). That he continued to rank as one of the league's top signal-callers with only one true threat in the passing game (T.Y. Hilton) and a virtually non-existent ground attack speaks to his prowess as one of the game's most physically gifted quarterbacks. Luck accounted for 28.6 percent of the Colts' red-zone rushes last year (3rd among QB) while carrying the team to the AFC championship game, but this year he should have more help thanks to the signings of Andre Johnson and Frank Gore. Both are aging, but Johnson gives Luck a dependable target who's bigger (6-3) and healthier than the chronically injured 6-0 Reggie Wayne, while Gore poses a ground threat Luck has never had. Gore also offers Luck reliable hands despite being phased out of the passing game in San Francisco the last few seasons. Furthermore, the Colts added first-round pick Phillip Dorsett, who ran a blazing 4.33 40 at the Combine, to give Luck a third receiver who can stretch the field alongside Hilton and Donte Moncrief.
Despite dealing with a poor group of pass catchers and an even worse running game, Luck once again managed to almost single-handedly carry the Colts into the playoffs in 2013, making an impact far greater than his modest numbers would imply. Reggie Wayne's Week 7 ACL tear left Luck with T.Y. Hilton as his only vaguely competent receiver, yet he managed to cut his 2012 interception total in half while upping his completion percentage from 54.1 to 60.2. With Wayne and Hilton back this year, plus the additions of big wideouts Hakeem Nicks (free agency) and Donte Moncrief (draft, third round), Luck should have what's easily his finest group of pass-catching threats to this point, and the addition of second-round guard Jack Mewhort ought to help stabilize the otherwise weak interior of Indianapolis' offensive line. The fact that Luck has produced at a high level despite his problematic environment is a testament to how high his upside will be when he finally has some legitimate playmakers, and he could be in for a breakout 2014 season. Even if he doesn't make much progress on his rather weak passing efficiency numbers from last year (6.7 YPA, 4.0 touchdown percentage), Luck should once again provide strong numbers as a runner. He's a legitimate red-zone rushing threat at 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, and it looks like Trent Richardson isn't much of a threat to lay claim to Indianapolis' rushing touchdowns this year.
Luck threw for 4,374 yards last year, shattering Cam Newton's rookie record, but that was due in large part to Luck's 627 attempts (5th). Quarterbacks thrive on volume, but Luck's efficiency will almost certainly improve in 2013. Consider that he completed only 54.1 percent of his passes in 2012, ranking him 28th out of the 29 passers who had at least 300 attempts. Moreover, his YPA was a pedestrian 7.0, despite playing his home games in a dome, far below the level of fellow rookies Robert Griffin and Russell Wilson. Given Luck's pedigree, arm strength and work ethic, expect at least a half-yard improvement on that mark, especially with free agent signee Darrius Heyward-Bey stretching the field this year. While veteran Reggie Wayne is now 34 and on the decline, last year's rookie targets, T.Y. Hilton, Coby Fleener and Dwight Allen, will almost certainly get better in Year 2.
And don’t overlook Luck’s rushing prowess. He ran for 255 yards and five touchdowns in 2012. That might not sound like much, but in standard leagues, it’s the equivalent of more than 500 passing yards and seven passing touchdowns. That's the effect even a semi-mobile quarterback can have on your rankings, and the versatility also makes Luck a safe week-to-week option.
Luck has too much talent (particularly as a runner) not to emerge as a spot-start candidate at the very least in most formats. Outside of a running back rotation that could be the league’s weakest, Luck actually has personnel around him that suit his skill set. The TE-heavy play calling with which he thrived at Stanford will likely be simulated in Indianapolis, as evidenced by the second- and third-round selections of tight ends Coby Fleener (Luck’s favorite target at Stanford) and Dwayne Allen, respectively. And while the team’s wideout trio of Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie and T.Y. Hilton don’t stand out, they do, fit well with Luck’s accuracy on short and intermediate routes, and Hilton is a game-breaking burner on short, quick passes. Luck’s value is in any case greatly aided by his well above-average running skills. Fast, quick and strong for a quarterback, Luck should be at least as good a runner as Aaron Rodgers, who averaged 284 yards and four touchdowns on the ground the last four years.