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Andrew Luck 2011 NFL Draft Watch: Jim Plunkett, John Elway, Stanford Quarterbacks Approve

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Andrew Luck isn't the first great Stanford Cardinal quarterback--anyone remember a kid named John Elway? He won't even be the first ever number one pick if he decides to turn pro--that honor belongs to Heisman Trophy winner and two-time Super Bowl champion Jim Plunkett. Along with the old school Frankie Albert and John Brodie, they represent the class of Cardinal quarterbacks; all four are in the College Football Hall of Fame, and Luck could join them with another year in the collegiate ranks.

Despite that seniority though, Elway and Plunkett both greatly appreciate the talent Luck possesses. Ivan Maisel with this great report from the Orange Bowl that gathers the viewpoints from every living Stanford quarterback that played or plays in the pros.

Elway: To me, just looking at him, he's a guy that can win with his arm if he has to sit in the pocket or he can buy time with his legs. That's the complete guy. That's exactly what the NFL wants. He's big, physical, got good speed. He's running faster than he looks because he's so big. He's got the total package. In the NFL, you've got to beat people with your arm. He can do that. He can make that play that you can't coach.

Plunkett: One of the things you see, as he's dropping back, he makes up his mind quicker than another quarterback as he's reading the defense, and more often than not he goes to the right guy. His decision-making is really sharp. Whereas another quarterback might take a full second more to make that read, then it's too late.

Luck also appreciates what Elway and Plunkett have told him. He talked to ESPN's Andrea Adelson about the influence the two Cardinal greats have had on him. Check out the video below.

How does Luck's college numbers stack up to Plunkett and Elway?

Here's Plunkett's numbers.

Year School Conf Class Pos Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
1968 Stanford Pac-8 QB 142 268 53.0 2156 8.0 6.7 14 14 127.4
1969 Stanford Pac-8 QB 197 336 58.6 2673 8.0 7.1 20 15 136.2
1970 Stanford Pac-8 QB 191 358 53.4 2715 7.6 6.3 18 18 123.6
Career Stanford 530 962 55.1 7544 7.8 6.7 52 47 129.0


Here's Elway's numbers.

Year ▴ School Conf Class Pos Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
1979 Stanford Pac-10 QB 50 96 52.1 544 5.7 5.5 6 3 114.1
1980 Stanford Pac-10 QB 248 379 65.4 2889 7.6 7.7 27 11 147.2
1981 Stanford Pac-10 QB 214 366 58.5 2674 7.3 6.8 20 13 130.8
1982 Stanford Pac-10 QB 262 405 64.7 3242 8.0 7.9 24 12 145.6
Career Stanford 774 1246 62.1 9349 7.5 7.3 77 39 139.3


And Luck?

Stats Overview Passing
2009 162 288 2575 56.3 8.94 63 13 4 6 143.47
2010 245 349 3051 70.2 8.74 81 28 7 5 166.10


It's safe to say that neither Plunkett nor Elway had a single season as effective as Luck had in 2010. He's a more accurate passer than Plunkett and possesses a better deep ball than Elway, and his scrambling ability isn't that shabby either.

Will it translate to a much faster NFL? It remains to be seen, but the praise is pouring in from all corners, and you'd figure Luck even meets half those expectations, he'll be a successful pro quarterback. And you have to shudder if he hits or exceeds them.