The Indianapolis Colts seemingly have made a decision about the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, with Andrew Luck appearing to be a lock for the selection. However, a number of scouts have yet to see Luck throw in person and he must answer a few questions to cement his status as the top prospect in the draft.
If I was a member of the Colts' front office, here are three questions I would want answered during his workout at Stanford's Pro Day on Thursday (NFL Network, 3 p.m. ET):
1. Does Luck have elite arm talent?
As much as scouts are impressed with Luck's overall ability, there are still concerns about whether he possesses elite arm talent. He shows on tape the ability to make all the throws with zip, velocity and touch, but evaluators aren't convinced he possesses arm strength comparable to elite talents like Matt Stafford or Jay Cutler.
Luck appears to rely on superb timing, anticipation and accuracy to string together completions, rather than pure arm strength to fit the ball into tight windows. His extraordinary completion percentage is a byproduct of delivering the ball on time and leading receivers away from congested areas with his pinpoint throws.
Luck flashes the ability to drive the ball to the outside areas of the field, but he appears to lack the pure arm strength to consistently muscle the ball from opposite hash to the deep comeback on the boundary. Although he consistently completes passes against college cornerbacks, the closing speed of pro defenders will make it tougher for him to register those completions at the next level.
Luck must also display excellent deep-ball touch and accuracy during drills. He connected on several deep shots throughout the season to another draft prospect, tight end Coby Fleener, but the majority of those throws were deep seam routes completed after heavy play-action fakes. As a pro, Luck will get chances to push the ball down the field off play fakes, but he will need to show scouts he is able to drop the ball into the bucket on vertical tosses following conventional five- or seven-step drops.
2. How good is Luck with his ball placement?
Most evaluators believe Luck has extraordinary talent, but the trait that stands out the most when I watch tape is his consistent ball placement. He routinely delivers the ball to the receiver's proper shoulder (away from nearest defender) and his ability to thread the needle is uncommon for a young player.
Some snicker at the notion that Luck's strike zone is smaller than his counterparts due to the Cardinal's lack of speed at the skill positions, but it is apparent watching the tape that he is forced to fit the ball into tighter windows to amass completions. The majority of his passes were directed at tight ends gaining little separation from defenders, requiring Luck's throws to be precise and exact. Given his high completion percentage and low turnover numbers, Luck's ability to consistently connect on contested throws indicates his ball placement and accuracy is on point.
With accuracy valued at a premium over arm strength, Luck must show in workouts that his ball placement is as good as it appears on tape. To achieve this objective, Luck will need to excel at the accuracy drills conducted by the coaches. From delivering the ball to stationary targets at various distances to hitting receivers on the move, Luck's ability to place balls within the strike zone will alleviate any concerns about his accuracy and ball placement.
If Luck completes at least 90 percent of his passes during his scripted workout while also impressing observers with his ball placement and accuracy, he will silence critics' concerns about his ability to deliver accurate strikes at he next level.
3. How does Luck's underrated athleticism translate onto the field?
Luck surprised many onlookers with his impressive display of speed, agility and explosiveness at the NFL Scouting Combine. He showed better-than-anticipated movement skills and his workout compared favorably with Cam Newton. Given Newton's ability to revolutionize the game with his unique skill set, Luck is now viewed as an extraordinary talent capable of playing the game in an Aaron Rodgers-like fashion.
In his first extended workout for scouts, Luck should showcase those skills, particularly his athleticism. He should feature a number of movement passes in his script to allow Colts' coaches and scouts to assess his ability to pass effectively on the perimeter. He also needs to feature a few impromptu scramble-and-throws in the workout to provide evaluators with a peek at his ability to elude and evade defenders in the pocket and make pinpoint passes on the run.
Finally, Luck should execute a few throws within the pocket where he slides to his left or right, resets his feet and delivers a pinpoint pass to a moving target down the field. This simulates his ability to maneuver within the pocket against a heavy rush while maintaining vision and field awareness downfield. While most young quarterbacks struggle to find comfort within a collapsing pocket, Luck's athleticism and elusiveness can allow him to have success quickly at the next level.
If Luck displays remarkable athleticism to complement his polished passing skills at his workout, the Colts and others will be convinced of his immense talent and potential as a franchise quarterback.
Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks