INDIANAPOLIS — Andrew Luck's rapid ascension in his first two NFL seasons has surprised even some of his former college teammates.
"I knew he was an incredible player," Stanford guard David Yankey said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "At the time, we thought he was the best player in college football. But I didn't realize exactly how good he was until he got to the NFL and started playing."
Luck is the first quarterback to throw for more than 8,000 combined yards in his first two seasons and has led the Indianapolis Colts to playoff berths in both years. In January, he led the second-biggest comeback in NFL history, rallying Indianapolis from a 28-point deficit to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 45-44 in the AFC Wild Card round.
But pass protection, especially on the interior of the offensive line, has been an issue. Yankey is the top-rated guard on NFL Media draft expert Mike Mayock's pre-combine list but could last to the second day because of the depth of this year's class.
A record 102 underclassmen declared for May's draft, including Yankey — who already has graduated from Stanford but has one year of eligibility remaining.
"I wasn't focused on what the other guys were doing," Yankey said. "It was about me and where I was heading."
For his first two years as a starter, Yankey played in current Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton's scheme. The experience gave him a power-blocking background many of his peers lack.
"Pep is awesome," Yankey said. "I loved having him as a coach. He's a guy who is really witty and keeps things fun in meetings. But he also has great schemes. It's pretty evident from the job he's done in Indy."
MORE LOVE FOR LUCK: San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh shrugged off many questions during his 15 minutes on the podium at Lucas Oil Stadium.