When it comes to the NFL offseason, OTAs and quarterback rankings are two of the staples of the period. Due to OTAs over the past few weeks, a quarterback ranking from NFL.com's Bucky Brooks from a week and a half ago slipped under the radar, but let's take a look back and see what he had to say.
It's uncommon for a young quarterback hyped as a franchise player to live up to that promise, but Luck has been better than advertised as the Colts' offensive leader. The three-year veteran continues to refine his game while displaying improved efficiency and effectiveness as a playmaker. Luck significantly increased his pass production (4,761 yards, up from 3,822 in 2013) and boosted his touchdown-to-interception ratio (40:16, up from 23:9 in 2013) while showing his ability to carry an offense with pedestrian players (aging receiver Reggie Wayne and ineffective back Trent Richardson) plugged into key roles. Thanks to Indy's offseason offensive makeover, Luck heads into 2015 with a proven runner (Frank Gore), a veteran big-bodied WR1 (Andre Johnson), a quartet of explosive pass catchers (T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett and Duron Carter) and a pair of dynamic tight ends (Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen) at his disposal. This supporting cast could help him set the football world ablaze.
Russell Wilson checked in at number four, while Tom Brady rounded out the top five. Tony Romo, Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, Eli Manning, and Peyton Manning also made the top ten.
We've seen nearly unanimous praise for Luck on these quarterback rankings this offseason, as he's always in the top ten and often significantly higher. Third is about as high as we've seen him ranked, however, and while I wouldn't fault anyone for putting a guy like Tom Brady ahead of him, I think that Brooks' ranking does reflect pretty accurately just how good the Colts' quarterback already is.
In 2014, he broke Peyton Manning's franchise record for single-season passing yards with 4,761 (finishing third in the league) and led the league with 40 touchdowns. He has played just three seasons in the league and the best is yet to come from Luck, which is a scary thought for the rest of the league. He not only brings a great arm and football knowledge to the table but also the athleticism to beat teams with his legs and by moving around in (and out of) the pocket. With a sub-par offensive line and a largely ineffective wide receiver position a year ago (outside of T.Y. Hilton), plus the less-than-illustrious running talent of Trent Richardson, Luck made a below-average team much better and helped lead them to the AFC Championship game.
Regardless of where Andrew Luck ranks, there's little doubt about it: he's already one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.