Recently, ESPN's Mike Sando undertook a project in which he asked 35 different coaches, executives, and talent evaluators to rank each quarterback by tier (one being the best, five being the worst). The idea is not only to rank the quarterbacks from best to worst but to group them into tiers to get a better idea of what people in the league think of them. Sometimes, the other quarterbacks in the same tier can help create a much better understanding of just how good a player is than simply a ranking can do.
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was one of six quarterbacks ranked in tier one, and Luck came in as the third-best quarterback overall in the league. He placed just behind Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady and ahead of Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees in tier one. Luck's average ranking was 1.14 - being ranked in tier one on 30 of the 35 ballots. And even that was a surprise to some of the other evaluators who were shocked that Luck wasn't put in tier one by everyone.
"Those five guys didn't play against him," a person who Sando describes as a "longtime defensive coordinator" said when told five people left Luck out of tier one. "He is a 1, I am telling you. He is f------ good. Nobody blocks anybody up front, and he is still good."
A general manager in the league also was surprised that some people left Luck out of the top tier. "Luck didn't get a 1 from everybody?" he asked. "You want to talk about a guy who makes the team? He is Michael Jordan. Their defense sucks. Every game, he has to outscore everybody. He is the epitome of a 1. If I was to draft tomorrow any player in the NFL, it would be Andrew Luck one, Aaron Rodgers two."
Yet another GM noted that, "[the Colts] would not win without him," and a personnel director added that, "Luck is one of the great pressure performers in our league. He might have spells where accuracy is not great, but when the chips are on the line, he performs. For a young quarterback to survive some of the hits he has taken behind that line, not everyone would have done that. He is strong. He has an even head, which you have to have to be special at that position. I'd be surprised if soon we're not talking about him in same breath we talk about Aaron [Rodgers]."
It's not as though people think Luck is perfect - after all, five people ranked him in tier two because of what they consider to be turnover concerns and postseason struggles, but the overwhelming majority of people in the NFL like Andrew Luck a lot. They think he is the real deal and will only get better, and one of the biggest reasons many of them gave for why they like Luck so much is that he played with a roster that wasn't as talented and yet still produced and won games. Luck's line hasn't been that good and his defense has been worse, yet Luck has impressed. When people around the league look at that, they see even more reason to praise the Colts' young quarterback.
And here's the thing: Luck not only is incredibly good now (again, he was ranked as a tier one quarterback and third overall), but he's only going to get better and he has a long career ahead of him. Here are the ages of the other quarterbacks in tier one when the 2015 season gets underway: 31 (Rodgers), 38 (Brady), 33 (Roethlisberger), 39 (Manning), and 36 (Brees). Luck will have just turned 26.
The future is incredibly bright for the Colts, and it's all because of their star quarterback. Not only is the future bright, however, but so is the present - and again, it's all because of their star quarterback.