I don't care how you spin it: Andrew Luck is number one on this list. If you rank Colts players by who is the best, Andrew Luck is number one. If you rank Colts players by who is the most important, Andrew Luck is number one. It really doesn't matter, and it's really not even close.
Basically, if you're surprised whatsoever about this ranking (and I suspect that you're not), all you need to do is go back and watch one Colts game (it doesn't matter which one) and you'll quickly realize something about the team - they are very, very dependent upon their quarterback. Andrew Luck is important.
I could just end the article right here and it'd be just as effective, because there's really no argument about it. But because training camp hasn't quite started yet (almost there!) and because we love talking about how awesome Andrew Luck is, we'll go on just a bit longer.
Luck is off to the best three-year start of his career of any quarterback in NFL history, and for as impressive as the former first overall pick was in his first two years, he was even better in 2014. Last year, Luck led the entire NFL with 40 touchdown passes and set a Colts single-season franchise record by throwing for 4,761 yards - becoming just the seventh player in league history to throw for at least 40 touchdowns and at least 4,750 yards in the same season. It's clear that he's among the best quarterbacks in football already and most quarterback rankings this offseason have reflected that, and he's only going to get better.
He's also as important to his team as any player in football, and perhaps Aaron Rodgers (with the Packers) is the only one who rivals how important Luck is to his team. At the most important position in football, Luck is made even more important by the fact that, through his first three years, he has played on a team with sub-par talent. Defensively, the Colts were average last year but failed against good offenses and quarterbacks. Offensively, Luck has played behind a patchwork offensive line and has been hit more than any quarterback over the last three years. Consider also that for much of the last two seasons he has only had T.Y. Hilton and Coby Fleener as consistent pass catchers, along with a running game headlined by Trent Richardson, and it's easy to see just how important Luck is - because, after all, the Colts have won 33 regular season games over the past three years, won two division titles, made three berths, won three playoff games, and reached the AFC title game. Wins aren't a quarterback stat, but the Colts' success in that category over the past three years while having a team that overall seemed sub-par helps to show just how good and how important Luck is to the team.
Everyone else on this list the Colts can probably win without, though some would be tougher than others. While losing some of the other players might result in less wins or significantly less production, there's only one player on this list that, if injured, would essentially end the Colts' season and chances of competing. That's Andrew Luck, and to simply put him first on this list doesn't do justice to just how important he is to the team. He is really, really important to the team, and the good news is that he's a really, really good player - in other words, he's up to the task.
Past rankings on this list: 1st (2014); 1st (2013)
Check out our list counting down the 15 most important players to the Colts' success in 2015:
15. Jerrell Freeman, ILB
14. Greg Toler, CB
7. Mike Adams, S
1. Andrew Luck, QB