A popular offseason project that some NFL writers undertake is a ranking of the quarterbacks throughout the league. These are normally nothing more than articles to fill the time in the offseason, and they’re never worth getting really worked up about.
But a recent ranking of quarterbacks was so hilarious when it comes to Andrew Luck that it’s absolutely worth sharing. It comes from CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, and he once again broke down the NFL quarterbacks into tiers: tier one being “bona fide franchise quarterbacks,” tier two being “top pros, proven winners,” tier three being “rising stars,” tier four being “you can win with them,” tier five being “guys, veterans and place holders,” tier six being “good luck,” and tier seven being “the verdict is out.”
He lists Andrew Luck in the third tier, as a rising star. Making things worse, here’s who else is in that category: Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz, and Jimmy Garoppolo. Yes, that’s right, according to Jason La Canfora Andrew Luck is in the same tier as Jimmy Garoppolo and Carzon Wentz.
When you get done laughing, let’s take a look at what he wrote about including Luck there:
Luck’s serious injury turn the last two seasons has to give you pause. He’s going to miss this entire offseason and who knows how much of the preseason recovering from shoulder surgery and his ascent has stalled some the past two years.
The perception of Andrew Luck was tainted by an injury-plagued 2015 campaign, and it doesn’t seem like some of the national media understood that he bounced back to keep playing in 2016 - Luck missed only one game last season (it was due to a concussion on a short week). He did undergo shoulder surgery this offseason, but it’s important to understand why: to fix an issue that happened in 2015. Which means that Luck was playing on an injured shoulder all last year. Which means that on an injured shoulder Luck still completed 63.5% of his passes for 4,240 yards and 31 touchdowns against 13 interceptions in 2016. Maybe it’s just me, but I wouldn’t categorize that as his ascent stalling.
Now, it’s fair to have some concerns about Andrew Luck’s injuries, and the lingering shoulder issue should certainly be noted. The Colts hope that the surgery fixed the injury and that it makes Luck better in the long-run, but it’s certainly fair to point it out and it’s fair to say that it might “give you pause.” But that shouldn’t prevent Luck from being in a higher tier than Jimmy Garoppolo, especially since Luck played on that injured shoulder last season and was terrific.
Put simply, it just doesn’t seem like some will ever catch on to the fact that Andrew Luck actually played well in 2016, probably because people wrote him off automatically after the 2015 season. But here’s something to consider: in two of the last three seasons (2014 and 2016), Luck has ranked in the top ten in the NFL in passing yards, passing touchdowns, yards per attempt, and passer rating. I wonder which of the past three seasons is most likely to have been an aberration then? Last year, he ranked eighth in yards, fifth in touchdowns, fifth in yards per attempt, ninth in passer rating, and seventh in QBR, while also setting a new career mark for passer rating. And keep in mind that this has all come while playing on a bad team one whose GM was fired this offseason largely because he failed to build the talent level around his franchise quarterback.
In Luck’s five year career, he has completed 59.2% of his passes for 19,078 yards and 132 touchdowns against 68 interceptions for a passer rating of 87.3, all the while adding 1,442 yards and 14 touchdowns rushing while averaging 5.0 yards per carry.
Ultimately, I really don’t care where you rank Andrew Luck. I think there’s healthy room for debate about just where he actually fits in among the NFL’s top quarterbacks, but two things are very clear: 1) Andrew Luck isn’t a rising star but a quarterback who has already established himself as a very good NFL quarterback; and 2) he’s certainly in a higher tier than Jimmy Garoppolo and Carson Wentz.
On the other hand, this would have made for a nice April Fool’s article a couple of days ago. Maybe it was just published a couple of days late on accident?