Though it thankfully seems to becoming less common, one of the main arguments you’ll hear from some
hot take analysts people who share their thoughts about football is that Andrew Luck is overrated.
That’s nice and all, but it’s not true.
That premise is built almost entirely on the pre-draft hype that Andrew Luck received before entering the NFL and the very debatable conclusion that he seemingly hasn’t lived up to that hype. So the (faulty) argument goes that because people thought he was the best prospect in a generation they still think he’s very good even though he hasn’t lived up to it. In essence, he’s overrated. Then, when the 2015 season came along and Luck played bad football - which, we’ve come to find out, was all while he was injured - it seemed to confirm what those people wanted to believe, so they needn’t pay attention to the 2016 season.
It all culminates in this idea that Luck is overrated, but I think that ship has sailed in the past year, because his play in 2016 versus the recognition and perception of his play in 2016 has been very much underrating him.
We first saw evidence of that in the Pro Bowl voting, when Luck inexplicably was only the third alternate for the AFC - meaning he was sixth among AFC quarterbacks, behind Tom Brady, Derek Carr, Ben Roethlisberger, Marcus Mariota, and Alex Smith. In 2016, Luck was second in the AFC in passing yards per game, passing touchdowns, and passer rating while ranking fifth in yards per attempt. There’s absolutely no way to argue that he was just the sixth-best QB in the conference, yet that’s what the Pro Bowl voting determined - underrating the Colts’ quarterback.
But the Pro Bowl has lost plenty of credibility over the years anyway, so let’s look at a list that hasn’t ever really had a ton of credibility to begin with: the annual NFL Top 100 list. Voted on by players, the list is pretty vague as to whether it’s ranking the best players period or the best players from the previous season. But either way, this year’s list very much underrated Luck.
Though the top ten has yet to be revealed, I think we can safely assume that Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Matt Ryan will be the quarterbacks within the top ten for this year’s list. So with those three as the presumed top ten players at the position, here’s how the list ranked the quarterbacks:
Tom Brady, Patriots (Top 10)
Aaron Rodgers, Packers (Top 10)
Matt Ryan, Falcons (Top 10)
Derek Carr, Raiders (11)
Dak Prescott, Cowboys (14)
Drew Brees, Saints (16)
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (22)
Russell Wilson, Seahawks (24)
Matthew Stafford, Lions (31)
Cam Newton, Panthers (44)
Marcus Mariota, Titans (50)
Andrew Luck, Colts (51)
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers (57)
Kirk Cousins, Redskins (70)
Philip Rivers, Chargers (73)
Alex Smith, Chiefs (81)
On this list, Andrew Luck is 12th among quarterbacks, and there’s really no way to determine why that is. Some might argue that the reason Luck is that low is because he doesn’t have the career resume of those above him (like, say, Brees or Roethlisberger), but then again neither does Dak Prescott, who was the fifth quarterback on this list, or Marcus Mariota, who was 11th.
Here’s the reality: last year, Luck was sixth in the league in passing yards per game, fifth in touchdown passes, eighth in passer rating, tenth in yards per attempt, seventh in QB rushing yards, fifth in QB rushing yards per attempt, and did all of it despite being one of the most hit, pressured, and sacked quarterbacks in the league while playing for a bad team. He completed 63.5% of his passes for 4,240 yards (7.8 yards per attempt), 31 touchdowns, and 13 picks for a passer rating of 96.4, all while also rushing for 341 yards and two scores (5.3 yards per attempt). As our own Matt Danely wrote, Luck was a top-five quarterback last year.
Andrew Luck was terrific in 2016, but people don’t seem to notice. So regardless of how good you think he is, let’s stop with this notion that he’s somehow ‘overrated,’ because all we’ve seen recently suggests that he’s certainly not. If anything, he’s actually underrated.