ESPN released their quarterback rankings today, and despite the remaining uncertainty about Andrew Luck, he found himself ranked 10th among starting quarterbacks in the league.
The voting asked 50 NFL coaches and executives where they thought the QBs belonged, and that voting concluded prior to the Colts announcing that Luck would be fit to participate fully in training camp. That alone speaks to how highly regarded he is around the league. Here was what the article said about the list of voters this year:
The breakdown of voters this year: 10 general managers, five head coaches, 10 coordinators, 10 senior personnel executives, five QB coaches and 10 others with job titles ranging from assistant coach to salary-cap manager to analytics director.
While other AFC South fans and pundits around the league have sniped about Luck being overrated, coaches and executives were willing to place him as the 10th best before they even determined he was fully healthy.
The other AFC South teams did not fare so well. Deshaun Watson was the next closest at 14th, with Marcus Mariota at 21st and Blake Bortles ranked 26th, which might actually be high for him.
Here is how the top ten broke down:
1T. Aaron Rodgers
1T. Tom Brady
3. Drew Brees
4. Ben Roethlisberger
5. Matt Ryan
6. Russell Wilson
7. Matthew Stafford
8. Philip Rivers
9. Carson Wentz
10. Andrew Luck
This list is not all that surprising, and certainly not really disrespectful in the way some of the predictions and rankings this offseason have been. It is a solid group of passers and the fact that Rodgers and Brady top the list and are a given. When healthy, Rodgers is ridiculous. Brady has his track record going for him and although I expect this to be his year of major decline, until it happens, he’ll get the benefit of the doubt.
Some, like Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, and Carson Wentz, will inspire debate about whether they belong above Luck in rankings. Personally, I don’t believe so, however, Luck just missed an entire season and has played hurt prior to that. He has missed time with injury and there are a lot of unknowns, both with him and on the team at large.
Given all that, it is kind of amazing that so many still view Luck as a top 10 quarterback. It reflects the difference in attitude of those who are serious followers of the game and understand it best. Cautious optimism about where he falls in the quarterback landscape is probably the right mentality to have. It is the one that Stephen Holder encourages you to have.
However, Bruce Arians was fond of the saying, “No risk it, no biscuit,” and for good reason. Cautious optimism is for investors. Personally I prefer reckless optimism. I think Andrew Luck is vying for the top spot on this list once he’s had his say by way of the 2018 season. It may not be a contender level season, but I think it’ll be a fun one to watch, and it is nearly here.
What do you think? Where does Luck rank?