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Preseason Power Rankings: Colts are an afterthought at the bottom of the rankings

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts-Training Camp Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

With just the preseason in between us and real, meaningful football, it is time to have a look at where the Colts are rating among the prominent news outlets. I’ll be honest, I am more than a little bit surprised by the rankings. Bleacher report is the outlier, ranking the Colts 27th, while the rest have them ranked 31st or 32nd.

While I understand that the skepticism about Luck’s health is still floating out there for some, all signs currently point to a full return from Luck. He has shown his ability to make all kinds of throws, is engaged in intense practice with the team in the same way as any of the rest of the starting quarterbacks in the league, and has looked undeniably impressive so far in camp.

I understand that there are lots of questions about the Colts’ roster, but this is a clear indication that people have almost completely forgotten how incredible Andrew Luck was. So there we are. The Colts are criminally underrated. The upshot of this is that we will get to watch all these guys do an about face when they get a look at Luck in action. I don’t anticipate the Colts will rank this low for long.

NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison ranks the Colts 32nd

It’s impossible to write about the Colts without mentioning Andrew Luck. But let’s try! (Even though we already failed.) Marlon Mack and rookie Nyheim Hines should develop into a fine tandem. Ryan Grant flashed in Washington, though Donte Moncrief he’s not. (Of course, the latter couldn’t stay on the field.) Signing former Lions first-round pick Eric Ebron was a worthwhile free agency swing if the tight end seizes his second at-bat. The interior offensive line is relying on kids but suffered a loss when Jack Mewhort retired. Indy’s defense is, well, it leaves a bit to be desired. On paper. That’s why they play the games, though. There’s your dime-store Colts breakdown.

ESPN has them at 32nd

The Colts have had a lackluster rushing attack for a few years now, and after allowing a league-high 56 sacks last season, it makes sense that the offensive line would be a priority (especially with the return of QB Andrew Luck). The Colts used two of the top 37 picks on offensive linemen, making them just the third team in the past 20 years to take two O-linemen that high.

Nate Davis of USA Today ranks the Colts 31st

Really nice to see Andrew Luck practicing and, apparently, pain-free. Also great he’s scorching defense in practice ... but he’s only first who will do that this year.

Shutdown Corner’s Frank Schwab ranks the Colts 31st

Andrew Luck says he feels no pain in camp, and that’s great. But after more than a year of unfulfilled optimism, let’s just wait to see him in games, shall we?

Bleacher Report ranks the Colts as a consensus 27th

The Indianapolis Colts are one of the hardest teams to peg.

Last year, with Andrew Luck sidelined by a shoulder injury, the Colts were a 4-12 tomato can that ranked 30th in total defense and 31st in total offense.

That disastrous season led to the departure of Chuck Pagano, leaving it to new head coach Frank Reich to turn around the team that won the AFC South as recently as 2014.

It’s going to be an uphill climb defensively. Not only are the Colts switching to a 4-3 scheme under new coordinator Matt Eberflus, but the defense is as talent-deficient as any unit in the league. Whether it’s the pass rush, the linebackers or the secondary, impact players are few and far between.

However, Gagnon (who ranked the Colts 24th) thinks Luck’s return is cause for optimism.

”Let’s remember that Andrew Luck was a Pro Bowler in each of his first three seasons, and by all accounts he and T.Y. Hilton have been killing it at training camp,” he said. “I’m giving one of the most talented quarterbacks in the game the benefit of the doubt. And while Indy still has questions all over the place, the Colts won’t be a bottom-five team if Luck is healthy and productive.”