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ESPN: Andrew Luck 3rd Best Quarterback Per League Insiders


According to NFL Insider Mike Sando of ESPN Insider (subscription), Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is the 3rd best quarterback in the NFL per a voting panel of 35 league insiders.

The aforementioned insiders are coaches and evaluators in league circles, and Luck was placed in Tier 1, which is comprised of quarterbacks who “can carry their teams week after week and contend for championships without as much help”.

Moving up from last season’s #5 spot, Luck was just behind Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady who were tied at #1 and joined Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees respectively in the truly elite 1st tier:

"3. Andrew Luck | Indianapolis ColtsAverage rating: 1.14 | Change in rating: +23.8%2014 Rank: 5Luck went from a disputed Tier 1 QB one year ago to a resounding choice after again carrying a weak roster to the postseason.“Luck didn’t get a 1 from everybody?” a GM asked. He was incredulous. “You want to talk about a guy who makes the team? He is Michael Jordan. Their defense sucks. Every game, he has to outscore everybody. He is the epitome of a 1. If I was to draft tomorrow any player in the NFL, it would be Andrew Luck one, Aaron Rodgers two.”The five voters who placed Luck in the second tier cited a few reasons. Some thought Luck needed to do a better job protecting the football. Others pointed to Luck’s underwhelming resume in the postseason. Luck also benefits from playing in a weak division. (One defensive coordinator’s response: “Those five guys didn’t play against him.”)“It is almost like we are giving him the benefit of the doubt just in terms of numbers, but he has won games,” another GM said. “Yes, he is in an easy division, but he won, even as a rookie. They would not win without him.”Some quarterbacks with winning records benefit from top-flight defenses and/or strong running games. Luck has won even with the Colts being especially weak in those complementary phases.“I don’t know who didn’t give Luck a 1, but he is better than all of them,” a head coach said. “He is as smart as Peyton, he is as accurate as Brady, he is tougher than Ben and he is as athletic as RG III.”Even those who thought Luck deserved a second-tier vote at this point felt as though he would ascend into the top tier before long.“Luck is one of the great pressure performers in our league,” a personnel director said. “He might have spells where accuracy is not great, but when the chips are on the line, he performs. For a young quarterback to survive some of the hits he has taken behind that line, not everyone would have done that. He is strong. He has an even head, which you have to have to be special at that position. I’d be surprised if soon we’re not talking about him in same breath we talk about Aaron.”"

There’s no doubt that Luck is the top young quarterback in the game (*unless you’re a diehard Seahawks fan). He’s coming off a league-leading 40 touchdown pass season and just carried his team to the AFC Championship game. In his first 3 seasons in the NFL, the Colts have made the playoffs all 3 times despite often having teams with glaring holes, particularly on the defensive side of the football.

Dec 14, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) warms up before the game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

At age 25, it should be too long before Luck is considered the top quarterback in the game, especially with the old guard at quarterback clearly aging. He has the rare combination of smarts, arm, and athleticism that should make him one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game before it’s all said and done.

However, his critics do make some fair points. The AFC South is a woeful division, and any team would make the playoffs if they had “an Andrew Luck” instead of the Colts. The latter does need to cut down on some of his turnovers too, especially in the playoffs, where Luck has 9 career postseason touchdowns to 12 interceptions respectively.

Luck’s teams have only gone 3-3 in the postseason, but to be fair, the teams he’s lost to have simply been better including the Patriots twice recently in consecutive seasons. Against New England, the Colts have clearly been outmatched and beaten in all facets of the game, on both sides of the football

That being said, Luck is still a young quarterback and still has room to improve and grow, which has to be a scary thought for opposing defenses and the rest of the league. While he’s not quite there in becoming the best quarterback in the NFL, he’s clearly on the cusp of quarterback supremacy.

It’s not really a question of if, but when…sooner rather than later.

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