Andrew Luck is already better than half of the quarterbacks in the NFL

Toward the end of last college football season, a buddy and I sat down and concluded that Andrew Luck, then a junior at Stanford, was already better than half of the quarterbacks in the NFL. I think what prompted this discussion was Alex Smith and the San Francisco 49ers, with both of us deciding that Jim Harbaugh would be better off with his old college quarterback than his current pro quarterback. This was not a scientific discussion, and it more than likely occurred after more than a few beers. But after watching Luck shred the Rams in his first preseason game, we renewed the conversation. Except now, the question was whether he was a Top 10 quarterback.

The scenario we outlined was simple: if you were the head coach in charge of a good NFL offense, and you could pick any NFL starter to be your quarterback for the 2012 season, how many quarterbacks would you pick before you picked Luck?

A disclaimer: these rankings are not a reaction to Luck’s results against the Rams. The St. Louis defense was atrocious last year, so you can only imagine how bad they are when they aren’t using their regular season defense. I would have been surprised if he didn’t put up some serious numbers. It’s the maturity you see from him in putting up those numbers: looking off the safety on his second touchdown pass, his footwork in the pocket (on the few occasions he had a pocket), feeling the pressure and rolling away from it while keeping his eyes downfield. Those are things that quarterbacks like Carson Palmer and Michael Vick still haven’t mastered. With Luck, the only question is how quickly he will learn to read the smorgasbord of defensive schemes that coordinators will throw at a quarterback over the course of a regular season. Once that happens, he is without a doubt a Top 10 quarterback. And having watched how quickly he picked up the college game, I think his next transition will happen very quickly.

Now, the Colts are not a very good football team. Winston Justice and Matt McGlynn are starting on their offensive line. Luck probably will not have much of a running game this season. It would not shock me if he comes close to the 28 interceptions and 22 sacks that Manning endured as a rookie.

All that being said, I can only name nine quarterbacks that I would undoubtedly pick to lead my 2012 offense before I considered picking Luck.

The nine:

  1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
  2. Tom Brady, Patriots
  3. Drew Brees, Saints
  4. Peyton Manning, Broncos
  5. Eli Manning, Giants
  6. Phillip Rivers, Chargers
  7. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
  8. Matt Ryan, Falcons
  9. Tony Romo, Cowboys
I probably have Ryan rated higher than a lot of people might, and you can make a strong argument about whether he or Romo belong rated ahead of some of the quarterbacks below them. But inĀ my quarterback rankings, Luck belongs somewhere in this next group of seven:
  1. Andrew Luck, Colts
  2. Matt Schaub, Texans
  3. Mike Vick, Eagles
  4. Jay Cutler, Bears
  5. Josh Freeman, Bucs
  6. Matt Stafford, Lions
  7. Cam Newton, Panthers

Obviously, you know where I stand on Luck. A lot of people value Matt Stafford higher than I value him. Vick and Newton are tough to rate because of their running abilities. But the one characteristic common among every Super Bowl winning quarterback that I can think of is their ability to manage a game, and I just don’t have a ton of confidence in Vick and Newton’s ability in that department (same goes for Cutler and Stafford).

Here are the quarterbacks I would select Luck over without a second thought:

  1. Andy Dalton, Bengals
  2. Joe Flacco, Ravens
  3. Matt Cassel, Chiefs
  4. Alex Smith, 49ers
  5. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills
  6. Sam Bradford, Rams
  7. Robert Griffin III, Redskins
  8. Ryan Tannenhill, Dolphins
  9. Matt Flynn, Seahawks
  10. Carson Palmer, Bengals
  11. Kevin Kolb, Cardinals
  12. Christian Ponder, Vikings
  13. Brandon Weeden, Browns
  14. Jake Locker, Titans
  15. Mark Sanchez, Jets
  16. Blaine Gabbert, Jaguars

Flacco and Smith obviously have longer track records. Luck is already more polished than both of them.

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2 Responses to Andrew Luck is already better than half of the quarterbacks in the NFL

  1. Ricky says:

    This is the first and only time "Andrew Luck" and "Matt Schaub" will ever have their names anywhere near each other.  

  2. John says:

    There is no substance to this "article".  Is there any logic to your rankings?

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