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Andrew Luck Comes In At No. 43 In ESPN’s #NFLRank List

Posted Aug 24, 2016

Intro: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was ranked this morning as the 43rd-best NFL player in ESPN.com’s #NFLRank list that also includes cornerback Vontae Davis.

INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL Network has its annual “NFL Top 100 Players” countdown each year, featuring voting results from the players themselves.

Other publications have similar yearly rankings, like Pro Football Focus’ “101 Best Players In The NFL Right Now.”

Monday and Tuesday saw the release of another similar listing, this time by the crew at ESPN.com: its “#NFLRank,” which rates players “based on how good they are — not what positions they play or how many endorsements they have.”

A panel of more than 50 voters — both from ESPN and outside the sports network — rated every player in the league on a scale of 1 to 100 (1 being “a player who doesn’t belong in the NFL” and 100 being “all-time level of excellence).

For now, the website has its players ranked from No. 26 to 100 on the site, and the two Colts representatives on the list are quarterback Andrew Luck, who comes in at No. 43, and cornerback Vontae Davis, who ranks 96th.

Here’s what ESPN.com’s Mike Wells had to write about Luck's ranking. You can see the entire list by clicking here, and here, but you must have ESPN Insider access to see the whole thing

No. 43: Andrew Luck
Average rating: 85.8; 2015 rank: 12

Don't be fooled by Luck's disappointing numbers -- 15 touchdowns and 13 turnovers -- in seven games last season. The former No. 1 overall pick was barely healthy. Go back to the 2014 season when Luck threw for 4,761 yards and 40 touchdowns if you want a better picture of what he can do. This is a redemption season for the $140 million quarterback.

Luck certainly showed he’s back on the right track last Saturday in the Colts’ Week 2 preseason matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

Playing in his first action since Nov. 8 — a 27-24 win over the Denver Broncos — Luck completed all eight of his pass attempts for 69 yards, and ran two times for another 12 yards in two total series for the first-team offense.

His decisions were, well, decisive, and he also slid twice in the game just to show that he’s capable of protecting himself when needed. In a couple instances, with the field wide open in front of him, Luck instead just dumped the ball off to a nearby receiver to get the chunk yards instead of taking a risk by going into the open field on his own.

The offense, in turn, got in field-goal range on both of Luck’s series, though the second time out Dwayne Allen’s fumble gave the ball back to the defense. Luck saw plenty to clean up in all from the offense, but is encouraged overall.

“It was fun to get back out there,” he said. “We did some good things. Disappointed we didn’t score touchdowns. We need to do that. We shot ourselves in the foot down there but it was fun, it was a lot of fun. You love playing at Lucas Oil in front of a great crowd. It’s nice to be back on the field.”

If Luck can get back to that aforementioned 2014 level of play, there’s no reason why he won’t rise back to a Top 12 — or even higher — player on this list a year from now.

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Now, here’s what Wells had to say about Davis. We’ll preface this by saying the list was released before it was known that Davis had suffered an ankle injury and could miss the next few weeks recovering, but his value to the Colts’ defense is still obviously felt, nonetheless:

96: Vontae Davis
Average rating: 80.27; 2015 rank: 71


Davis' string of 25-straight games of not giving up a touchdown reception ended in Week 2 last season. The Colts need Davis, who dealt with nagging injuries all year, to get back to taking away one half of the field on defense again. "He knows, in order for us to be the type of defense that we want to be, that he has to," coach Chuck Pagano said. "There's no gray area there. He either does it, or we're not going to be the same type of defense."


You’ll remember those thoughts from head coach Chuck Pagano were detailed on this website in June (Pagano: ‘Consistency’ Is The Next Step For Vontae Davis’).

What’s amazing about Davis is how dominant his 2014 season really was — he had 44 tackles, four interceptions, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and tied for third in the NFL with 18 passes defensed — and, even though he wasn’t 100 percent healthy for most of the 2015 season, he still produced at a Pro Bowl level.

He started in all 16 games and had even more tackles than 2014 (50), just as many interceptions (four) and only two fewer passes defensed (16).

His presence undoubtedly makes him, along with outside linebacker Robert Mathis, the most important piece of the Colts’ defense heading into 2016.

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It’s looking like Luck and Davis will likely be the only players represented on this list for the 2016 season, but that certainly shouldn’t be the case.

Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton was ranked No. 44 a year ago, and with a healthy Luck back, you would think he should certainly be in the Top 50 again this year.

The aforementioned Mathis, who managed seven sacks last season while still fully recovering from 10 operations to fix an Achilles injury, should’ve definitely gotten some looks, too, as should Colts punter Pat McAfee — the top special teams weapon in the league.

We’ll see soon if there are any surprises in the Top 25 of this specific list. Check back for an update if that is the case.

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