INDIANAPOLIS — Andrew Luck was a Most Valuable Player candidate in 2014, when he threw for 4,761 yards and 40 touchdowns and led the Indianapolis Colts to the AFC Championship Game.
But to Pro Football Focus, Luck's 2016 season was even better.
So perhaps it's no surprise, then, that expectations are high, as usual, for Luck entering the 2017 season.
PFF on Tuesday ranked Luck at 25th in its "Top 50 Players For 2017" list, which is compiled by senior analyst Sam Monson:
Monson dove even deeper into Luck's positioning on his list:
"This past season was the best year of Luck's career, and the first time we really saw him consistently play up to his sky-high potential. Luck was particularly impressive on the deep ball, completing 39 passes of 20-plus air yards (tied for the most in the league) and throwing 11 touchdowns to just four picks on those shots. His adjusted completion percentage on those deep shots was 54.1 percent, the fourth best mark in the league, and his PFF grade of 92.4 was one of just four grades over 90 among the quarterback crop."
Luck so far is the third quarterback ranked in the the PFF Top 50, and is listed ahead of Drew Brees (No. 47) and Russell Wilson (No. 26).
The remainder of the PFF Top 50 for 2017 is expected to be released throughout the week, but one might imagine other QBs in the Top 20 could be Derek Carr, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers and/or Tom Brady.
Luck, of course, was recently ranked at No. 51 in the NFL Network's "Top 100 Players Of 2017" list, but the big difference is PFF's ranking is largely based on its own evaluations, while the NFL Network's list is compiled based on votes by the players themselves. Luck was joined in the Top 100 by wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who was ranked 61st.
Looking at the traditional stats, it's easy to see why Luck appears on both lists. In 2016, he completed 346 of 545 passes (for a career-best 63.5 completion percentage) with 31 touchdowns to just 13 interceptions. His yards-per-attempt mark of 7.8 was also a career best.
Luck might be ranked even higher on both lists, however, if he weren't currently recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. As of Tuesday, he still wasn’t throwing at the Colts' OTA practice sessions, and head coach Chuck Pagano said there still isn't a set-in-stone timetable for Luck to begin tossing the ball around.
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