INDIANAPOLIS — This time last offseason, the Indianapolis Colts had just one player, edge rusher Jabaal Sheard, appear on Pro Football Focus' annual "Top 101 Players" list.
On Friday, PFF, which has been slowly announcing its "top 101 players from the 2018 NFL season" list this week, revealed that a fourth member of the Colts has made this year's listing.
That was quarterback Andrew Luck, who was PFF's 12th best player in the NFL in 2018.
Luck joins teammates T.Y. Hilton (No. 59), Darius Leonard (No. 76) and Quenton Nelson (No. 86) on this year's list. The Colts' four selections are tied for the most for the team since PFF started its "Top 101" list back in 2013; in 2014, cornerback Vontae Davis (No. 6), tackle Anthony Castonzo (No. 66), Luck (No. 84) and Hilton (No. 90) each made the list.
Selected this past weekend as the NFL's 2018 Comeback Player of the Year, Luck's story is already well-known. In January 2017, he underwent surgery to his throwing shoulder with hopes of returning in time for the start of the 2017 regular season, but that date was eventually pushed back.
After a short return to the practice field that October, Luck was unable to overcome the immense pain he still felt after his throwing sessions, and was shut down for the remainder of the season and placed on injured reserve.
Luck then began a much more intense and focused rehab regimen that saw him strengthen the muscles around his shoulder, as well as reconfigure the base from which he threw. Feeling stronger every day, Luck worked his way back to a full practice load by training camp, and was good to go for the start of the 2018 season — one in which he would eventually lead the Colts to a 10-6 record and their first playoff appearance in four seasons. Indy would go on the road to defeat its AFC South Division rival, the Houston Texans, in the Wild Card Round before falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round.
Individually, Luck in 2018 was named to his fourth career Pro Bowl after starting all 16 games and completing 430-of-639 passes (67.3 percent) for 4,593 yards with 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions for a 98.7 passer rating. He set single-season career highs in completions, attempts, completion percentage and passer rating.
Luck’s passing yards and passing touchdowns were the second-best marks of his career.
He ranked in the top-five in the NFL in passing touchdowns (second), attempts (second), completions (second) and yards (fifth). From Weeks 4-12, Luck threw three or more touchdown passes in eight consecutive games, which was the longest streak in the NFL this season and tied for the second-longest in league history.
PFF acknowledged Luck's notable comeback, as well as his statistical prowess, when ranking him as its 12th-best player of the 2018 season — the quarterback's third-career appearance on PFF's Top 101 players countdown:
12. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Top 101 appearances: 3
"There once was legitimate questions about whether Andrew Luck would ever play football again, but Luck answered those questions firmly with a tumultuous comeback season. He finished the season ranked third among all quarterbacks in PFF grade at 91.2, while his 34 touchdown passes from a clean pocket were second to only Patrick Mahomes."
PFF Top 101
The Colts now have had at least one player selected to Pro Football Focus' "Top 101 Players" list since its inception in 2013:
2013: OLB Robert Mathis (No. 14), WR T.Y. Hilton (No. 92)
2014: CB Vontae Davis (No. 6), T Anthony Castonzo (No. 66), QB Andrew Luck (No. 84), WR T.Y. Hilton (No. 90)
2015: LB Jerrell Freeman (No. 73)
2016: QB Andrew Luck (No. 33), WR T.Y. Hilton (No. 54)
2017: OLB Jabaal Sheard (No. 41)
2018: QB Andrew Luck (No. 12), WR T.Y. Hilton (No. 59), LB Darius Leonard (No. 76), G Quenton Nelson (No. 86)