Andrew Luck Is Already the Second Best Quartertback in the AFC South

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistMarch 29, 2012

He's not better than Schaub, but he's pretty good.
He's not better than Schaub, but he's pretty good.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Over the next few weeks, I'll be ranking the position groups in the AFC South according to their relative strength. Today, we'll start with starting quarterbacks.


1. Houston: Matt Schaub

Schaub is far and away the most accomplished quarterback in the South. He's been to a Pro Bowl and won a passing title. Since 2009, he ranks in the top 10 in most NFL categories. The only negative about him is his injury risk. He's played in 16 games just two of five seasons in Houston.

Schaub is the major trump card the Texans hold over the rest of the division. His yards per attempt have been over 8.0 for three of the last four years, and he's posted passer ratings over 90 every season since 2008.


2. Indianapolis: Andrew Luck*

Obviously, the Colts haven't actually selected Luck yet, but I'm pretty sure they are thinking about it. It may seem blasphemous to rank a guy who has never played a down over two guys who have, but if Luck had come out of the draft last year, he would have been selected before Locker or Gabbert.

If you asked the Titans or Jaguars to trade straight up Locker or Gabbert for Luck, each of them would grab Luck in a heartbeat. The only question would be how many additional picks they'd have to surrender to get him. Normally, players have to prove it on the field, but in this case a bit of speculation is warranted.


3. Tennessee: Jake Locker

Jake Locker hasn't won the starting job in Tennessee yet, but I think he's going to. He had a strong rookie showing in limited snaps, and we should know very soon if he's going to make it in the league. Matt Hasselbeck had a nice first year in Nashville, but he's a stop-gap at this point. If the Titans are going to make the leap, Locker needs to shoot up this list in 2012.


4. Jacksonville: Blaine Gabbert

I don't believe in Gabbert. I think he's going to have a hard time establishing himself, and if you listen closely to the Jaguars, they haven't expressed unbridled support either. They've brought in Henne to push Gabbert for the starting job. Gabbert's best asset at this point is Mike Mularkey. Mularkey is a smart guy and a good quarterback coach.

The Jags could stand to get Gabbert help, but ultimately, he's the one who has to prove he deserves a higher spot on the list.