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The Indianapolis Colts secured the top pick of the 2012 NFL Draft on Sunday as they lost a 19-13 decision to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Although the St. Louis Rams also lost, the Colts hold the tiebreaker due to strength of schedule. That puts the Colts on the clock with an opportunity to select one of the most sought after quarterbacks in recent memory, Andrew Luck.
While Luck remains the likely top candidate, there are still some scenarios that could create havoc with the 2012 NFL Draft. The odds are fairly high the Colts select Luck and move on from there, but not all NFL general managers make the wisest decisions.
If the Colts receive a proverbial "Godfather" offer, it is possible they might decide a bounty of picks would be in their best interest. Much like when the Dallas Cowboys traded Herschel Walker for a boatload of picks, the right offer could very well change the Colts minds. You can view the current draft order pending a coin flip. The Cleveland Browns have some extra picks thanks to the 2011 draft day trade that got the Atlanta Falcons Julio Jones. They have Colt McCoy, but if they think Andrew Luck is a better option, maybe they try and pull the trigger. It is not something people are saying will happen, but anything is possible.
The other possible scenario is how Robert Griffin III's draft status moves in the coming months. He is reportedly going to declare for the draft following a monster season capped by the Heisman Trophy. If he enters the draft, it becomes a two QB race at this point. Luck has a sizable lead, but anything is possible over the next four months. I don't think RG3 passes Luck on the Colts draft board, but again, anything is possible.
Here is the current Top 20 draft order:
1. Indianapolis Colts, 2-14
2. St. Louis Rams, 2-14
3. Minnesota Vikings, 3-13
4. Cleveland Browns, 4-12
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4-12
6. Washington Redskins, 5-11
7. Jacksonville Jaguars, 5-11
8. Carolina Panthers, 6-10
9. Miami Dolphins, 6-10
10. Buffalo Bills, 6-10
11. Seattle Seahawks, 7-9*
12. Kansas City Chiefs, 7-9*
13. Arizona Cardinals, 8-8
14. Dallas Cowboys, 8-8
15. Philadelphia Eagles, 8-8
16. New York Jets, 8-8
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland Raiders, 8-8)
18. San Diego Chargers, 8-8
19. Chicago Bears, 8-8
20. Tennessee Titans, 9-7
*Will be determined by coin flip
Well, the seemingly inevitable has happened. The Indianapolis Colts have locked up the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft with their 19-13 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, likely signaling that they will be the winners of the Andrew Luck Draft Sweepstakes this season.
Or will they?
The Colts will undoubtedly have some teams interested in a possible trade situation to move up to the No. 1 spot, but there is still a lot of speculation as to whether Peyton Manning can return to his previous form, or play another football game at all, meaning if I were Bill Polian I would be taking the Stanford Cardinal standout without blinking an eye.
The NFL is first and foremost a business, and the Colts will have to weigh their options before making a decision on Luck, but whatever way they decide to go with it, their unfortunate 2011 season will have a lot of positive impact moving forward for the franchise.
According to ESPN.com's NFL insider Chris Mortensen, Baylor Bears standout quarterback and 2011 Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III is expected to make the next step and enter the 2012 NFL Draft, making it a proverbial two horse race atop the draft class between himself and Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck.
Griffin already has his bachelor's degree, but was contemplating returning to complete a Master's degree according to his Father, but RG3 has weighed his options and apparently made his decision:
"I met with my son (Friday) and his schedule is pretty much he will attend the Sugar Bowl here in New Orleans (where the Griffins live), then next weekend he will meet with five agents and select the right agent to represent him and plan a good pre-draft process," Griffin II said. "After that he will sit down with three of his coaches at Baylor on Wednesday or Thursday (Jan. 11 or 12) and make it official."
Furthermore, The Indianapolis Colts have already done their due diligence scouting him, and would feel comfortable taking him if they were to beat Jacksonville this Sunday and remove themselves from the No. 1 overall seed, likely meaning that Andrew Luck would be heading their way.
"Robert has no preference of teams," Griffin II said. "He will be fine with whoever takes him."
Andrew Luck has been considered the top pick in the NFL draft for many months now and he has continually been hounded by the media to find which team he hopes to be selected by. Throughout the entire process Luck has continued to say he has no preference come draft day, and he maintained that belief as he talked after practice for the Fiesta Bowl, as Tom Fitzgerald reports.
"My preferences haven't changed," the Stanford quarterback said at a Fiesta Bowl news conference. "Wherever I land, it will be great. I am not rooting for one team to win or lose or whatever."
All of his attention is focused on Monday's game against Oklahoma State, he said. "I'm not going to say I don't care about (the draft) because I do care about football. Wherever I end up, I'm sure it will be the best spot for me."
The Colts and Rams are the two teams battling for the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft. Should Indianapolis lose to the Jaguars on Sunday (or if the Rams win on Sunday), they'll claim the top pick. If the Colts win and the Rams lose, it'll be St. Louis who has the first crack at Andrew Luck. It is unclear at this point if the Rams would take Luck, but that is a different story for another time.
A reporter offered to bet him a dollar that he would be the top pick. "I can't do that," Luck said with a laugh. "NCAA student-athlete."
Regardless of which team lands Andrew Luck, they are sure to receive a heck of a football player and an even better human being.
The big news coming out of Los Angeles was that junior quarterback Matt Barkley would be staying at USC for his senior season. Should he have elected to turn pro, many viewed Barkley as the second or third-best quarterback prospect on the draft boards. Along with Andrew Luck, Barkley would have joined Robert Griffin III as the likely quarterbacks taken early in the first round.
With Barkley deciding to stay in college, the demand for Luck will only increase. And if RG3 decides to stay at Baylor as well, his stock would fly through the roof. Those three were undoubtably the top-three quarterback prospects and there are as many as eight or nine teams looking for a quarterback. With guys like Nick Foles and Landry Jones potentially being the best options after Luck, it's no wonder why so many teams would line up to acquire the No. 1 pick.
As of right now it appears the Colts are likely to land the top spot in the 2012 Draft and all signs point to Indianapolis taking Luck, with or without a healthy Peyton Manning. Should the Colts not claim the pick, both the Rams and Vikings, who are both 2-13 on the season, would have big decisions to make. With so few quality quarterbacks available, it would be a seller's market next April.
Matt Barkley staying in college may not help teams with mid-round picks, but it helps Andrew Luck and whichever team lands the No. 1 pick by leaps and bounds.
The race to draft Andrew Luck took two interesting turns on Thursday. The first and most notable bit of news was the Indianapolis Colts winning their second game in a row, knocking off the Texans with a last-minute drive. With the victory, the Colts (2-13) are now basically tied with the Rams (2-12) and Vikings (2-12) for the worst record in football.
The Rams will likely lose their last two games of the season (@ Pittsburgh, vs. 49ers), while the Vikings (@ Washington, vs. Bears) have a chance to win a game or two. The Colts end their season on the road against the Jaguars.
As far as the No. 1 pick goes, should one of these three teams have fewer wins than the other two, they automatically clinch the top pick. Should there be a tie, the NFL determines the drafting order by strength of schedule. According to Adam Schefter, the Colts would own the tiebreaker, despite the typo in this tweet:
Even with 2nd win, Colts still pick No. 1 overall today. They clinch No. 1 if they beat Jaguars in last game, according to ESPN research.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 23, 2011
We would have to assume the ESPN insider meant if the Colts 'lose' to Jacksonville they would claim the No. 1 pick, but I guess there's always a chance that isn't correct.
This was not the only interesting tidbit of news surrounding the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes to come out. According to a report, Peyton Manning will play the 2012 season in Indianapolis if he's healthy.
On Thursday, Colts owner Jim Irsay told NFL Network he couldn't foresee a scenario in which Manning would play anywhere but Indianapolis unless he can't play at all.
"I think the situation is if he's back and he's healthy, I see him coming back and playing here," Irsay said in a 10-minute interview before the game with Houston began. "I think the hope is that his health is in the position where he could return again. That remains uncertain and that's something that's first and foremost on my mind."
It will be very interesting to see if Luck has any reservations about not starting immediately, or even for two or three seasons. Manning's future is completely up in the air at this point and the Stanford quarterback may not want to sit on the bench for years to come with the Colts.
This is getting good, folks. The draft is only a few months away. Stay tuned.
A week ago, it didn't look like anyone was going to seriously challenge the Indianapolis Colts for the number one pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. At 0-13, the Colts were in the driver's seat, as no other team had less than two victories on their record.
Indianapolis is still in pretty good shape, but beating the Tennessee Titans does make it a little interesting. The Colts are now 1-13 and only one game behind the 2-12 St. Louis Rams (who lost to Cincinnati) and the 2-12 Minnesota Vikings (who were routed by New Orleans). If the Colts were to win one more game (they do play the Jacksonville Jaguars the final week of the year), they might end up with the same record as the Rams (who finish up at Pittsburgh and home against San Francisco) and the Vikings (at Washington, home against Chicago).
The number one draft pick is still there for the Colts to lose. But it's very much up for grabs going into the final week of the season.
SBNation delivered its first 2012 NFL mock draft and it starts off with one of the biggest surprises in the history of the NFL Draft - it has Stanford's Andrew Luck going no. 1 overall to the Indianapolis Colts.
Oh, wait, nevermind. You already knew that.
Luck's status as the top overall pick has not changed even with the various public discussions concerning whether or not Luck and Peyton Manning can co-exist. At the end of the day, the Colts have a chance to do the same thing they did with Manning - turn a terrible regular season into a promising future with another (hopefully) franchise-caliber quarterback.
But Luck isn't the only Cardinal being mentioned.
Offensive guard David DeCastro is slotted in the no. 11 spot to the Arizona Cardinals and mentions DeCastro as the second-best offensive lineman in the draft. DeCastro could have a big impact on the Cardinals running game and the protection of Cardinals' quarterback Kevin Kolb.
Offensive tackle Jonathan Martin is slotted right behind DeCastro in the no. 12 spot to the Kansas City Chiefs. He can play either tackle spot and will have a similar impact as DeCastro on the Chiefs' running and passing games.
A lot of Cardinal action near the top of the draft this year. Stay tuned for updates.
Robert Griffin III took home the 2011 Heisman Trophy Saturday evening, edging out Stanford QB Andrew Luck by 280 points. Luck put together a very solid 2011 regular season, but the flash and sizzle of RG3 was enough to get him over the hump as he became the first Baylor player to take home the Heisman.
Naturally, in this era of finding the next big thing yesterday and picking apart people at the top, the topic has now switched from who deserved the Heisman Trophy to who should be the number one pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. Both technically still have to declare for the draft as they both have eligibility remaining. Luck is strongly expected to declare while Griffin remains a mystery.
Andrew Luck entered the season as the consensus pick to win the Heisman and also the consensus pick to be the number one pick of the upcoming draft. While he put together a very solid 2011 season, he likely did not have enough sizzle moments that can define a player's Heisman candidacy. Griffin on the other hand had several such moments throughout the season and was rewarded accordingly.
Now, word has it that some NFL executives might be having second thoughts about Luck as the best option for the number one pick. There are reportedly some NFL executives who claim to prefer Griffin to Luck based in part on everything from his ridiculous athleticism to his high completion percentage and the way he carries himself.
Some would say the only opinion that matters is that of the Indianapolis Colts front office, since they have the number one pick. If Griffin emerges as a potential alternative to Luck, it creates a whole host of question marks about the Colts intentions as well as well potential trade opportunities with the number two team and anybody else around.
It is easy to get excited about the next big thing. That is not to say RG3 is not going to be a successful NFL quarterback, but teams would still be foolish to quickly move past Andrew Luck just because of the shiny new toy. Luck can make the NFL throws and has the intelligence to run an offense and be the centerpiece of a team.
However this plays out, the next four or so months will be incredibly interesting as the NFL and college players work their way through the annual draft process.
Archie Manning seemed to make a pretty definitive statement on whether his son Peyton Manning and future number one draft pick Andrew Luck could play together, believing that it wouldn't work out if the two were on the same team.
"I don't think it'd necessarily be great for either one," he said then. "I think Andrew's the type of mature player . . . he can walk right in. I mean, these other three or four guys that are playing this year, (if) they can walk in and contribute, Andrew can, too."
Only a day later, Archie appears to have changed his tone.
"I'm sure they could," Archie Manning said in a phone interview Wednesday. "Andrew is a great young man and we've enjoyed getting to know him. He and Peyton have a friendship, and I'm one of the few people out there that's not really concerned about this deal. All good people respect each other and I'm sure this will all shake out."
It did seem rather odd that Archie would believe that his son couldn't get along with his potential heir apparent. Peyton has never come out and publicly supported Luck, but the two quarterbacks have ties going back years.
There could be some issues in place. Archie believes that his son will want to play next year, as will Luck. Clearly, they can't do that as starters if they're both on the same team. Also, Manning probably wasn't happy with his dad's comments as they would cause public issues he'd rather not deal with, regardless of his feelings on the matter. It's a situation that we might be talking about over and over until Draft Day 2012.
If you want to discuss the idea of Luck and Manning playing together, go to Stampede Blue.
Archie Manning, father of Colts' QB Peyton Manning, shed some light on the mindset of his son as Indianapolis hurtles towards the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and the prospect of selecting Stanford QB Andrew Luck. According to ESPN, via ProFootballTalk, Manning told FOX Sports Radio on Tuesday:
"I don't think it'd necessarily be great for either one. I think Andrew's the type of mature player ... he can walk right in. I mean, these other three or four guys that are playing this year, [if] they can walk in and contribute, Andrew can, too.
I used to play with his dad [Oliver]. ... I'm in New York, I heard from him last night. Peyton's also tried to help Andrew and kind of be a friend. I doubt if either one wants to play on the same team."
It looks likely now that unless Peyton can return this season and lead his team to some wins, the Colts will be picking first and ironically have dibs on the quarterback that many have dubbed 'The Next Peyton Manning.' The Colts organization hasn't talked to the Manning family about their plans in the Draft, according to that same interview, but it's interesting to get the family's perspective on the matter, something that's been speculated on ad nauseam the last few months.
Peyton's health is the number one factor at play here, and if it's determined that he will not be able to continue his one day Hall-of-Fame career, taking Luck becomes a no-brainer. If he recovers though, it's still a very viable option, and things will start to get very interesting.
Andrew Luck has been one of the better collegiate quarterbacks in the nation for the last three seasons and just about everyone has seen him play multiple times now. A lot of pressure and responsibility comes with being projected as the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, and it is safe to say Luck surpassed these expectations with flying colors.
This is not to say Luck does not have some critics, though. NFL executives have found flaws, but honestly, they're just bored and nitpicking at this point:
I've heard the nitpicking on Andrew Luck, so I made some calls this week to see what the folks paid to evaluate college players think. And what's come back is the same kind of unanimous result that you've gotten when asking about Luck all along. As one NFC personnel executive put it, "I'd bet they're just bored of hearing how great he is."
Another NFC personnel executive said that in the past two decades, "He's one of five guys that I've [scouted] where I can say, 'Yes, no doubt about it, he's gonna be damn good.' "
The first executive took it a step further, saying, "With Luck, I'd bet my life on it. With [Matt] Barkley and [Landry] Jones, you'd like to give them more time. They need to be phased in. With Luck, you give him the keys to the franchise Day 1, and he'll be fine."
Those are huge words for a scout and it appears the winless Indianapolis Colts have every intent to draft Luck when the draft rolls around in a few short months. He may make a mistake or two every time he steps on the field, but this kid is the real deal, folks. He is the most sure-fire quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning; he seemed to do pretty well for himself in the league over the last decade.
Last year around this time, there was major hope among the worst NFL teams that Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck would declare as a sophomore to enter the 2011 NFL Draft. Those hopes were dashed early when Luck decided to return for his junior season and try and lead Stanford to another great season while concurrently earning his degree.
It doesn't look like those hopes will be dashed this time. Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports filed this report.
Two people close to Luck said the Stanford quarterback is not expected to take classes next quarter. Instead, Luck is expected to declare and focus on preparing for the 2012 NFL draft, in which he is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick.
That move counters speculation by some that Luck would possibly return to Stanford for another season or at least threaten to manipulate who will take him in the NFL draft. Luck is a senior, but redshirted as a freshman in 2008, giving him the option to play one more season.
It makes sense that Luck would leave now. Other than not being able to beat the Oregon Ducks, Luck has proven all that he can in college, and Stanford has probably peaked with the talent they have. He has his degree, which was one of the main reasons he decided to come back. There's very little incentive for him to return, and a high downside if he returns and underachieve. Best for him to sell high and get going on to the next level.
The biggest question that seems to be forthcoming this offseason is whether Andrew Luck would be the number one draft pick if the Indianapolis Colts ended up landing the pick. You figure there'd be a bit of a controversy if Peyton Manning did return to action and was fully healthy, and it could have come down to trading Manning or the pick if Luck was the guy the Colts wanted.
However, it appears as if the Colts won't have to make such a drastic decision, because the Colts QB has okayed any decision the organization might make the team better. Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News reports.
Speaking on his weekly radio show on Monday night, Colts vice chairman Bill Polian says the presence of Manning won't affect that selection—if Luck happens to be the player they like most.
"The bottom line is that if the right person is there—and it has to be the right person—then now is the time to make that choice," said Polian, who also got Manning's blessing to potential draft his successor. "Peyton and I have spoken about that and he's OK with that."
It does lead to an interesting discussion about how healthy Manning really is, and whether the organization really believes they might have to move on. Either that, or they must presume Luck would be okay sitting on the bench if Manning will be ready to return to action next season. NFL draft discussion is only a month or two away, so you figure the Colts are going to have to weigh their options about whether they want a quarterback or a player that can help support Manning (like Matt Kalil).
While Andrew Luck struggled this past weekend in the loss for the Stanford Cardinal against the Oregon Ducks, it hardly affected his draft stock as the overall number one prospect in this year's draft. And there's a clear contender for his services, as the Indianapolis Colts lost again. The Jacksonville Jaguars only needed to do the bare minimum to beat Indy as the Colts offense looks more and more anemic week-by-week. The Colts are the only winless team remaining in the NFL; moreover, they're the only team with less than two wins in the league. Indianapolis would really have to start trying to win football games this season to really blow their lead in this one.
Indianapolis should have the inside track at the number one pick now, but the big question is will they trade it?
The Colts still have Peyton Manning, but it's not clear if he'd ever return to full-strength. But if he did recover before the draft and proved that he hasn't lost any of his overall ability, then it becomes a question of selling out the present to bank on the future. You'd figure that Luck would want to immediately play whereever he went and not spend time on the bench.
Indianapolis might soon have a critical decision to make about whether to choose a quarterback they can commit to for the next decade, or stick with the quarterback they have in the twilight of his career.
For more on the Colts, check out Stampede Blue.
Stanford Cardinal quarterback and Heisman hopeful Andrew Luck has played in some important games in his time down on the Farm, but faces his toughest challenge yet this Saturday as Stanford hosts the Oregon Ducks in Palo Alto for all the marbles in the Pac-12 North as well as a possible berth to the National Championship game.
"When you're thinking about the upcoming football season, you're thinking about Oregon. If you want to do something on the West Coast, you've got to beat Oregon. They've been the best team the last couple of years."
They are the top two offenses in the division at 48.2 and 46 points a game respectfully, while their defenses have played very similar as well, with the Cardinal with a slight edge in points against at 16.6 a game compared to Oregon's 20.8. But the only place where the Cardinal have a decided advantage is at quarterback as Andrew Luck tries to maestro his way to an undefeated season, though head coach David Shaw is stressing the importance of the team:
"The quarterback isn't playing defense," Shaw said. "He isn't playing special teams. He's not blocking anybody. He's got to play his role. Even though his role is probably the most important, it's still a team game."
If Luck wants a shot at a National Title and/or the Heisman Trophy then he has to go through Oregon. He couldn't top them last year, throwing two picks en route to a 52-31 loss, the last loss the Cardinals have suffered since. This time though Luck's embracing the challenge with open arms, and faces the Ducks on his turf this time around.
For more on the Cardinal, head over to Rule of Tree to get your fix.
Indianapolis went down quietly to the Atlanta Falcons at home, losing 31-7. The Colts managed 186 yards of total offense and let Atlanta march for 432 yards and nearly 38 minutes in time of possession. Indianapolis also got burned by Julio Jones on two pretty impressive touchdown catches, as the Colts looked totally hapless in this one
Miami has come close to winning a few football games, and they finally broke through against the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City was coming off an impressive Monday Night Football victory over the San Diego Chargers, and they came out flat against the Dolphins, getting bulldozed by Matt Moore, Reggie Bush and Brandon Marshall. Miami won 31-3 and moved to 1-7 on the season to ensure they won't be the second (potentially third?) 0-16 team in NFL history.
They might have avoided that ignominious mark, but they might have lost the battle for Andrew Luck. Indianapolis now should own his draft rights; whether they end up drafting him when they still have Peyton Manning on their roster is another question altogether.
And now there are only two no-win teams in the NFL.
In one of the more puzzling results of the regular season up to this point, the winless St. Louis Rams shocked the New Orleans Saints. The Saints could not run the ball at all on the Rams and forced Drew Brees to throw the football a lot. On the other side, Steven Jackson rushed all over New Orleans and was the ultimate X-factor on Sunday. New Orleans fell into a 24-0 hole before losing 31-21.
The Miami Dolphins seemed like they were also on the verge of climbing out of the hole when they took an early stunning 14-3 lead on the New York Giants and led 17-10 into the fourth. New York actually did want to win their football game though, scoring ten unanswered points to push Miami to 0-7. The Indianapolis Colts also derped things up real good against the Tennessee Titans, falling 27-10.
The Colts and Dolphins now seem like the teams with the inside track to get the number one draft pick, with Andrew Luck the likely prize. Who wouldn't want the Stanford quarterback after last night?
Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck is regarded as the best quarterback prospect since either John Elway or Peyton Manning, depending on who you talk to. He is the consensus No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, and some teams down on their fortune this year may have a chance at claiming him with the top overall pick very soon.
Of course, teams who are playing horribly right now (Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts) may find themselves with an unenthusiastic Luck come draft day. There has been speculation as to whether or not Luck and his father Oliver, who serves as athletic director at West Virginia University, will force a trade if he doesn't like the organization he gets picked by.
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning can provide some perspective on that. Manning was the consensus No. 1 pick in 2003, and he forced his way out of San Diego by telling the Chargers that he would not play for them. The Chargers picked him anyways with the first overall pick, and the Giants pulled off a trade shortly thereafter to bring Manning to New York.
According to an ESPN report, Manning had this to say when asked if he holds any regrets about his draft-related decision: "No, I don't have any regrets- I've enjoyed being here, enjoyed how everything worked out on the draft day, and, you know, I'm happy being a Giant and happy with what I've done here."
That's something that Luck should take into account as teams continue their "Suck for Luck" campaigns. Controlling one's NFL destiny may be reproachable by the standards of some fans, but it's also an important decision that could determine one's happiness for years to come. It could potentially make the difference between all-time great and also-played.
Manning was later asked what he would tell Luck if he decides to control his NFL destination like Manning did. Eager to be rid of the question, Manning responded, "I'll talk about it if it happens, if he calls me."
Luck doesn't need to call Manning when the time comes. If Luck feels as strongly about whichever team gets the first draft pick as Manning did about the Chargers, then forcing his way out may be the best move. The noble form of action here may be to stick it out and rise to the occasion, but that might come with a cost. If Luck decides to play for a franchise that he doesn't believe in, he may find himself facing the regrets that Manning never had to.
All of that is far off in the distance, though. For now, Luck will continue focusing his energy on Stanford's hunt for the BCS National Championship while ignoring the ongoing ‘Suck for Luck' campaign.
It's no secret, Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck is really good, and NFL teams have to undoubtedly be drooling over the prospect of drafting his services. This, of course, comes with the cold, hard fact that your team must have done really, really bad in the 2011-12 season to even get a chance at him. One of these teams is the Miami Dolphins, still winless on the year and unfortunately right on track to be a top candidate for Mr. Luck. But don't mention that to any of the players down in South Beach.
"It's sick actually, I can't even fathom those thoughts of those people that conjure up that stuff. They have never played sports and pretty much aren't really our loyal fans. I can't really put any weight into that and I know the players don't listen to it. It's a shame, but people are going to talk and we just have to block that out."
Linebacker Karlos Kansby was a bit more straightforward:
"It pisses me off."
Let's be honest, the Dolphins need a player like Andrew Luck, just as much as the Indianpolis Colts or any other team in the running for the first pick of the draft next year. No one ever want's to admit that they've given up or that they don't think they can win, that's just not a mindset that happens in the NFL, but if anyone watched the Colts on Sunday Night Football, it was obvious they had more than football on their mind.
If "loyal" Dolphin fans want to see Andrew Luck next season so be it, that's their right. The players can change those people's tunes with just a few numbers in the win column.
The race is narrowing for the top pick in the NFL Draft. And barring an , situationAndrew Luck might now have two main contenders for his services.
The Miami Dolphis and the Indianapolis Colts are now the teams most likely to complete for the number one pick. The Dolphins probably reached a new low by blowing a 15-0 lead to Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, dropping them to 0-6 on the season. Miami's schedule does not get any easier from here, with road games to the Giants and the Chiefs upcoming plus a homestand against Washington and Buffalo.
The Colts just got straight flattened by Drew Brees and the Saints, losing 62-7. Their schedule is immensely easier the next few weeks (a road date to Tennessee and a home date with Jacksonville three weeks from now), so you have to feel better about Indianapolis's hopes about winning at least one game.
It all seemed so straightforward. The team with the worst record in the NFL would end up with the best quarterback in college football. Andrew Luck of the Stanford Cardinal would simply waltz into the arms of the worst team in the league and resurrect their franchise, and currently there are more than enough contenders to ensure that.
Luck is not happy about the whole campaign though. He gave these comments to Judy Battista of the New York Times.
"I am aware of it," said Luck, who becomes awkward and uncomfortable whenever the N.F.L. is brought up. "A couple of guys told me about it. I think it’s stupid. Simply put."
More importantly though, he might go further than that. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports.
Albert Breer of NFL.com reports that some in league circles are concerned that Luck and his father, WVU athletics director Oliver Luck (who once was the 44th overall pick in the draft), could make it known that Andrew doesn’t want to play, or simply won’t play, for the team that holds the top pick in the draft, in the hopes of forcing a trade.
"Absolutely. I’ve heard that for the last two years," an unnamed scout told Breer. "There’s no question that it could be a Manning thing all over again."
The "Manning thing" refers to the 2004 draft. Archie Manning, former NFL quarterback, made it clear that Eli didn’t want to play for the Chargers, who held the first pick in the draft. So the Chargers took Eli and then traded him to the Giants, who had taken Philip Rivers with the fourth overall pick. (As legend has it, Archie took the heat for the move, even though it was Eli who desperately didn’t want to play for the Chargers.)
There's no doubt that the majority of teams Luck could be drafted to are in considerably dire straits. The Dolphins and Jaguars need a lot more help, and the Broncos are in total rebuilding mode. Right now it looks as if among the stragglers, only the Vikings, Cardinals and Rams would have the pieces for an offense that Luck would like to lead.
It makes you wonder if Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers will throw their hat into the ring to try and get Luck. Alex Smith has proven to be adequate, but Luck could make San Francisco instant Super Bowl contenders for the rest of the decade.
No doubt there's going to be a lot more interest in who can get Andrew Luck long after someone clinches getting the number one pick.
Luck has been stellar this season remains the favorite for college football's most prestigious award, but a lack of exposure to the country almost makes it feel as is the quarterback has been underrated in 2011. That can all change this weekend; with the game being nationally televised on ESPN or ABC, as well as on ESPN3.com, every household, sports bar and Internet junkie will be able to watch Luck play.
Stanford has played most of their games on regional television stations this season and many across the nation do not get these channels and thus do not have the opportunity to watch Luck play on a weekly basis. That will change this weekend.
This can only mean good things for the star quarterback. To win a big award, a player must regularly be seen on television, regardless of what he has done in recent seasons. This will be the first primetime game for the Cardinal and all eyes will be on the likely No. 1 pick in next year's NFL draft. And with the game being played in Palo Alto, Luck should feel right at home under the bright lights.
Once Saturday night rolls around, get some food, maybe a beverage or two, and enjoy the show. If you're a fan of the Colts, Dolphins, Chiefs, or any other team in the running for the top-pick next March, you may just be watching your future quarterback in action. It truly is a sight to behold.
For more on Stanford, check out Rule of Tree.
The 2011-12 Andrew Luck sweepstakes are a fluid and dynamic battle between some of the worst teams in the NFL. Due to the nature of the team's involved and the ever-evolving nature of the NFL, favorites will come and go throughout the season. The Indianapolis Colts have seemed like the early favorite following the loss of Peyton Manning. However, while the Colts are losing tight games each week, the Miami Dolphins have emerged as arguably the worst team in the league.
Given the two favorites that have developed, other teams have to step up their game if they want a chance at Andrew Luck, or at least if they want a chance to get the pick they could deal away for a king's ransom. Given what the Oakland Raiders just paid for Carson Palmer, do you really think a team couldn't get three number one picks and other picks?
After the Colts and Dolphins proved ready to go all-in for the number one pick, the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos followed suit by moving their chips to the center of the table. The Vikings announced on Tuesday that they were benching Donovan McNabb and inserting rookie Christian Ponder into the starting lineup. They may be completely sold on Ponder as their long term answer, but they are also unlikely to win many games with Ponder at the helm. They are not necessarily going to add Andrew Luck with the top pick, but given the new rookie salary cap, getting that pick would be huge.
The Denver Broncos went all in on Monday as they have made the switch from Kyle Orton to Tim Tebow and dealt away their best wide receiver, Brandon Lloyd. They still have some weapons, but that is just as big a move as the Vikings switching over to Christian Ponder.
As it currently stands, Indianapolis, Miami, Denver and Minnesota would appear to be jockeying for favorite status in the battle for the top pick of the 2012 NFL Draft. They may play awful football, but their off the field maneuverings make for a true Theatre of the Absurd.
We have plenty of teams trying to go for that number one draft pick. Who's going to end up on the bottom? Let's find out!
1. The Miami Dolphins (0-5) put on a putrid display of football on Monday Night Football, losing to the New York Jets 24-6 in a game that was better designed to be played in a sealed-off mineshaft. Miami held New York to three three-and-outs while moving the ball up and down the field early, but were trailing 7-3 because Matt Moore threw a pick-six. After that Miami looked worse and worse. Despite outgaining the Jets and picking up a few more first downs, the Dolphins couldn't hold onto the football (five fumbles, one lost) and Moore threw another interception. The Jets got all they needed from their defense and managed a few offensive scores to put the game out of reach.
2. Give credit to the Indianapolis Colts (0-6). At least they're trying to look like they want to win football games. The Colts lost 27-17, but had a chance to win in the final minutes before a Pierre Garcon fumble recovery was returned for a touchdown. Still, giving up an incredible 78% completion rate to rookie Andy Dalton looks pretty bad, doesn't it? Their defense wasn't great last season, but it shouldn't have been this bad.
3. The St. Louis Rams (0-5) could end up with this pick, even if they don't want it. Their next opponent is the angry and frustrated Dallas Cowboys, and then after that comes from the New Orleans Saints. Good thing they're in the NFC West--they've got to manage a win against Seattle or Arizona, right?
4. The Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4) continue to lose, but Luck isn't a real option here is he? Blaine Gabbert is their guy, and he's got absolute garbage to work with. Luck would be hard-pressed bringing these Jags to a 9-7 season. Hey, at least we won't have to watch this team on Monday Night Football or anything next week.
5. After picking up a win against the Arizona Cardinals, the Minnesota Vikings (1-5) went on Sunday Night Football and spent three hours getting ripped into tiny pieces. But just like Jacksonville, Minnesota hitched their wagons to their new young quarterback in Christian Ponder (maybe). They're only part-time contenders in this race.
6. Back below the Earth falls the Denver Broncos (1-4), who are starting Tim Tebow to keep fans placated for the rest of the season while they start their quest for real Luck. Of course, if they really want to show they're serious about this pick, they'll need to lose to an openly-tanking Dolphins team next week. Otherwise they're just pretenders in this race of pretenders.
7. The Arizona Cardinals (1-4) would be higher on this list if they didn't play the Rams twice. The two should split their series and probably cancel out each other's chances, ensuring that the Cardinals repeat this dance, although this time it'll be for "QB who is much much worse than Andrew Luck" but also "QB who doesn't want to make you stuff goose eggs in your eyes like Kevin Kolb".
It appears that Colts owner Jim Irsay has Andrew Luck on his mind, according to a report by Yahoo! Sports. Irsay talked about rare, generational talents and gave off a strong impression that the Colts would certainly consider drafting Luck if given the opportunity with one of his comments:
"Guys like that (referring to Peyton Manning and players projected to be like Luck) come along so rarely. Even if that means that guy sits for three or four years, you'd cerintaly think about taking him...you see what Green Bay did with [Brett] Favre and [Aaron] Rodgers and you'd like to do the same thing."
The NFL is usually strict about team personnel talking about college stars who haven't yet become draft-certified, but that's not the case this time around. According to Pro Football Talk, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello sent out an email with the following statement about Irsay's comment:
"It was well understood by Andrew Luck that he would have been the top pick or a top 5 pick if he came out after LAST season. He decided to stay. The comment you cite [from Irsay] is not the type that is of concern in terms of influencing underclassmen."
The whole situation makes you wonder just where the line lies for comments from NFL team representatives. With regards to Luck, the line appears to be pretty lenient.
It also makes you wonder what the NFL might look like next year with Manning under center for the Colts and Luck soaking up the NFL experience from the sideline. The Manning-Luck, Favre-Rodgers comparison? It's an interesting hypothetical parallel that would likely bug Manning and amuse Luck.
The Philadelphia Eagles were anointed the Dream Team going into 2011. They didn't know that the nickname could end up meaning a dream to grab the number one draft pick.
While they're not quite as likely to tank as the other teams on this list--there's too much talent for this team to lose indefinitely--the Eagles clearly have disappointed relative to expectations, and their team has too many deficiencies to really contend for a championship at this point. And Philadelphia's schedule will demand victories--three straight home games against Dallas, Chicago, and Arizona await, all absolutely winnable.
So let's just entertain the idea of the Eagles going into the tank. Would Philadelphia even think about going to the bottom and drafting Andrew Luck? Michael Vick is currently locked in as Philadelphia's quarterback for the next six seasons, but after a spectacular 2010 campaign, he's looked fairly average. Trying to go down for a meaningless season to grab a game changer like Luck could be the type of jump start Philadelphia needs. The team could try and trade Vick away to another NFL squad that needs a quarterback in return for assets and draft picks to help Luck out.
Still, it's way too early for Philadelphia to give up on this season. But sometimes teams have to look at the bigger picture and think about who can end up giving them the championship they want.
To discuss the idea of Luck on the Eagles, head to Bleeding Green Nation.
Week 5 of the NFL had no team legitimately state its case for the rights to be the one to "Suck For Luck".
The Miami Dolphins and the St. Louis Rams were two of the remaining winless NFL teams, but both of them enjoyed a bye week so they could fall eternally behind your current favorites, the hapless Indianapolis Colts. The Colts blew 17-0 and 24-7 leads against the previously hapless Kansas City Chiefs, but Kansas City has rallied to prove they're not quite that bad, scoring 21 unanswered to rally to victory. Indianapolis is now alone at 0-5, and with three road games ahead against Cincinnati, New Orleans and Tennessee plus a home visit from Atlanta, 0-9 and 1-8 are very likely.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are another team that appears destined for the cellar after falling to the Cincinnati Bengals 30-20. Jacksonville now looks to be in very bad shape to lose seven in a row going into their bye week, with the Steelers, Ravens, and Texans all lined up next. They should definitely be in contention by the time we reach the halfway point of the 2011 regular season.
The Denver Broncos might have gone to Tim Tebow, but their team continues to lose. Denver will be on their bye week next week as they try to transition to the Tebow era, but their schedule does get exceptionally brutal after a creampuff matchup with the Miami Dolphins. It would not be surprising to see the Broncos also compete heavily in this contest.
Current Andrew Luck power rankings:
1. Indianapolis Colts. If they can't beat Andy Dalton, it's not clear who they can beat.
2. Miami Dolphins. They'll be facing a frustrated Jets team in the Meadowlands on Monday night. Doubt they'll be picking up their first victory there.
3. Denver Broncos. Bye week.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars. Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh. Doom.
5. St. Louis Rams. The Rams have had a pretty brutal schedule to start out. Won't get any easier when they face the Super Bowl champs next week.
Andrew Luck is going to be a coveted man by NFL teams across the league for the next six months as the draft approaches. While Twitter and social media phenomenons such as "#Suck4Luck" have already surfaced across the web, perhaps a mathematical look at which teams have the best chance at landing the star quarterback would be an interesting change of pace.
The folks at FootballOutsiders.com have a mathematical formula for predicting the which team will come away with the No.1 selection in 2012. Let's take a look at the favorites to land that pick after four weeks of play.
Team - Chance at No. 1 pick - Chance at Top 3 Pick
St. Louis - 27.5% - 58.4%
Indianapolis - 19.5% - 48.2%
Miami - 9.8% - 30.2%
Kansas City - 8.7% - 28.5%
Jacksonville - 8.6% - 27.9%
Carolina - 6.5% - 23.3%
Seattle - 5.5% - 19.7%
Denver - 4.9% - 19.1%
Minnesota - 4.3% - 16.7%
The rest of the teams in the league have < 3% chance of the top pick, though anything is possible.
As for the teams currently near the top of the Luck Leaderboard, St. Louis would likely trade the pick seeing as they have former No. 1 overall selection Sam Bradford set as their quarterback of the future. One would have to assume the same for Carolina and Jacksonville with each of those teams taking a quarterback in the top-10 last year (Newton, Gabbert).
As for the Indianapolis Colts, they are the most interesting team in this whole scenario. While there is no doubting they have struggled mightily without Peyton Manning this year, the Hall-of-Fame quarterback is expected to be fully healthy next season. The prevailing thought is Indianapolis would take Luck to set themselves up once Manning leaves for good, but with an aging offensive line and iffy defense, there is the chance the Colts would elect to pass on Luck and solidify other spots on their roster with the multiple draft picks they could get should they deal the No. 1 pick.
As for the remaining teams on the list, selecting Luck would be a no-brainer.
The NFL has reached the end of the first quarter of the 2011 regular season and teams like the Packers, Lions and Patriots are gearing up for possible playoff berths. On the other side of the tracks, teams like the Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins all held serve this weekend in the growing battle for the number one draft pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Although things could change between now and April 2012, Andrew Luck remains the prize at the end of the rainbow for the worst teams in the league. Franchise quarterbacks do come along every few years, but Luck finds himself in the discussion as the best QB prospect since Peyton Manning came to the NFL from Tennessee. It's hard to compare a college kid to a future Hall of Fame QB, but it has teams salivating at the chance to build their franchise around him.
Week four saw our first Andrew Luck Sweepstakes matchup as the 0-3 Kansas City Chiefs hosted the 0-3 Minnesota Vikings. While the Chiefs have been getting blown out fairly consistently, the Vikings have hung tough and lost some heartbreaks. The Vikings once again found themselves on the short end of the stick as they lost 22-17 in what can best be described as a fairly ugly game.
As far as I can tell, head-to-head losses do not count as a tiebreaker in draft pick selection, but this loss does give the Vikings a game in hand on the Chiefs as the season moves along. The Chiefs are still in the thick of this, but they have their work cut out for them. The problem for Minnesota is that at some point Donovan McNabb will likely secure a couple ugly victories and that could cost them their franchise QB.
Thanks to the summer scheduling of Monday Night Football, the Indianapolis Colts met up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a game MNF used to showcase Josh Freeman and the young Bucs. Unfortunately for viewers the Colts had a bit of a repeat of last week against the Steelers and uglied the game up enough to keep it close. Fortunately for Colts fans, the Bucs escaped late with the victory, sending the Colts to 0-4.
The Miami Dolphins dropped to 0-4 with a 26-16 loss to the San Diego Chargers and had to bring in Matt Moore at QB after Chad Henne went down with a shoulder injury. There is no word yet on the severity of the injury, so we'll have to wait and see how this impacts their Suck For Luck chances. One possible wild card in all this is if the team decides to fire Tony Sparano in the coming weeks. He is firmly on the hot seat and a new coach could give the team just enough jolt to get a few ill-timed wins. Consider the Dolphins the wild card for that number on pick.
The St. Louis Rams also joined the pack at 0-4 with a home loss to the Washington Redskins. They face a tough schedule the next few weeks and could easily be 0-7 before things get remotely easier. While the Dolphins are the wild card in the race for number one, the Rams are arguably the biggest wild card in terms of what they would do if they ended up with the top pick. They have Sam Bradford, which I've got to think means they deal away the pick. I suppose they could trade Bradford but I just don't see it happening. It will be one crazy market for that pick if St. Louis gets it.
Now that we're a quarter of the way through the season, it's time to assess the standings for the top pick. This does not factor in tie-breakers at this point:
1. Indianapolis Colts - 0-4
2. Minnesota Vikings - 0-4
3. St. Louis Rams - 0-4
4. Miami Dolphins - 0-4
5. Kansas City Chiefs - 1-3
6. Carolina Panthers - 1-3
7. Philadelphia Eagles - 1-3
8. Denver Broncos - 1-3
9. Arizona Cardinals - 1-3
10. Jacksonville Jaguars - 1-3
11. Seattle Seahawks - 1-3
If I had to make final projections of the top five picks of the draft at season's end, here is how I see it stacking up:
1. Indianapolis Colts
2. Seattle Seahawks
3. Miami Dolphins
4. Kansas City Chiefs
5. St. Louis Rams
Entering the 2011 NFL season, many people figured the Minnesota Vikings would struggle, but they also viewed the addition of Donovan McNabb as enough to get them to at least a mediocre level. Through three games however, the Vikings are struggling in numerous areas and suddenly find themselves 0-3 with a tough NFC North schedule of games coming up soon. The Vikings had a chance to get their first win against the Lions but blew a 20-0 first half lead en route to a 26-23 overtime loss. Those kinds of losses will only help in the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes.
The Suck For Luck campaign is already heating up as the Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs are the current front runners. They both attempted to get that elusive first win on Sunday but couldn't quite make it happen. The Colts gave the Pittsburgh Steelers all they could handle, but cam up just short. The Chiefs worked hard to fight back from 10-0 and 20-10 deficits but could not quite make it happen and fell 20-17.
The most interesting development in the Suck For Luck campaign was the change in quarterback in Indianapolis. Kerry Collins reportedly suffered a concussion in the loss and was replaced by Curtis Painter. Late in the fourth quarter, Painter drove the Colts down for a game-tying touchdown with 2:06 remaining. The Steelers got the game-winning field goal on the ensuing drive, but one has to wonder how Painter could impact the Colts. He has struggled in preseason performances but Reggie Wayne came out in favor of the young quarterback. If he can get some level of success moving forward, the Colts might not be so Luck-y.
The Seattle Seahawks remain a prime candidate for Luck but they managed a home win over the Arizona Cardinals. The NFC West is struggling to the point that the Seahawks might find themselves the unintended beneficiaries of a few wins just due to the state of their division.
Miami dropped to 0-3 as well with a tough 17-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns. They've shown enough that I'm not sure they have what it takes to stink up the joint all year long. Of course, at the beginning of the season I also said that I thought Indy would do decently with Collins. Shows what I know.
This week features our first Suck For Luck showdown between the 0-3 Minnesota Vikings and 0-3 Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are entering what could be a pivotal two-game stretch as they host the Vikings and then travel to face the Colts. This could be make-or-break time for the Chiefs in that battle for the number one pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
The second week of the 2011 NFL season rapidly coming to a close with only Monday Night Football remaining on the schedule. As week two comes to an end, the Andrew Luck sweepstakes are starting to feature a little bit of separation. There is a lot of time before the field fully comes into focus, but for now the number one pick of the 2012 NFL Draft features some stiff competition.
Indianapolis Colts: Could we see Tim Duncan to the Spurs all over again? The Spurs ended up winning the NBA Draft lottery thanks to a David Robinson season-ending injury that sent them into a tailspin. I think we'd call it a productive tailspin. Two weeks into the NFL season and Peyton Manning's absence could not be felt any stronger in Indianapolis. The Colts were a one point underdog to the Browns and proceeded to lose 27-19, showing little sign of life in the process. It doesn't get any easier for the Colts as they host Pittsburgh and travel to Tampa Bay before a Suck For Luck showdown with this next team.
Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs entered 2011 coming off an unexpected strong season in 2010. Some regression was expected, but the injury insanity of the first two weeks likely was not. The Chiefs have lost Tony Moeaki, Eric Berry and Jamaal Charles to season-ending ACL injuries and are looking fairly abysmal at this point. After getting blown out by the Buffalo Bills at home, they were ravaged 48-3 by the Detroit Lions on the road.
What is interesting about Kansas City though is how they would use a potential number one pick. If they like Matt Cassel as a long term QB option, they could find themselves in a position to make a Herschel Walker type of trade with the number one pick and potentially load up on picks in return. The amount of depth they might add would be pretty spectacular, assuming they don't screw up the picks. If they don't like Cassel enough, they could still take Luck, but they would have some options. And if the right Godfather offer came along, it could get very interesting.
Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks struggled against the 49ers but had a chance to win prior to Ted Ginn's two return touchdowns. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers they had almost zero chance to win. The Steelers handled their business and the Seahawks stumbled to 0-2. Tarvaris Jackson wasn't particularly awful, but he's not providing much of a spark for the Seahawks offense. Like the two teams above, until they win a game, who's to know if they ever will. At least Indy and KC get to face each other guaranteeing a tie or one of them a win.
Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings brought in Donovan McNabb hoping to get the last of whatever magic he might have. He had absolutely nothing against the Chargers and ran out of gas against the Bucs and now the Vikings are 0-2. A concern for the Vikings would be McNabb being just good enough to drag them kicking and screaming up to five or six win mediocrity, which likely will be out of the range of the top pick of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Once November and December get here, it's possible one or more of this teams will have moved off the Andrew Luck Watch List and replaced by some other no-luck team. Or we could have this group settle in for the long haul. It will be an "interesting" trip to follow this path to the number one pick.
The Indianapolis Colts might as well have announced their intention to go 0-16 based on their performance in their first week of the 2011 NFL Season. With Peyton Manning out for an extended period of time, the Colts have turned to Kerry Collins, and seem determined to ride him as long as they can. They'd better grit their teeth hard, because he looked atrocious against the Houston Texans.
Collins threw two completions to start the game for a combined eight yards. But then he fumbled the ball twice in a row in his own red zone to set up two easy Texans touchdowns and put Houston up 17-0 on Indianapolis. Indianapolis did not reach the Houston red zone until the start of the fourth quarter, when the Texans were up by 34. Collins finished 16 of 31 for 197 yards for a meager 5.1 yards per pass; his lone touchdown pass came in garbage time in the 4th quarter.
Put the Colts on an expanding list for future top draft pick Andew Luck.
The NFL season got off to an exciting start Thursday evening as the Green Bay Packers won a 42-34 shootout over the New Orleans. Watching the game we saw an amazing display of super star quarterback play. Aaron Rodgers completed 27 of 35 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns. Drew Brees completed 32 of 49 passes for 419 yards and three touchdowns. It was as good a QB duel as you may ever see.
That is the exact opposite of what we'll see from a variety of other teams beginning this Sunday. Whether it's the Washington Redskins and Rex Grossman, the Seattle Seahawks and Tarvaris Jackson, or the Buffalo Bills and Ryan Fitzpatrick, the NFL has numerous teams that are in need of a franchise quarterback and could be looking at immense struggles until they find him.
Enter Andrew Luck. The NFL Draft is over seven months away, but at this point Andrew Luck is considered by most to be the surefire number one pick of the draft. He is not considered a Peyton Manning type of QB guarantee, but he is considered as NFL ready as most any quarterback to enter the league since Manning.
Given the need for a franchise QB, it's safe to say some teams might be less disappointed about losses in 2011 than they would otherwise be. That's not to say teams will be tanking early season games, but if a team is in the running for that top pick in November or December, would anybody surprised if they start "resting" veterans? Without a lottery like the NBA, tanking might be even a bigger issue in the NFL where the worst record is guaranteed the top pick.
Given the potential for that, let's take a look at some of the top contenders for the number one pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Washington Redskins: Any team prepared to start Rex Grossman at this point is looking for trouble. The Redskins have numerous problems all across their roster and quarterback is just the start. Andrew Luck would provide a potential franchise quarterback around which Mike Shanahan could rebuild the franchise.
Seattle Seahawks: The team jettisoned Matt Hasselbeck and replaced him with Tarvaris Jackson. While Jackson is an impressive athlete, his quarterback abilities leave something to be desired. While the Seahawks made the playoffs last year, they have had a lot of roster turnover as they build for the future. Hopes are not high for the Seahawks and this could put them in prime position for a franchise quarterback.
Indianapolis Colts: They were the impetus for this stream following Peyton Manning's Thursday surgery. Even if Manning is able to return before the end of the year and even if he is still a good quarterback, the Colts need to find a long term answer for the post-Manning era. I actually don't think they will be bad enough to get that number one pick without benching Kerry Collins, but plenty of people disagree.
Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals are going to be a bad team this year. That's not a shocking revelation. The question is what they would do if they had the number one pick. Although the Carolina Panthers proved this year that using a second round pick on a QB does not preclude taking a QB number one overall the next year, not every team operates like the Panthers. If you're Cincinnati and you actually do like Andy Dalton's long term potential after what could be a brutal rookie season, maybe you package away the number one overall pick for a Ditka-esque boatload of picks?
San Francisco 49ers: As a 49ers fan it's hard for me to believe they could be bad enough in 2011 to climb into the number one position. I don't think they're a Super Bowl contender, but I do think they win at least six games, and potentially seven or eight. Six wins keeps them out of the Luck sweepstakes.
Carolina Panthers: Given how awful they were last year, introducing a rookie QB into the starting lineup does not strike me as the optimal way to win a lot of games this year. Cam Newton could turn into a solid QB, but he might end up running for his life quite a bit as a rookie. They are an even bigger argument for dealing the top pick if they get it considering they just drafted Newton.
Buffalo Bills: Ryan Fitzpatrick put together some fairly impressive numbers in 2010 considering he was playing for a pretty bad Bills team. Was it the start of a breakthrough, or a peak that is due for regression in 2011? I'd guess the latter, but crazier things have happened.
Odds are high that other teams will be right in the thick of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes when November and December roll around. The Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings are both teams that are an injury or two away from being right in the thick of this. The Oakland Raiders have a good deal of talent, but they are so unpredictable that it would not shock me to see them suddenly struggle this year.
Right now I'd say Seattle is the favorite with Washington a close second. Much can and will change over the next four months and we'll be here through it all to follow who gets the inside track on the number one pick.
Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning underwent surgery Thursday morning in a procedure that could sideline the franchise QB for at least two to three months. Discussion has begun that this places the Colts firmly in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes in the 2012 NFL Draft. Is there truth to this?
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