I have been trying to figure out on which side of the fence I fall. If the Colts do still get the first pick, should they actually draft Luck? I have felt all along that the prudent move is to trade the pick. There has never been a more hyped prospect. What are the odds he can live up to the hype. If he doesn't live up to this immense hype, then the Colts miss out on this golden opportunity. The unparalleled haul of picks will do more to rebuild the team for the next decade than a QB who will be a backup for 4 years.
The other thing that has been eating at me is how many great QBs there are nowadays. It's not as hard to find a franchise QB as it was in the past. Quarterbacks play in a spread offense from high school, now. Passing is the norm. 4 QBs were on pace to break the passing yards record this season after 13 games. Brees did it and Brady will probably follow. Cam Newton is going to pass for 4,000 yards as a rookie. Andy Dalton has his team on the verge of the playoffs.
My question has been "Is Luck going to throw for 5,000 yards per season?" I feel like with the vast amount of talent available at the position, he would have to perform at that level to justify giving up three to four 1st rounders and two 2nd rounders. That's up to five extra top college players. We could just as easily use one of those numerous picks to grab another QB. With the abundance of talent available at the position now, it makes sense to feel that we could find a guy who can throw for 4,000 yards per season.
I am very analytical, so I decided to look into number one picks who were QBs. I wanted to see what the success rate is on these picks. Since 1971, there have been 17 QBs taken #1 overall. I looked at each to see if they were franchise QBs who were worth enough to justify not trading away their rights for a haul of picks. I did not count Bradford, Stafford, and Newton. They are still to young to know. Just looking at the other 14, here is what I have.
1971: Jim Plunkett. Yes
1975: Steve Bartkowski. No
1983: John Elway. Yes
1987: Vinny Testaverde. No (A journeyman with a couple of good seasons. Not a franchise QB.)
1989: Troy Aikman. Yes
1990: Jeff George. No no no (Do I really need to justify this to any Colts fan?)
1993: Drew Bledsoe. No (Good career stats due to longevity and a huge amount of attempts. Only won a Super Bowl as a backup. 52% career completions and a 77.1 Passer Rating.)
1998: Peyton Manning. Yes
1999: Tim Couch. No
2001: Michael Vick. Yes (Hasn't won a SB yet, but talent is undeniable. He has also been named signed to two 100 million dollar contracts, and he has set numerous records. I actually gave him a yes, because I was on the fence. I decided that since I was on the fence, and he's still playing, I would go ahead and give him a yes.)
2002: David Carr. No
2003: Carson Palmer. No
2004: Eli Manning. Yes
2007: Jamarcus Russell. No
Final tally: 6 Yes and 8 No. Even if we put Bledsoe in the Yes column, we still have a 50/50 split. This list is obviously a bit subjective. Some people may consider Bledsoe to be worth it. I personally feel like the Colts could find a better talent with any of the plethora of picks they would get for trading their draft pick.
I know that the pundits are saying that Luck is the best prospect since Peyton. The same pundits had Ryan Leaf so close to Manning that they didn't know who would be picked first. A number of the guys on this list were can't miss prospects who missed. Some of them were busts due to an inability to play at the pro level and some due to injuries.
My feeling after looking at this list is that the Colts need to use this unprecedented position to grab a draft day haul that could remake the roster for years to come. The odds say that picking Luck is no more than a coin flip. Even if we consider Luck to be better than all of these QBs out of college, then the odds may jump to 67%. I would rather see the Colts bring in five extra top college players than one. That prevents them from putting all of their eggs in one basket. One elbow or shoulder injury, and he could be a Chad Pennington clone. If they trade the pick and get poor play from two of the picks, then they still have three starters within the next three to four seasons. We all know after watching this season that the roster has at least three holes that could use filling.
As I said, I wanted to take more of an analytical look at this pick, since there is already plenty of banter on this site about the pros and cons of having Luck on the roster. Obviously, if the Colts win this weekend, or Peyton has to retire, then this is all a moot point. I just wanted to take a different look at the argument Colts fans everywhere have been having before, during, and after each game this season since week six.