It has been discussed in depth whether or not the Colts should draft Andrew Luck with the #1 pick. Lately it has also been a point of emphasis to discuss if the Colts should trade up to pick Andrew Luck, should they not receive the 1st overall pick. My answer to both of those questions is an emphatic no. Especially if trading away the 1st or 2nd pick means receiving a windfall of pick in this year and future year's drafts. Here is my reasoning:
Point 1:What does a franchise QB do for a team?
It has flown below the radar this week, but did anybody catch that Cam Newton broke Peyton Manning's rookie passing record this last week? He officially has 3,893yds 20tds and 16ints all with another game left to pad those stats! For those of you who do not follow the Panthers their record is 6-9 and they will miss the playoffs by at least 3 games, maybe 4. My point is that Cam Newton with his arms and legs is probably the best rookie QB we've seen in a long time and he didn't bring the team to glory. In fact other than Ben Roethlesberger and Eli Manning the last few Superbowl Winning QBs have been in the league at least 6 years. I'll use Big Ben and little brother to prove a later point but for now I just want everyone to see it takes more than a phenomenal young QB to win a Superbowl.
Point 2: What are you giving up?
I've heard many of the talking heads say, "Can the Colts really take the chance on passing on Andrew Luck if he turns out to be the next great Hall of Famer?" My answer is 'Reggie Bush'. We all know the story, but to reiterate: The Texans pass on Reggie Bush for Mario Williams. The media rips the Texans for the next 3 years for whiffing on the pick until it becomes very apparent Reggie Bush is a bust and Mario Williams is the best of his draft class.
What would the Colts be giving up by NOT trading the #1 overall. Names will come up like OT Matt Kalil (reminiscent of the Browns Joe Thomas who has made the pro bowl every year he's been in the league), RG III (Mike Vick with accuracy), and Morris Claiborne (best corner in the draft and fits the Colts system). Next year should see Matt Barkley and Tyrann Mathieu.
What if you get players like Morris Claiborne at CB opposite of Jerraud Powers and Tyrann Mathieu as your starting SS to pair with Antoine Bethea? Your starting defense backfield just got serious in a league heavily defined by the pass.
Point 4: What do you want your team built around?
As I just mentioned, teams are built heavily around the pass, but what is the one consistency between the last dozen or so Super Bowl teams? A steady and effective pass rush and/or a team that can create turnovers. It's true the teams in contention for this year's Super Bowl have defenses that give up yardage by the truckload, but are they bad defenses? That's a matter of opinion. What the Packers, Saints, and Patriots do effectively and makes them successful on defense is their ability to create turnovers and put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The Colts have put pressure on quarterbacks in the games they've had the most success and when they've gotten turnovers, they've stayed in the game and in the case of the Titans won. Turovers are the x-factor in games. You can lose in every statistical category, but if you lead in takeaways, you will be very difficult to beat.
Point 5: Why would you build a team around 1 player AGAIN!?
We all saw what happened this year when the Colts lost the player the team is built around. 0-13. Why would you do that to yourself again? Teams that succeed year after year after year (i.e. Steelers) are built around a group of players that are highly effective. If the Colts can get 3 first round picks and 2 second rounders for one player who hasn't shown they can compete in the NFL, TAKE THE PICKS! Build an amazing young defense especially if you get a healthy Manning back. If you don't, get a pretty good QB and still focus on the defense.
I would argue that Tom Brady did little to win his first 2 Super Bowls and that having a defense that took the pressure of was the key to all 3 victories. Eli Manning is another example of what a defense can do for you. Drew Brees wouldn't have a Super Bowl ring if it weren't for a great onside kick recovery and a brilliant interception from his defense. If you lose one of your good defenders, you're not totally out of luck, you just have the other good players help carry the load.
Point 6: The Sam Bradford/Matt Stafford effect
This really ties in well with Point 5, but I feel it's deserving of its own credit. One chronically injured player is all it takes to drag a team to the bottom of the league year after year. Andrew Luck is putting all of your eggs in one basket and a shoulder injury or broken leg would ruin the team. These players are not as overly hyped as Luck, but they were a big deal and received the pressure to save the team.
Point 7: CautionL Hype ahead
Andrew Luck is ESPN's darling and while he is probably (and at least in my opinion) worthy of the #1 overall pick, he is not worth 3 first rounders and 2 second rounders. We have been ignoring very large question marks like: can this guy throw the deep ball, what's with the rash of INTs this year, and has the level of competition (opposing defenses) been that strong this year?
The deep ball is a huge questions mark for me. I hear people say 'people asked the same question about Manning' or 'he hasn't had anyone to throw to'. For the first set of people I would say, Manning doesn't throw the best deep ball. It's good, not great. It's probably the biggest flaw in his game. For the second statement I would throw the BS flag and inform you that Stanford WR Chris Owusu has 4.3 speed. He has been hurt most of the year, but the deep balls I've seen Luck throw him and other Stanfor receiver are very high in the air. Ed Reed and other NFL safeties drool at the sight of an Andrew Luck deep ball and it could be a problem.
I had a dream the other night that we are 3 years down the road watching Andrew Luck quarterback the Colts exactly how Aaron Rodgers is running the Packers. That would be great, but it's only a dream. I don't know what the future holds for Andrew Luck or the Colts, I just know I'm skeptical of anyone who says any unproven player is worth 3 first round selections and 2 second round picks. Don't buy into the hype and think about what those picks could mean to a team on the cusp with the best quarterback in league history back under center. I want Super Bowls now, not in 6 to 10 years...