Peyton Manning Injury: With 2012 Draft Order Set, Should Colts Take Andrew Luck?

Kyle VassaloFeatured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 19:  Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts watches the action during the game against the Washington Redskins at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 19, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The theoretical scenario in which the Colts will have to choose between their future Hall of Fame quarterback who is coming off three neck surgeries and one of the most highly-touted prospects in history has become a reality.

The Colts officially have the No. 1 overall pick, after losing to Jaguars in Week 17, and they would be crazy not to part ways with Peyton Manning and draft Andrew Luck.

If they elect to go with Manning, they are guaranteed a ridiculous amount of picks, give the savior of their franchise a chance to finish what he started and can compete for a spot in the playoffs while rebuilding with the picks they get.

The downside is that they could be passing on a guy who wouldn't just allow them to compete today, but could ultimately be a quarterback who keeps them competitive for years to come.

If they assess Luck and come to the conclusion that he has the potential to be one of the greats, they can't pass on the opportunity to take him.

Manning's neck injury makes him a huge liability and while he doesn't get hit often and the Colts are going to have to think long and hard about parting ways with a guy who has brought them so much success, it's a decision that has to be made.

They narrowly avoided the "worst team of all time" designation by stringing together a couple of late wins, but it's a boat Jim Irsay undoubtedly does not want to be in ever again.

They have a long way to go, but drafting Luck is a great place to start.

A new head coach is a necessity and they've got to be active in free agency this offseason, but drafting Luck will expedite the rebuilding process more than cashing him in for a boatload of picks would.

Manning will always be remembered as a Colt, but at this point, it's better for the Colts to say goodbye to the Sheriff.

Manning and Luck cannot coexist, as it doesn't make sense to have a potential Rookie of the Year candidate, who is ready to start right now, and a potential MVP candidate on the same team.

The Colts could find a suitor to trade Manning to and there are a number of quarterback-starved teams who would likely be elated to have him.

It's a tough situation, but one that will have a great impact on the Colts franchise. They are the "winners" of the Suck for Luck sweepstakes and earning that No. 1 spot with every pathetic loss they put forth will pay dividends for them going forward.