2012 NFL Draft: Teams That Should Trade Up for Andrew Luck
Any team that wants to trade for Luck must consider the Colts' needs. Making a move with Luck would signal that the Colts believe that they can still compete with Peyton Manning at quarterback.
After going 2-14 without him, it's clear the Colts have multiple holes to fill around Manning. Any team looking to trade draft picks for Luck must understand Indianapolis wants to win now. A third-round draft pick in 2015 isn't going to hold much value for the Colts, they're looking for selections that could net immediate starters, particularly on defense. Knowing that, only teams that send back a top-10 pick or a package of multiple early-rounders need apply.
However, teams with picks later in the first round have another path to Luck. Unlike most teams trading top-five draft picks, Indianapolis would covet veteran players that can start for them right away. That gives good, deep teams a chance to use that depth, along with a couple of draft picks, to make a move for Luck.
Colt McCoy is nearly 700 pass attempts into his career. He's completed under 60 percent of those passes and compiled a quarterback rating of just 74.5. Two years in, it doesn't look like he's the answer at quarterback.
With two first-round picks in this year's draft, the Cleveland Browns are exceptionally well-equipped to put together a package that might tempt the Indianapolis Colts into trading away the rights to Andrew Luck.
Adding Luck certainly wouldn't be enough to immediately vault the Browns up to the top of a division that will send three teams to the postseason this year, but the playoffs may not be completely out of reach in the short term.
The Browns defense was surprisingly solid this season, ranking 10th in the NFL in yards allowed and holding opponents to 20 points-or-less in 10 of Cleveland's 16 games.
The Browns don't have anything close to a No. 1 receiver, but at Stanford, Luck proved that he can succeed without a great wideout. Cleveland could move the ball well by running an offense similar to what Luck ran in college, pounding on the ground and setting up the play-action pass. The Browns already have some solid pieces in place along the offensive line and talented runners in the backfield.
The tandem of Rex Grossman and John Beck produced some solid yardage totals for the Washington Redskins this season, but tied for second-worst in football with a total of 24 interceptions.
In a division filled with good, but beatable opponents, Andrew Luck would immediately give Washington a chance for a run to the playoffs in 2012. More importantly, it would set the 'Skins up for 2013 and beyond.
Adding the stability that Luck brings at the quarterback position would be huge for a franchise that's spent all of Dan Snyder's reign in a state of constant turnover. The Washington Redskins have some sprinkles of talent all around the field, but lack the triggerman to pull it all together.
No team would immediately benefit from adding Andrew Luck more than the Miami Dolphins. Although the Dolphins finished with a disappointing 6-10 record, they won six of their final nine games and actually outscored their opponents on the season.
Although they don't enter this offseason in the same position, Miami would be wise to pursue Andrew Luck in the same way the Atlanta Falcons pursued Julio Jones prior to the 2011 NFL Draft. Even if it costs the majority of their draft picks, the Dolphins should consider any move that nets them Luck to be a victory.
New York Jets
Mark Sanchez is not getting much better.
He did post the best quarterback rating of his career this season, but he still has yet to break 80 in that category. The percentage of his passes that are converted into first downs has declined in every season, bottoming out at 23rd in the NFL this year.
In his three seasons at the helm of the New York Jets, Sanchez has never completed more than 57 percent of his passes, averaged seven yards per attempt and he's only once created more touchdowns (rushing and passing combined) than turnovers (interceptions and fumbles combined).
It's tough to cut the cord on a former top-10 pick this early, but opportunities to get players like Luck don't come around very often.
Without a top-10 draft pick, the Jets might have to bring in another trading partner to make this deal happen, but if Rex Ryan is serious about those Super Bowl guarantees he makes every preseason, his team needs to do everything it can to bring Luck to New York.
San Francisco 49ers
A reunion with former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh would be great, but even beyond that, Luck would be an outstanding addition to the San Francisco 49ers.
One of Luck's biggest strengths is his ability to score touchdowns and limit mistakes in the red zone. That makes him a particularly perfect fit for the Niners, who rank 30th in the NFL in red zone conversion rate.
San Francisco had a great regular season and earned a first-round bye, but the addition of Luck would make them a team without a weakness and the favorite to emerge from the NFC.
The Niners won't have a very desirable first-round pick, but they do have a wealth of defensive talent that would tempt Indianapolis. Even current quarterback Alex Smith could help get a deal done. Smith likely wouldn't generate a ton of interest on the open market, but he could fit as a piece of an Andrew Luck trade, giving the Colts an experienced insurance policy against another injury to Peyton Manning.