Luck may have Big Ben’s size and athleticism, but it’s safe to say that the Colts QB doesn’t want to have to scramble for his life like the Pittsburgh Steelers passer has done his entire career. That’s what the rookie is being forced to do right now, and this offseason, Indy must make protecting him a priority.
On Sunday, Luck was overwhelmed by the Houston Texans pass rush. He was sacked five times on the afternoon, three by J.J. Watt, one by Connor Barwin and the other by Antonio Smith. And when he wasn’t getting sacked, more times than not, he was getting pressured.
Indianapolis did a phenomenal job surrounding Luck with weapons in the 2012 NFL draft, selecting Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, T.Y. Hilton, Vick Ballard and LaVon Brazill with five out of its next six picks.
It waited until the 208th overall pick, though, to draft an offensive lineman. This year, the Colts need to acquire hogs with the same aggression that they reeled in skill players last April. If not, Houston will always be in Luck’s grill.
Watt is only 23 years old. Whitney Mercilus is 22, Brooks Reed is 25 and Barwin is 26. They aren’t going away anytime soon.
Indy lost to the Texans on Sunday by the score of 29-17. While the Colts were able to compete, it was crystal clear that Houston was the superior ballclub. The simplest way for Indianapolis to change that and leapfrog the Texans to the top of the AFC South is if it pieces together an offense which resembles the one it fielded in the Peyton Manning era.
Luck has a solid arsenal. Sure, he could use a new No. 1 wideout to eventually replace the 34-year-old Reggie Wayne. But right now, the O-line is a much more urgent need.
If the Colts want to compete for a Super Bowl title next season (I know it sounds crazy, but for how quickly Luck is progressing, it’s possible), they must draft multiple offensive linemen early in 2013.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.