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NFL Draft 2011: Why the Colts Should Not Draft a Replacement for Peyton Manning

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 08:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts talks with head coach Jim Caldwell against the New York Jets during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 8, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Jets won 17-16. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Kyle J. RodriguezCorrespondent IApril 19, 2011

With all the speculation involving Peyton Manning and the rest of his career, many fans and writers have taken to analyzing quarterbacks in the 2011 draft, searching for the possible replacement for Manning.

Among viable options for the Colts have been Collin Kaepernick of Nevada and TCU's Andy Dalton, largely due to the fact that the Colts have worked out both of those.

Despite the fact that the Colts have worked out these players, that does not mean that they are looking for a replacement for Peyton Manning, nor should they be.

It makes no sense for the Colts to look for a replacement for Peyton Manning in this year's draft. As a fan, I would be shocked and disappointed if the Colts drafted a quarterback to be Peyton's heir in the 2011 draft.

Peyton Manning is about to sign a five to six year deal with the Colts, likely his last contract. To draft a replacement now would be irresponsible and silly.

First, there are no elite quarterbacks available near where the Colts will be picking in the first round. To be honest, I (and other experts) don't really find any of the quarterbacks in this year's draft to be "elite." I think that all of them would be fairly risky, especially reaching on Dalton or Kaepernick.

Second, the Colts have far too many other positions to fill besides quarterback.

OT, DT, SS, OG, CB and WR are all positions in which the Colts should look for players in this year's draft. OT, DT, and SS are all ones in which the Colts need starters, and should be looking for players in the early rounds. Quarterback is not a pressing issue as those other positions are.

Third, the quarterback that the Colts draft would sit behind Manning for the next five to six years. While it worked out beautifully for Aaron Rodgers to sit behind Brett Favre for three years, he was definitely the exception and three years is much different than five or six.

The risk is not worth the very small chance of reward in this year's draft. It makes zero sense for the Colts to draft a quarterback who, by the time he begins to start, will have been in the league for five or six years.

The average NFL quarterback's career length is only 4.4 years. Even for a top quarterback who plays for 10-12 years, their career would be halfway over by the time they began contributing. Considering that the Colts would have the opportunity to draft a solid left tackle or a dominant nose tackle (two much needed replacements), wasting the pick on a player that will not play for five or more years is absurd.

It would be one thing if the replacement player was somebody like Andrew Luck, somebody who looks like a sure bet to transition phenomenally into the NFL. But Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick are not of that caliber.

The idea of the Colts passing on a player that can contribute immediately for a five or six year bench player that likely wouldn't be a franchise quarterback would make Colts fans go crazy.

And it should.

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