Andrew Luck and the NFL Draft: How the Quarterback Can Alter This Year's Draft

Kenneth MContributor IIIApril 27, 2011

Andrew Luck and the NFL Draft: How the Quarterback Can Alter This Year's Draft

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  Quarterback Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal rolls out of the pocket against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Stanford won 40-12. (Phot
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    This is the NFL, or "Not For Long" as former Falcons Coach Jerry Glanville is famous for saying.

    Every team and every coach has to go into the season thinking that they can compete for a division title and a playoff berth, and every year a team comes from the bottom of the pack and surprises everyone (see KC and Tampa Bay in 2010). 

    Every coach and GM must win now in order to secure their jobs, but, if teams take a step back, they may see a golden opportunity in this draft to build for the future. 

    Andrew Luck has it all. No quarterback since Peyton Manning has been such a sure thing.

    He has the pedigree, the size, the arm, the well-groomed habits, the smarts, the leadership and as a bonus, he is already a pocket passer.

    When Luck decided to stay in school, the Panthers cried, I am sure. 

    In my opinion, barring injury, Luck will be a mainstay on his team for over a decade, and has the potential to be a Hall of Fame quarterback, much like Peyton Manning. Ask any coach if he could have drafted Peyton, would he— and I guarantee they all would have. 

    So, with the second coming, will coaches consider the potential for drafting this once-in-a-generation prospect?

    They should at least keep it in the back of their minds, and, if they play their cards right, they may just help their careers and their team, by securing the next great player. 

Carolina Panthers

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27:  Cam Newton looks on during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    So Cam Newton is going to the Panthers, right? That is what we are all thinking.

    The question here is, would they rather have Newton or Luck? I think we know the answer. Had Luck come out, there would be no controversy, and he probably would already have a contract (if that's allowed under the labor issue). 

    Last year, the Panthers wasted a second-round pick on Jimmy Clausen. They tested the waters with him, but found out that he is not NFL material. So, the second-round pick was basically a waste, and they now have to pick another quarterback this year. 

    What if the Panthers passed on a quarterback, or worked some back room magic and traded down? They could give Clausen one more year to prove himself.

    If he succeeds, he will win some games and become the quarterback of the future. If not, they will be in prime position to get their franchise player next year. 

    Ron Rivera is only in his rookie season as coach and should get a little leeway, meaning if they underachieve  this year, he will still have a job. Then, with a high first-round pick next year, the Panthers can possibly get Luck, and Rivera could secure his job for the next decade. 

    It's true, Cam Newton is a winner and could become a megastar. If the Panthers believe this, then they must take him. But, if that pick fails, it could doom the team for years to come. 

Denver Broncos

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    DENVER - DECEMBER 26:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos rolls out and looks to deliver a pass against the Houston Texas at INVESCO Field at Mile High on December 26, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Texans 24-23.  (Photo b
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    The Tebow situation is much like the Clausen situation. You have a guy that may have potential, but he definitely isn't there yet. He needs one more year to see if he can grow into an NFL quarterback. If not, they Broncos will need to think about quarterback.

    However, the Broncos are not looking for a quarterback in the first round this year, and they would be smart to just leave the position alone this season.

    With Kyle Orton in the mix as a safety net and Tebow trying his best to be the leader, they should build up in the draft at all their other needy positions.

    If things go well, good luck to Elway and company, but if they don't, Elway just may find his own successor that Denver has so desperately been searching for since No. 7 rode off into the sunset. 

Buffalo Bills

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Blaine Gabbert looks on during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    It is very likely that the Bills will take a QB with their first or second-round pick.

    Here is my plea to them: just let the position rest for the year, as they are the most likely team to be drafting first next year. Ryan Fitzpatrick is good enough not to embarrass the team, and they should draft for other needs this year.

    Of course, if they think Gabbert is the man to lead them, then take him, but if they have patience it may just pay off in the long run.

    It is easy to place the Bills as one of the prospective teams who'll be drafting first next year. They have no pull in free agency, and they play in one of the tougher divisions in football.

    The losses are going to pile up. If they can draft for other needs now, and build a base as they lose games, then next year, if and when they get Luck, they will be in good position to once again compete in the AFC East.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    CINCINNATI - DECEMBER 26:  Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass during the NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals 34-20.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Carson Palmer was once the next great quarterback, and he had a good NFL career up to now. However, the Bengals never fielded a great team, and now Palmer is older, injured and ready to leave town.

    He may still come back, but either way, a quarterback is not what the Bengals need. In fact, if Palmer doesn't come back, then they will be side by side with the Bills as the team most likely to pick first next year. 

    Many draft analysts have the Bengals picking a receiver and that would be a great pick. Imagine if they get AJ Green this year, and then Luck in 2012. Add a running back to that offense and you have a solid core for many years to come. 

    Who knows what Palmer is going to do, but Marvin Lewis just signed another contract and should be safe for a couple of years. Now, he just has to be patient as they gear up for many losses in 2011. It could mean the future is bright for the Bengals. 

Arizona Cardinals

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    GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 05:  Quarterback Derek Anderson #3 of the Arizona Cardinals scrambles to pass the football during the NFL game against the St. Louis Rams at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 5, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Rams defea
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Ever since Kurt Warner announced his retirement, the Cardinals have been desperate for a quarterback. Ken Wisenhunt clearly needs a signal caller to lead his team. There is chance they will address that in the draft, but also in free agency. 

    My idea is to pick up a guy like Marc Bulger, build through the draft, and prepare yourself to be in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. 

    I am not sure if the coach's job security will still be there if his team finishes dead last, but if he can get the ultra cheap Bidwills to see this long-term plan, then Luck will look right at home in the Cardinal red jerseys. 

Cleveland Browns

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 21:  Colt McCoy #12  of the Cleveland Browns warms up during a game agaisnt the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on November 21, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The young McCoy may be the next great field general, he may also be a bust. Nobody knows how this is going to turn out. Needless to say, he has at least earned a chance at a starting job, and the Browns shouldn't draft a QB this year. 

Houston Texans

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    DENVER - DECEMBER 26:  Quarterback Matt Schaub #8 of the Houston Texas looks on against the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on December 26, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Texans 24-23.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Image
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Quarterback is not one of the needs of the Houston Texans, as Matt Schaub has put up crazy numbers in Houston. Barring an injury or a crazy turn of events, Houston should not be in the running for the first pick, or in need of a QB. 

Tennessee Titans

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    SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 31:  Quarterback Vince Young #10 of the Tennessee Titans plays against the San Diego Chargers in the game at Qualcomm Stadium on October 31, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Titans 33-25.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/G
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    We all know about Vince Young and his tenure in Tennessee—let's just say it didn't go as planned. Now, the Titans are in need of addressing the biggest hole on the roster.

    Most draft experts do not have the Titans reaching for a QB with their pick, but there is a possibility of a trade later in the first round. 

    If the Titans think Andy Dalton is their guy, or any of the other lower first-round prospects, then they should take them.

    But, what if the Titans skip a QB this year, let Kerry Collins finally have a chance to be "the guy" and  consider this a rebuilding year with a new coach and a new direction?

    Who knows how the Titans will fare in the semi-tough AFC South. If they lose a few games out of the gate, they may just fall into their own version of Indy's Peyton Manning, and then for the next decade, everybody else will be chasing them. 

Miami Dolphins

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    MIAMI - DECEMBER 26:  Quarterback Chad Henne #7 of the Miami Dolphins is preasured by Lawrence Jackson #94 of the Detroit Lions at Sun Life Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Miami clearly needs a passer, and who better to step into Marino's shoes than Andrew Luck.

    The Dolphins have tried many things at quarterback since Dan Marino left, including a lot of big reaches at quarterback for guys like Chad Henne, Pat White and John Beck just to name a few.

    The Dolphins can't afford to reach for another guy who may turn out to be just okay.

    Would it be worthwhile to the Dolphins to consider this a rebuilding year, and to build for the future? The only way they can guarantee themselves a good quarterback is to pass on one this year, find someone to keep the seat warm, and then hopefully be bad enough to fall into the first pick. 

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 12:  Quarterback David Garrard #9 of the Jacksonville Jaguars sits on the ground after a sack during the game against the Oakland Raiders at EverBank Field on December 12, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    David Garrard plays hard and is a capable NFL quarterback, but that is about the extent of his potential.

    The experiment has gone on long enough, and it is time that the Jaguars start thinking about the future. Of course they shouldn't draft a QB this year, and from the rumor mill, they aren't really looking to. 

    If the Jags just go with what they've got, then Luck may fall into their lap. 

    One option the Jags have (as well as most other teams) is to try and trade this year's first pick for next year's. I know this is against the norm, but if you can find the right trade partner (think the Cards, Bills or Bengals) then you have a very good chance of getting to the top next year. 

Seattle Seahawks

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    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 16:  Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Seattle Seahawks looks to throw the ball during pregame before taking on the Chicago Bears in the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Matt Hasselbeck has been a mainstay and a winner for the Seahawks, but there is no denying his time is close to the end. The Seahawks are likely to trade Hasselbeck and draft a QB this year.

    But, for Pete's sake, I ask them to pass on local boy Locker, and to let Charlie Whitehurst get a full season under his belt. I do not think that he is the answer, but I don't think that Jake, Mallet or Ponder are the answer either.

    If a quarterback is taken in Seattle it will smell of desperation and hurt Coach Carrol's chance at succeeding. He will have to play the youngster too early and hurt his development, and in a year or two they will be in the same dilemma. 

    Let the quarterbacks fall off the board this year, let last year's big trade Charlie Whitehurst get his chance, and prepare yourself for a long tenure in Seattle with Andrew Luck. 

    The biggest problem facing the Seahawks is that no matter how bad they are, they will still win games by default since they're in the weak NFC West.