Indianapolis Colts: 5 Reasons Why They Will (and Won't) Get the No. 1 Pick
Chances are one of these teams will end up with the coveted Andrew Luck pick, and all but one could really use it.
Right now, the Colts are in contention for the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and they just might get it... or not.
Here are five reasons why they will, and five reasons they won't:
Why They Will, No. 1: Toughness of Schedule
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The Colts won the AFC South last year, which helps them to get that first pick if the season tanks entirely.
They already played the Pittsburgh Steelers, but they still have to face the Tennessee Titans twice (that's tough if you're the Colts), Houston Texans again, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens.
That is a ridiculously tough schedule. I wouldn't be shocked if the Colts didn't win a single one of those games.
Furthermore, a lot of these teams are tough, physical teams that could make the Colts rack up the injuries, putting them even further out of commission and leading them to the league's worst record.
Why They Won't, No. 1: There Are Still Winnable Games
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Even with the tough schedule they have, they still might come away with two or three wins.
The Colts nearly beat the Steelers on Sunday, and with the Jacksonville Jaguars left to play twice, the Colts may sneak in a few wins under Kerry Collins.
Even if you assume that the Colts win only half of their winnable games and don't pull off any upsets, that would still leave them at either 2-14 or 3-13.
A 2-14 record might get them a tie for the worst record and a chance at Andrew Luck, but 3-13 definitely wouldn't.
Why They Will, No. 2: The NFC West
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Two teams currently in contention play in the NFC West (the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks). This is bad for them if they want Luck, because they have to play each other and the terrible San Francisco 49ers twice.
The Seahawks already have a win under their belt, and while I wouldn't be surprised if that was their only one this season, they will play a lot of bad teams. They have looked terrible all three weeks, and it was a miracle that they even beat the Arizona Cardinals, but it just goes to show how bad the NFC West is.
With the weakness of the NFC West teams, more than one might try to out-suck the others in the Luck campaign and ruin all their chances.
Why They Won't, No. 2: They're Still Figuring out Their Gameplay
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Not having Peyton Manning completely changes who the Colts are. So far they've been horrible, but it could just be that they haven't figured out how to win without Manning yet.
They showed some glimpses of pulling it together on offense against the Steelers and nearly pulled off the upset.
That leads me to believe that by midseason the Colts won't be as bad as they've been in the first few weeks. Once Kerry Collins gets into a groove with the good group of receivers that the Colts have, they could start winning games.
Their defense looked good against the Steelers, too. Undrafted free agent Joe Lefeged picked off Ben Roethlisberger, and Jamaal Anderson took a forced fumble to the house.
The Colts look like they might just be too good to land Andrew Luck.
Why They Will, No. 3: Kerry Collins Could Be Out, Too
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Kerry Collins missed a lot of time with the Titans due to injury. Just last year, the Titans had to start Rusty Smith against the Texans because both Collins and Vince Young were injured.
Collins hasn't gotten any younger since then, and he could find himself injured again pretty quickly.
He is, after all, 38 years old (which is about 60 in regular person years).
At any point, he could get hit and find himself as out of commission as Peyton, leaving the season in the hands of Curtis Painter.
If you're not familiar with Painter, he's the guy that's so bad Irsay decided he'd rather pull a quarterback out of retirement than trust the season to him.
If Collins comes out, Luck might come in.
Why They Won't, No. 3: Peyton Might Return
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Everyone assumes that Manning is out for the season. While that's probably true, he could still return near the end of the season. If he does, do you think Peyton Manning would be okay with losing games on purpose? I doubt it.
Manning may be facing the end of his career, which means he'll want to amass every record he can get his hands on before he has to call it quits.
If Manning returns before the very end of the season, which is unlikely but could happen, then the Colts may find themselves with 2-3 wins. That will be too many to snag Luck.
Why They Will, No. 4: Jim Caldwell Wants to Keep His Job
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Caldwell is already considered a coach in name only. If the Colts keep sputtering, people might start to think that the only reason that the Colts ever won anything was because of Manning.
Caldwell wants to prove that he can win without Manning. If he can, it means he keeps his job a little bit longer.
With the average head coach in the NFL lasting only four years, Caldwell knows that at the end of this season, he'll be on the hot seat if his team has the first overall pick.
Would you want to completely rebuild your team while fans are clamoring for you to be fired? I sure wouldn't, and I doubt Caldwell will. If he wins games without Manning, he looks better and gets to keep his job longer.
However, with Andrew Luck looking like a shoo-in pro prospect, the best way for Caldwell to keep his job might be to make the fanbase happy by selecting Andrew Luck first overall. That would give him a grace period that would last long enough for Luck to develop his game and give Caldwell another great player to lean on.
Why They Won't, No. 4: The Kansas City Chiefs
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The Colts host the Chiefs in Week 5. I don't know if you've seen the Chiefs play, but they look like they might be worse than the 2008 Lions.
One of the two has to win the game, and if I were a betting man, I'd put my money on the Colts.
The Chiefs almost came back against the Chargers, but unless you've lived under a rock the last five years, you know that Philip Rivers is about as far from clutch as you can get. I wouldn't think an almost-win against a division rival with a history of choking counts as much.
Eric Berry, one of the Chiefs' best players, is out for the year with a torn ACL. Jamaal Charles, perhaps the team's best offensive player, is out for the year with a torn ACL. Matt Cassel is still playing abysmally.
The Colts sans Manning are bad, but the Chiefs without Berry and Charles are awful.
Why They Will, No. 5: The Possibility of a Dynasty
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Can you imagine the results of going from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck? It'd be like when the 49ers transitioned from Joe Montana to Steve Young.
The possibility of that dynasty might be too tempting to not let happen.
Besides, what could be better for the top quarterback prospect of the last 10 years than to sit and watch Peyton Manning for a season? What better way for Manning to leave the game than after grooming a protégé that may be every bit as good as he is?
Peyton Manning's absence has proven just how important he is to the team. With Manning, they were perennial playoff contenders; without him, they are fighting to not be in last place.
Having a franchise quarterback will hide a lot of deficiencies on a team, so why not take the next franchise quarterback when you have a chance?
Why They Won't, No. 5: Quarterback Salaries
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Everyone knows that the Colts signed Peyton Manning to an enormous five-year contract. What you might not realize is that they also paid a pretty penny for Kerry Collins.
Manning will get $90 million over the next five years, and Kerry Collins will receive $21 million over the next three years. That means that the Colts will pay an average of $25 million a year for quarterbacks for the next three years.
Now I know that the rookie wage scale changes things, but Luck is going to command a significantly larger salary than Cam Newton, and that would tie up about a quarter of the team's salary cap in quarterbacks.
That is simply too much money for one position, even if it is the most important position on the field.
That could end up being the biggest reason that the Colts decide to opt out of the Suck for Luck campaign.