2012 NFL Draft: 5 Reasons Andrew Luck Sweepstakes Will Be One of a Kind
I can't recall the last time such fervor centered around one player in college football.
What's not to like about Luck? He's tall, athletic and smart. He plays a pro-style offense and has great leadership skills.
This is a tantalizing combination in today's NFL.
In addition to several other factors, the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes could be incredibly interesting to watch in 2011, and might be unlike anything we've ever seen.
Numerous Teams Involved
With seven teams having zero or one win, I would expect the difference between having the first pick and having the fourth pick could to down to tie-breaker.
The only way to avoid this is for one team to finish 0-16 or 1-15.
With the way the schedules are laid out, and the high number of bad teams, there could be as many as four or five teams with less than three wins at the end of the season.
Entering December, the fanbases for teams like the Colts are going to be praying for losses to put them in the catbird seat in the "Suck for Luck" Sweepstakes.
It's difficult to point out any single team and label them "the worst team in the league."
With this dynamic, there could be a team who desperately needs a quarterback, finishes 1-15, and doesn't get a chance at Andrew Luck.
What If the Team with the Worst Record Already Has a Quarterback?
If you drafted a young signal-caller in 2011, and are off to a bad start, you better be sure he's the right man for the job.
Teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers, who drafted Cam Newton first overall, could find themselves in the unenviable position of having to pass on Andrew Luck.
The Jaguars traded up to get Blaine Gabbert, when they should have drafted a defensive end or wide receiver with the No. 16 overall pick.
Having traded away a second-round pick in 2011 to get Gabbert, yet finding themselves 1-5, could present an interesting situation.
What if Jacksonville finishes 1-15 or 2-14, and has the No. 1 pick? What do they do? What would Carolina do?
Furthermore, what would the Cardinals do? Despite trading aggressively for Kevin Kolb, the Cardinals are 1-4, and have committed big money to their new signal-caller.
Minnesota, who is also 1-5, just benched Donovan McNabb in favor of Christian Ponder, whom they drafted with their 2011 first-round pick.
Despite all this, fanbases may still want Luck.
Word has circulated that whomever holds the No. 1 pick in 2012's draft, could ask for as much as three No. 1 picks, if they already have a quarterback.
This would allow another team an opportunity at Andrew Luck.
Think of the scenario for a team like Jacksonville, who already has Blaine Gabbert.
If you are confident in Gabbert, yet finish 1-15, you could change the future of your franchise on draft day. Trading back, drafting a wide receiver such as Justin Blackmon, and having two first-round picks in both 2013 and 2014 gives them a chance to have a very powerful young nucleus surrounding Gabbert.
This also stands for teams like the Rams and Panthers, who have quarterbacks they believe in, yet could finish with the league's worst record.
The price paid to move up for Andrew Luck could rival the Herschel Walker trade that created the Dallas Cowboys' dynasty of the 1990s, and would add an incredible element to an already interesting draft.
Importance of the Position
When the Colts drafted Peyton Manning in 1998, no one really expected a rookie quarterback to step in and immediately be a game-changing player.
That is until Manning led the Colts to a 13-3 record in 1999.
With the favorable rules for offenses in the NFL, and the league ever-changing to a pass-heavy product, quarterbacks have never been more important.
Teams that don't have a franchise quarterback can't win in today's NFL, as evidenced by those who have won the most recent Super Bowls.
With such a premium on the position, a team wanting to trade up could give away more than we might anticipate.
The Bust Factor
While Andrew Luck seems like a sure thing, and the NFL is much easier for rookie quarterbacks to enter, there is always the possibility he could end up a bust.
What if Luck has injury problems that keep him off the field? What if he never is surrounded with the proper weapons? It takes more than just playing well for a quarterback to succeed in the NFL.
It includes a little luck (pun intended).
If a team gives up three No. 1 picks to trade up for Luck, it becomes more difficult to build around him through the draft. Also, the enormous expectations set up for him dictates that it might be impossible for Luck to immediately live up to the hype.
If he struggles at all, whether of his own fault or just unfortunate circumstance, Andrew Luck would be the Titanic of NFL Draft busts.