San Francisco 49ers Should Trade Up for Harbaugh Protege Andrew Luck

Derek HornerAnalyst IINovember 2, 2011

Will the San Francisco 49ers do whatever it takes to reunite Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck in the 2012 NFL Draft?
Will the San Francisco 49ers do whatever it takes to reunite Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck in the 2012 NFL Draft?Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The NFL's San Francisco 49ers should trade up in the 2012 NFL Draft for Jim Harbaugh's protege and Stanford quarterback, Andrew Luck. While Joe Montana was great for the 49ers, what would San Francisco's history look like if John Elway was at the helm?

Harbaugh may be the second coming of Bill Walsh, so imagine setting him up with a quarterback who's the same caliber as a Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers. While the 49ers certainly have other needs, an upgrade at quarterback would really do wonders for the team's success, which may be fleeting.

Look at the Atlanta Falcons as an example of a team that took an above-average quarterback in the draft to upgrade its offense.

The Falcons lost Michael Vick, who had hit his ceiling of productivity anyway, and were looking for someone to make their team a higher-caliber franchise. They drafted Matt Ryan out of Boston College, who was that year's "can't-miss" prospect, and couldn't be happier with the results.

Similar franchises that are happy with their "can't-miss" picks include the St. Louis Rams, Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers.

San Francisco would be wise to make a push for this year's star.

How will San Francisco acquire Luck?

Ironically, they have to rely on a little luck. It's imperative that the Indianapolis Colts receive the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

If Manning returns next year, it's likely the Colts could address their needs by drafting someone lower in the first round. They'll leverage the most out of their position as the first pick by trading their selection away to the highest bidder.

If, however, the Miami Dolphins receive the first pick, nobody will have a chance to select Luck.  Miami is in such desperate need of a top-notch quarterback that you'd have to pry the first pick away from their cold, dead hands.

Jed York is willing to do what's necessary to make San Francisco a championship program. Will he do enough by spending the money, trading away picks or trading away players to reunite Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck?