Suck for Luck Sweepstakes: Breaking Down the Colts and Rams Draft Chances

Thomas ConroyCorrespondent INovember 9, 2011

CORVALLIS, OR - NOVEMBER 5: Quarterback Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal looks to pass against the Oregon State Beavers on November 5, 2011 at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon. Stanford won the game 38-13. (Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images)
Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images

We’re at the halfway point of the NFL season, and teams are separating themselves from others in the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes.

Wait, you’re talking about who’s securing the worst record in the NFL this season?

Yes, because the prize at the end of the rainbow is Stanford QB Andrew Luck, who is almost certain to be the next great “star” in the league and should be the first pick of the 2012 NFL Draft this coming April. The race to secure his rights should be competitive and likely come down to the Indianapolis Colts and the St. Louis Rams.

The Colts have been in the chase since it was announced that QB Peyton Manning was indefinitely out of the starting lineup, after undergoing his third surgical neck procedure in the last 18 months. Nothing has gone right this season, as the defense is pitiful; the running game has been non-existent and they exhibit a lethargic passing game.

The schedule doesn’t get easier for Colts, they have four divisional games remaining and consecutive road games against AFC rivals the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens at the beginning of December. You can easily forecast a winless season for this proud franchise.

For the last two weeks, the St. Louis Rams have played better after surviving a tough early schedule (losses to the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers and the Baltimore Ravens) and decimation to their starting lineup due to injury. 

If QB Sam Bradford and RB Steven Jackson can get healthy, then life should get easier for them in the second half of the season. The Rams do have some winnable games coming up on their schedule, as they play the Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks.

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 16:  Peyton Manning the #18 of the Indianapolis Colts watches the action during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 16, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

If given the opportunity, the Colts cannot pass on selecting Luck with the top pick. A key date for them is March 8th, as they have to exercise an option on Manning’s contract, and that gives the Colts plenty of time to trade or release him prior to that date.

The reality is this team has been on the decline for years and they’re fortunate to be playing in a weak division. In football, you cannot count on your starters to remain healthy for an entire season. You must prepare for their eventual replacement in the lineup. Sorry Colts fans, Peyton cannot play forever.

The Rams don’t need a quarterback, but they could hold out for a king’s ransom for the No.1 pick and solidify other needs on the roster. If they draft correctly, the Rams could easily shore up some holes in their lineup and become a playoff contender once again next year.

But, I could see them placing Luck’s name on a draft card and selecting him. Why?

Remember under the new collective bargaining agreement, the rookie wage scale makes Luck an attractable option. You cannot keep both quarterbacks on the roster due to their combined salaries, which would take up too much cap space. Then, Bradford becomes a proven trade chip that would attract more value on the open market.

Both teams are awful and are determine to continue in their inept ways to the No. 1 pick.

Let the losses keep mounting and may some Luck be in your future.