Suck for Luck: 10 Best NFL Situations for Stanford Cardinal QB
Only one team will be "lucky" enough to end up with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
That would appear to be the Indianapolis Colts, with their daunting 0-10 record.
However, the Colts face an interesting dilemma that could ramify throughout the rest of the league: What if they trade the No.1 pick? The Colts certainly wouldn't appear to need Luck if Peyton Manning can return from his neck injury. If he does, the Colts could still get five or six more elite years from one of the best to ever play the game.
Considering that fact, it's possible Indianapolis might chose to stock the cupboards with complimentary players instead—and what a bounty they could get for Luck, possibly the most sought-after prospect in decades.
With that in mind, let us count the scenarios Luck could find himself in in 2012 and determine which of these would be ideal for both team and player based on fit, the incumbent starter (and his salary) and draft position/compensation.
No. 10: Kansas City Chiefs
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The Kansas City Chiefs could make good use of a quarterback like Andrew Luck.
With an excellent running game featuring two backs that average more than 4.5 yards per carry, powered by a great offensive line that gets off the ball and protects well, and buoyed by a dynamic receiving corps led by Dwayne Bowe (750 yards receiving) and Steve Breaston (556 yards receiving), the Chiefs could make the jump from worst to first on offense with Luck under center.
At 4-6, the Chiefs could actually lose out with games remaining vs the Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders and the surprising Denver Broncos, giving them plenty of draft capital to offer in return.
No. 9: Jacksonville Jaguars
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Completing less than half his passes for a dismal QBR of 64.5, Blaine Gabbert does not look like the answer under center for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
But it's not all so bleak, even at 3-7. The Jaguars still have Maurice Jones-Drew, as well as one of the most underrated defenses in the NFL, limiting teams to just 3,045 total yards through 11 weeks—good for third-best in the league.
And when you consider the fact that their offense possesses the ball for just over 30 minutes a game, their defense begins to look even better.
A player like Andrew Luck could vault them to the top.
No. 8: Minnesota Vikings
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Although Christian Ponder has played well at times for the Minnesota Vikings, he appears in over his head. The Vikings may have done him a disservice thrusting him into the starting position before he was ready.
Some players never recover from that.
But regardless of Ponder's development, the Vikings (and any other team, for that matter) would love to get their hands on a guy like Andrew Luck.
Keep in mind that this team was a field-goal away from the Super Bowl two years ago, and their core cannot have eroded as much as their 2-8 record might suggest. With Adrian Peterson still having success running the ball even without the benefit of a passing game to keep defenses honest and a solid offensive line—as well as a great run defense—the Vikings could be closer than people think with just a few key additions.
Andrew Luck would be more than just a great start.
With likely only two more possible wins on their schedule, expect them to have the resources necessary to appear at the bargaining table.
No. 7: Miami Dolphins
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While it seems counter-intuitive to say that anybody should want to go to the Miami Dolphins, it may not actually be so bad for a guy like Andrew Luck.
After all, few players get the chance to resurrect a franchise, and Luck would immediately become "the man" in Miami.
And after three surprising wins in a row after an ugly 0-7 start, things are looking much better for the Dolphins. Reggie Bush has been effective, the run defense has been stout and the prospect of an Andrew Luck, Brandon Marshall (56 catches, 747 yards on a bad passing team) tandem should have fans clamoring to get a deal done.
No. 6: Indianapolis Colts
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While the Colts may not need Andrew Luck, it might be prudent to hoard their potential top QB talent.
After all, there are no guarantees that Peyton Manning will return yet, and having a player of Luck's caliber waiting in the wings would be an enviable position indeed. It would almost certainly ensure that the Colts decade-long run of dominance would continue without missing much, if any, of a beat.
How many teams can look forward to having the next big thing immediately after having the last big thing? Think Joe Montana to Steve Young.
Even if Manning does return at full strength, who better to mentor Luck than perhaps the greatest quarterback of all time?
No. 5: New York Jets
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The New York Jets' honeymoon with Mark Sanchez may be over. The team is now beginning to see what their great defense has been masking all along: Sanchez is a mediocre—possibly above average—quarterback who benefited from being on a great team.
And now that the defense has started to falter, the Jets have looked to Sanchez to be something he is not—a quarterback that can throw you to victory.
Put Andrew Luck on this team, however, and you may have a (legitimate) Super Bowl favorite within a year.
No. 4: Cleveland Browns
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Who better than Mike Holmgren of the Cleveland Browns to usher in a talent like Andrew Luck?
A founder of the modern West Coast offense, a direct disciple of Bill Walsh and a quarterback guru—having tutored the likes of Steve Young, Brett Favre and Matt Hasselbeck—Holmgren would seem to be able to get the most out of a player of Andrew Luck's pedigree.
Add one more phenom to the resume, and Holmgren would certainly put to rest any questions of his abilities as a talent evaluator and football mind.
The Browns' potential record doesn't appear to have for more than five wins on the schedule this year. Do they have the resources to woo the Colts?
No. 3: Washington Redskins
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Mike Shannahan loves mobile quarterbacks with big arms. Just ask John Elway—the player Andrew Luck is most compared to.
With the Washington Redskins, Andrew Luck would play under one of the best coaches in the game and learn the very offense that produced perhaps the best quarterback of all-time.
With a possible four to five wins conceivable for the Redskins, they could find themselves in the middle of the pack of teams jockeying to secure the rights to Luck.
No. 2: Denver Broncos
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Even better than learning under Mike Shannahan would be learning under the man himself—John Elway of the Denver Broncos.
It's no secret that both Elway and coach John Fox are dissatisfied with the kind of player that Tim Tebow is. Don't expect that experiment to last longer than it takes to find his replacement, something Elway has intimated he would pursue in the upcoming draft.
Who better to tutor Andrew Luck than the player he is most likened to? Mobility, arm-strength, accuracy, football I.Q., instincts—these two are perfect for one another.
What would Denver give up for the rights to Luck?
Almost anything, I'm sure. If Tebow keeps finding ways to win, expect Elway to smile, clap and grind his teeth into nubs over the Broncos' depreciating draft position.
No. 1: Seattle Seahawks
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Surprised? Don't be. The Seattle Seahawks offer perhaps the best opportunity for a player like Andrew Luck to succeed simply because they are only one great quarterback away from serious contention.
Stocked at virtually every position on offense—from Marshawn "Beat Mode" Lynch (having a career year)—to the deep receiving corps led by Sidney Rice and Luck's Stanford Cardinal teammate Doug Baldwin—to Pro Bowl tight end Zach Miller—to the up-and-coming offensive line, Seattle has invested its last two first-round picks in (plus a second and a third) offense, led by veteran Robert Gallery.
And that's not even mentioning the defense.
Seattle has one of the most exciting young defenses in the NFL, led by defensive end Red Bryant and the dynamic safety tandem of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. And they are only getting better, having limited opponents to an average of just 264.5 total yards per game in four of their last five games.
The second-youngest team in the league, Seattle would offer Luck the chance to grow and mature with a group of talented teammates for years to come.
This is a team on the rise, with weapons galore on offense and a smothering young defense. Replace quarterback Tarvaris Jackson with even an above-average quarterback, and the Seahawks could be Super Bowl contenders for years to come.