Thursday night’s Indianapolis Colts come-from-behind win over the Houston Texans may have thrown a wrench in the entire NFL Draft, both literally and figuratively.
After starting the season 0-13, the Peyton Manning-less Colts have won their last two games to improve to 2-13. And while that may not mean much in the postseason race, it certainly affects things in the spring for all 32 NFL teams.
No longer is Indianapolis the hands down worst team in the league. The door has been opened for the Minnesota Vikings (2-12) and St. Louis Rams (2-12) to potentially leapfrog the Colts as the worst team in the league and secure the No. 1 overall draft selection.
The obvious first choice in this spring’s draft seems to be Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who has been dubbed a “once-in-a-generation” prospect.
Of the three teams—Rams, Colts and Vikings—all have quarterbacks they’ve invested highly in. The Colts have an aging Manning, the Rams have former No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft in Sam Bradford and the Vikes have Christian Ponder, whom they took 12th overall last season.
The question is should any of these clubs take Luck, even if they’re set at the position? Would it make more sense to trade Luck’s rights? Or what about trading the selection outright and trading down for more picks?
There’s also the possibility a team takes Luck with the intent to sit him behind their current starter and replicate the blueprint of how the Green Bay Packers handled Brett Favre’s imminent departure with the drafting of former Cal product Aaron Rodgers. This would make sense for the Colts, but not the Rams or Vikings.
Other teams that would be wise to consider trading up and taking Luck to start him immediately include the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs or Washington Redskins. The scenario could work out perfectly for Cleveland, who last year made a killing by trading down to the Atlanta Falcons for Alabama receiver Julio Jones. Cleveland landed three 2011 Falcons picks and two this spring, including a first-rounder.
What should the team with the No. 1 overall pick do?
There are plenty of options to handle the situation. Whichever team locks up the first selection is in a very good situation. It’s a great problem to have to figure out.
The logic is simple for the Rams, Colts and Vikings: stop winning. Seriously. This is a golden opportunity to retool an entire franchise. There’s no reason to win another football game this season.
As skillfully and discretely as you can, throw the rest of the season. Nothing bad can come from it. Besides, the team who finishes dead last in the league might end up being the most Luck-y.
Brett Lyons is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official interview materials.
Follow Brett Lyons on Twitter @BrettLyons670.