2012 NFL Draft: The 7 Teams Most Likely To Trade Up for Andrew Luck

Dan HopeContributor IIIDecember 26, 2011

2012 NFL Draft: The 7 Teams Most Likely To Trade Up for Andrew Luck

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    While we do not yet know which NFL team will hold the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, it can be assumed that the No. 1 selection will be Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck is one of the best quarterback prospects coming out of college ever, a franchise quarterback who could be among the NFL’s best signal-callers for years to come.

    With one week remaining in the NFL season, the No. 1 overall draft choice will go to the Indianapolis Colts if they lose in Week 17. If the Colts win, then the pick would go to the St. Louis Rams if they lose in Week 17.

    Regardless of which team acquires the first selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, there is a strong likelihood that a team could trade up for the chance to draft Luck. Both the Rams, with Sam Bradford, and the Colts, with Peyton Manning, already have franchise quarterbacks.

    Either team will have a difficult decision to make about the future of their franchise if they receive the first overall pick: whether to keep the quarterback they have and trade the first pick to the highest bidder, or to change direction by drafting Luck, and trading their QB.

    Given the rare caliber of prospect that Luck is, the No. 1 overall pick carries an extremely high value this year. The pick will most likely pull in a package of three to four first-round picks over the next three or four seasons, with additional assets possibly included.

    If the pick does hit the trade market, these are the seven teams most likely to strike a deal to move up to the top spot in the 2012 NFL Draft.

7. Dallas Cowboys

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    Tony Romo is one of four quarterbacks in the NFL whose passer rating is currently higher than 100. Why would the Cowboys be interested in Andrew Luck?

    Three major reasons: 1) The Cowboys have yet to have any playoff success under Tony Romo. 2) Romo has a history of struggling in clutch situations. 3) Jerry Jones is unpredictable.

    If the Cowboys lose to the New York Giants in Week 17 and fail to make the playoffs once again, it is reasonable that some blame could fall upon Romo, and that the Cowboys could look to make a franchise-altering change.

    Given Romo’s clear improvement this season, it is unlikely that the Cowboys will make a quarterback change, let alone pay the high price necessary to move up to draft Andrew Luck. That said, Luck is a rare caliber of franchise quarterback, and if the Cowboys were to make a change at the position, expect the Cowboys to try and make a blockbuster deal to acquire Luck.

6. Cleveland Browns

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    Expected to turn the corner this season, the Cleveland Browns have had a very disappointing year. Much of those struggles have started at the quarterback position with Colt McCoy, who has been one of the NFL’s least-efficient quarterbacks.

    The Browns should end up with a pick between fourth and sixth in the draft order, and Cleveland has the assets to move up, holding extra first and fourth-round draft picks as a result of the trade they made with Atlanta in the 2011 draft.

    That said, it is unfair to blame the Browns’ struggle this season on McCoy. He is only in his second season with the Browns, has shown signs of promise and had to learn a new offensive system under a first-year head coach with a short preseason as a result of the lockout.

    The Browns should give McCoy another year rather than giving up on him, and instead use their draft picks to fill the holes in their offense. Their draft position certainly puts them in a position to trade for Luck if they were to be interested.

5. Minnesota Vikings

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    Yes, the Minnesota Vikings used the 12th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft on quarterback Christian Ponder.

    That said, Ponder was a major reach as a first-round selection, and is not even close to the caliber that Andrew Luck is. Ponder has struggled as a rookie, and the Vikings hold the third overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, so they are in a better position to move up for Luck than virtually any other team.

    Before Brett Favre and Donovan McNabb destroyed their teams in consecutive years as washed-up quarterbacks who played horribly, the Vikings were establishing themselves as a major NFC contender. That has slipped away, but the Vikings still have many of the key pieces who put them in that position, including running back Adrian Peterson, guard Steve Hutchinson, defensive end Jared Allen and defensive tackle Kevin Williams.

    Those players are not getting any younger. If the Vikings have any chance of becoming a contender again with those players, they need to find a franchise quarterback who can start turning this team around next season. Ponder may not be that guy, but Luck is.

    It is unlikely the Vikings would make a deal to move up to draft Luck, given the investment they made in Ponder, but it is something they should consider if the pick becomes available.

4. Miami Dolphins

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    When the Miami Dolphins started their season losing their first four games, and Chad Henne was knocked out for the season after performing poorly, I boldly proclaimed that Andrew Luck would be a Dolphin. Three games later, the Dolphins still led the Luck sweepstakes with an 0-7 record, and that claim was looking strong.

    Since then, however, things have changed drastically. The Dolphins have won five of their past eight games and have been out of the running for the No. 1 overall pick for weeks. Matt Moore has been effective during that stretch, and actually ranks 11th in the NFL in quarterback rating.

    That said, while Moore may not be an NFL franchise quarterback, he has played well enough to be the team’s starting quarterback if need be. Similar to the situation with Ryan Fitzpatrick last year in Buffalo, Moore is a career backup who has established himself as a starting-caliber quarterback. While there is certainly room for upgrade, quarterback is no longer a major need for the team.

    All of that taken into consideration, Luck is a rare prospect who could lead the Dolphins for many years to come, so he would be worth making a move up for if the Dolphins believe that is the best direction for their organization.

    However, I think the Dolphins will stay put, hoping that Robert Griffin III is available (if he declares), or address another need in the draft and possibly draft a quarterback in the later rounds.

3. New York Jets

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    Of any potential destination for Andrew Luck, the New York Jets may be the best.

    While the Jets have remained committed to quarterback Mark Sanchez to this point, the Jets have horribly underperformed this season. Head coach Rex Ryan “guaranteed” prior to the season that his team would win the Super Bowl, yet the Jets are unlikely to even make the playoffs.

    A major factor in the Jets’ struggles has been the subpar play of Sanchez. Sanchez is only in his third season in the NFL, so he is still young and could improve, but his game has yet to improve significantly to this point.

    The Jets are now at a point where they have to make a decision on whether Sanchez is their franchise quarterback. The Jets have one of the NFL’s elite defenses, but their lack of offensive productivity has held them back, especially this season.

    That said, the Jets have talent throughout their depth chart, and an upgrade at quarterback could be the difference to them making good on Ryan’s promise.

    Due to the staggering price that trading up for Luck would command, I think the Jets are more likely to pursue another quarterback option (especially Peyton Manning if the Colts get the pick and decide to make Luck their franchise quarterback), or give Sanchez another year to prove himself.

    However, the opportunity to get a quarterback like Luck is rare, and the Jets are a team that can afford the cost of moving up for him, so they should take it into consideration.

2. Washington Redskins

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    Coming into the season with Rex Grossman and John Beck as their quarterback options, the Washington Redskins never had a chance to contend in the NFC East this season.

    That said, the Redskins are still going to end up no worse than four games out of the division lead. Given the inconsistency that has plagued the New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles in recent seasons, a franchise quarterback could make all the difference for the Redskins in contending for a division title.

    That said, the Redskins are still a team with many holes on both sides of the football, which would make it difficult for them to pay such a steep price of draft picks and other assets that it will require to move up for Luck.

    That said, there is no team in the NFL with a more dire quarterback situation than the Redskins, and it has not been since Joe Theismann played in Washington (whose final season with the team was in 1985) that the team has had a long-term starting quarterback. That may make the move up for Luck well worth it.

1. Seattle Seahawks

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    Even with the plethora of injuries that the Seattle Seahawks have, including the losses of both starting wide receivers, both starting offensive tackles and their best cornerback, they were not eliminated from the NFL playoff hunt until Week 16.

    All of that came with very shaky quarterback play all season from Tarvaris Jackson. The Seahawks’ roster is improving under head coach Pete Carroll as they add young talent, but the Seahawks cannot become a serious contender until they find a franchise quarterback.

    The Seahawks do not have great tradeable assets, but they have enough young talent that they can afford giving up a large package of draft picks if it means getting a franchise quarterback who can lead their franchise for years to come.

    The Seahawks could get shut out of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes if division foe St. Louis acquires the No. 1 overall pick, but the Colts likely have no intentions of trading the pick at all. But if the pick becomes available, the Seahawks should be among the favorites to acquire the selection.

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    Thanks for reading!

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