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NFL Analysis: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts and Reality

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This is a weekly free therapy session I provide for not only myself, but for all football fans. If you’re looking for politically correct, mainstream, polite, NFL content, you’ve come to the wrong place. In fact, on any given week you should be prepared to either agree with me or be offended, belittled, shocked, and insulted.

You can expect to find anger, sarcasm, foul language (I will do my best to refrain), and whatever the hell else I’m feeling. So, lie down on your couch and grab your tissue because your NFL Week 10 session has begun…….

I love scouting video tape of college prospects. I love the NFL draft and the watching kids live their dreams. Now, let me tell you what’s really gotten on my nerves the last few years, people coming out in the media because they have a voice and critiquing prospects just to be different. It’s one thing if there is a huge flaw that you see and everyone else is missing out on. That’s not the case the last few years. People will watch one game, one series, or one bad play and will preach to you why a guy isn’t worth the #1 pick.

Andrew Luck is the best pro prospect to come out in a very long time. Of course no one is perfect, but Luck is the closest college kid to perfect coming out in quite some time. Recently Phil Simms grabbed some headlines by criticizing Luck with saying that he hasn’t seen NFL caliber throws. Okay, moving along because if that’s where we are with Phil, he’s a lost cause when it comes to evaluating talent. I hear now that Steve Sarkasian would draft Matt Barkley over Andrew Luck if he was a NFL general manager. Now we all know why Sarkisian isn’t an NFL general manager. This isn’t meant as a knock on Barkley he’s extremely gifted and will go in the first round. He’s not Andrew Luck though and no scouts will confuse the two. This is how the trick works, I mentioned Sarkisian’s name here and now he’ll become relevant for a day or two.

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I receive hundreds of emails every year about how stupid my opinion is and how so and so said that he won’t get drafted before the 4th round. I have my own opinion on athletes and I’m not afraid to go out on a limb but I give reasons for it. I don’t just throw a blanket, outlandish statement out there. One particular emailer I recall told me two years ago that I must not watch football because every “expert” has Jimmy Clausen in the top 10 of the first round and I didn’t have him getting drafted until the second round, (which is where he went). Last year as I became more active on Twitter, “experts” from many draft sites contacted me directly and told me it was ridiculous to think that Colin Kaepernick could go in the first round. “Nobody has Kap anywhere above the 4th” and told me I needed to find another line of work. I can’t tell you how many correspondences I get like this each year, and some of the worst are from former players as they turn media personalities.

I now see people saying that it’s too much money to allocate to quarterback position if the Indianapolis Colts draft Andrew Luck. Between Luck and Manning, they say you will have to pay $50 million. So? The Colts have been relevant for the last 15 years and more than competitive because of drafting Peyton Manning number 1 overall. Passing on Andrew Luck because of money would be unforgivable for any Colts fan. 

Even if the Colts have to sit Luck for two years and eat that much money, it’s going to be worth it for another 15 years…again. Do you think the Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, or Buffalo Bills wish that they used a first rounder on a quarterback when John Elway, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly entered the twilight of their career? Look how long it takes them to become competitive again once these Hall of Famers depart. Also, what’s better on the job training than learning behind Peyton Manning? He’s one of the best minds to ever play the quarterback position.

It’s not the exact situation but let me point a couple instances that remind me of the Colts’ dilemma. The Chargers drafted Eli Manning with the first pick and traded him to the Giants for the 4th overall pick for Philip Rivers, while they had Drew Brees on the roster. Brees wasn’t looked at as a Hall of Famer at that time but he was a quality starter and they spent the first pick overall on a quarterback.

Maybe a better example is what the Packers did when they drafted Aaron Rodgers. Brett Favre was in the same situation as Manning. Favre was at the end of his career and the Packers didn’t know how much longer he could play at a high level. While they didn’t use the first overall pick, they did use a first round selection. How did that work out by the way? Aaron Rodgers is now considered the game’s top quarterback after coming off his first Super Bowl win and standing 8-0 in 2011.

When it comes to the money the Colts should consider themselves lucky. The new CBA has cut down the amount the first overall pick will get, drastically. Manning is coming off a pretty severe injury and it’s not guaranteed that he’ll ever be the same quarterback. If he is, how much longer can he play? Would the Colts really pass on a “once in a lifetime” guy in hopes that Manning recovers and plays at the high level he did previously well into his 40′s? Do they think that if they stick with Manning and he doesn’t work out, that they can just draft a top QB the following year? All first round quarterbacks aren’t equal. The Colts have had a lottery ticket fall right in their lap. They have been a playoff team almost every year under Peyton Manning and now they have their worst season ever fall at the perfect time. If they get the #1 pick and trade for more picks, then it would be the equivalent of winning the $300 million lottery and spending all of the money on 300 million more lottery tickets.

If the front office is really concerned about the dead money sitting on the bench for two years, they should think about the merchandise sales, Luck jerseys, playoff tickets, etc. for another decade. I saw a guy wearing an Andrew Luck Colts’ jersey at the Falcons vs. Colts game Sunday. Don’t tell me that this team wouldn’t make Tebow type money off jersey sells. Fans have eight games remaining and they’re already getting personalized Andrew Luck jerseys. Now switch gears and imagine they don’t get Luck. How much money would the Colts lose by not having a face to the franchise if Peyton goes down or after his skills diminish? They aren’t going to go find another Andrew Luck after the this one, it’s a once in a generation deal.

Forget the money and forget what Peyton Manning is feeling. If it comes down to having to trade Peyton Manning to be able to draft Andrew Luck, then Peyton should be in a new city for the 2012 season. Yes, I’ll take my chances on an elite prospect that hasn’t taken an NFL snap over one of the greatest that’s ever played the game…who’s also 35 and coming off another injury and a missed season. You already suck anyway Indy, make sure for your fans that you are doing it for Luck.


Jayson Braddock is an NFL Scout / NFL Writer & On-Air Personality. Jayson is also a football insider for the Dylan Gwinn show on 790 AM in Houston, TX - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports790.com. You can also catch Jayson on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew every Thursday at 10:30am ET. You may email Jayson directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @JaysonBraddock