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The 2011 NFL season may be only nine weeks old, but for some teams at the bottom of their division, the season is already over. And, some fan bases couldn’t be happier that their team is performing so poorly.
Every year the worse team in the league gets the first pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, and this year that pick is slightly more coveted than in recent years. The reason for this comes down to the junior starting quarterback for the Stanford Cardinal, Andrew Luck. Luck, barring any unforeseen injuries will enter his name in the draft next year, and without a shadow of doubt be selected by the team with the first pick.
Luck is regarded as the most NFL ready college quarterback by football analysts across the land. He was projected to go number one in the 2011 Draft, but elected to finish his degree at Stanford and play one more season. NFL teams have been salivating over Luck because his ability to play the quarterback position has franchise savior written all over it.
In 2010 Luck threw for over 3,000 yards, completed 70% of his passes, and had a dizzying touchdown to interception ratio of 32 to 8. Luck is also proving that last year was not a fluke; he is currently on track to outpace his phenomenal numbers from last year.
The image now becomes clear as to why some teams fan bases want their favorite team to stink it up for the rest of the season. What’s one bad year, when we can acquire Luck, and possibly have the next legendary quarterback on our team?
The current teams that are in line to win the Andrew Luck jackpot are the Miami Dolphins, St. Louis Rams, and the Indianapolis Colts. These teams are the bottom of the bottom and their combined record is an atrocious 2-23. As of Week 9 while all three teams look hapless, Indianapolis is the clear frontrunner at 0-9.
The Dolphins could easily be 4-4, if not for a miraculous 4th quarter comeback by Tim Tebow, and a couple of losses in close games, so it is doubtful that they will finish at the bottom. The Rams recently acquired Sam Bradford with the number one pick in 2010.Bradford was last year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, so it is likely that the Rams would trade the pick for more draft picks to fill other personnel holes.
Then there are the Indianapolis Colts who are going in the wrong direction, with each performance looking worse than the one before. What’s odd is that the Colts, for the last 11 years, have been stout at the quarterback position thanks to future Hall of Famer, Peyton Manning.
If Manning would’ve been healthy at the beginning of the season, the Colts would probably be in contention for a playoff spot and not the first draft pick. However with Manning’s neck injury lingering and people close to the situation doubting if his production value will be anywhere close to the Manning of old, Luck is now a serious option.
The popular school of thought is that if Luck goes to the Colts one of two things will happen. The first is that after drafting Luck, if Manning can return next year, Luck will sit on the bench and learn from one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. In 3-5 years when Manning’s contract extension is up, Luck will take over and be the new heir to the Colt’s offense.
The second option is that if Manning can’t make his return the Colt’s would trade or cut Manning, and begin the Luck era in Indianapolis. A crude way to treat your former savior, but the NFL is a business where tough decisions need to be made.
With 8 weeks left in the season it’s anybody guess as to who will wind up with the first pick in the draft. What is certain is that one NFL team is going to win by losing.
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/han_shot_first/