Andrew Luck trade a possiblity?

Andrew Luck will go first overall, but who makes the pick?

Would Indianapolis pass on Andrew Luck if they pick first overall?

The Colts are drifting towards an 0-16 season and the obvious conclusion is they’ll draft Andrew Luck as the heir apparent to Peyton Manning. It’s a complete formality, right?

Manning will have four years left to run on a $90m contract in 2012, taking him through to the age of forty. Holding a clipboard for 3-4 years may not sit well with a young player who would otherwise expect to start quickly. I can’t see the Luck camp accepting such a situation, where essentially he’s cast into the wilderness indefinitely. Every quarterback can benefit learning from a guy like Manning, but the NFL and everyone working for Luck will want him part of the league now, not in 2015.

Peyton Manning essentially built the Indianapolis Colts and as we’ve seen this year, he’s made a bad team a perennial contender. It’s not just the on-field success either – that new stadium is down to Manning’s impact. The fact they sell season tickets is down to Manning. The front office and coaching staff owe their reputations to Manning. Is his reward going to be an on-going quarterback controversy until he finally retires?

It also makes little sense for Indy to contemplate keeping Luck as potential trade bait if Manning does make a full recovery. If you’re going to get a package of picks for the guy, get them so they can help the elite quarterback you already own. The Colts made their $90m commitment to Manning knowing he had an injury – they will surely stand by the man that has basically made several undeserved reputations?

A trade might be more likely than you first think. Of course it sounds great – draft Luck and have this seamless progression at quarterback. The reality is much more complicated and I doubt the Luck camp will sit by quietly and encourage a situation where the man is kept off a football field. It’s unusual to have a team still in possession of a quarterback like Manning being quite this bad, even in his absence. A team like Cleveland withtwo first round picks in 2012 could be an ideal trade partner. Clevelands send the two #1’s to Indianapolis and their first rounder in 2013 for the rights to Luck. Holmgren gets his quarterback, Indy has four first round picks in 2012 and 2013 to stock up for 3-4 more title tilts with Peyton. They’d also still have plenty of time to groom an eventual replacement, it just won’t be the most high profile college quarterback since Manning himself.

It’d make real sense for the Browns who need a quarterback and a.) have a pretty good offensive line and b.) spent three high picks in the last two years building their defense (Joe Haden, Phil Taylor, Jabaal Sheard). Sure, they’d be losing three potential first rounders – but what an opportunity to draft a quarterback to make that franchise relevant. Luck would surely jump at the chance to work on Holmgren’s patch as a day one starter and it’s a team he can quickly make his own. Indianapolis could add a pair of impact players on offense in 2012 (Trent Richardson? David DeCastro?) while maintaining two further first round picks the following year – either of which could still be spent on a quarterback for the future.

Like I said, I have a hard time imagining the Luck camp accepting a situation where their man is benched for the foreseeable future and kept in the shadows. It may still be unlikely, but it also makes a lot of sense for all concerned. It might not be a foregone conclusion though that a trade is impossible and a team like Cleveland has the ammunition to make it happen.

Root for Miami to pick first overall

Seahawks fans need to hope the Miami Dolphins are picking first overall next April. Why? Because if they don’t have a shot at Andrew Luck, they’ll almost certainly be drafting the next best quarterback on the board – Matt Barkley. If the top two guys leave the board that early, it could cause a rush on quarterbacks even greater than last year. Even picking 8th overall (as Seattle would if the season ended now) could possibly only be good enough for the fourth best quarterback. Remember, there isn’t a string of elite defensive players in this year’s class to draw attention away from the quarterbacks.

This is how bizarre the situation could be – put Miami at #1 instead of the Colts and Barkley could realistically fall to the Seahawks in that #8 overall range. There’s no guarantee Indianapolis will simply go for the next best quarterback if Luck is gone – I’d say it’s unlikely the Colts would just turn to Barkley. St. Louis, Arizona, Jacksonville, Carolina and Minnesota aren’t drafting a quarterback in 2012 – leaving teams like Seattle, Denver and Washington (among others) to scrap it out.

Certainly it could make life a lot easier for the Seahawks if Miami had the #1 overall pick and not Indianapolis.

NFL Mocks interview

This week I took some time to talk to Jesse Bartolis at NFL Mocks. You can see the Q&A session here and don’t forget to make Jesse’s site a regular part of your draft intake.

An alternative take on Luck vs Barkley

Wes Bunting at the NFP has a good write up on Saturday’s Stanford vs USC encounter. I agree with a lot of what Wes has to say here, particularly the assessment of how Luck performed and how it may help his continued development.

Quarterback rankings

Tony Pauline’s Draft Insider is a must visit – absolutely integral reading. Tony published his quarterback rankings this week with four players graded in round one – Luck, Barkley, Robert Griffin and Landry Jones. I agree with the order of the top three – although I’m still debating where I actually want to grade Griffin. I’m a little disappointed that Pauline moved away from his pre-season mid-round grade for Oklahoma’s Jones, although this may be based on what he’s hearing from some NFL scouts. I suspect Jones will divide opinion among the teams, with some grading him much higher than others. My own rankings would be slightly different after the top three – Austin Davis at Southern Miss would be my fourth ranked quarterback ahead of both Jones and Ryan Tannehill.


  1. Dan

    Good stuff as usual Rob. Davis Hsu just wrote an article that takes a look at the possibility of trading up that will go up today as well over at FG. I will now be rooting for Miami to lose.

  2. Richardfg7

    I would trade him period. With or with-out Manning. Trade that #1 pick to what-ever team forks over a ton of picks for a guy that has proven nothing in the NFL ? In a heartbeat.

    • Brandon Adams

      Trade an unproven player for a handful of unproven picks of lesser draft stock?

  3. Aaron

    Imagine a scenario where Luck, Barkley, Jones and RG3 don’t declare for the draft. Will the Seahawks still pick a QBOTF even though we will be picking the likes of… Tannehill, and… Brindley and… Moore. Jesus.

    Gut feeling wise I see RG3 and Jones probably not declaring (One to get his law degree, the other one is pure guesswork altogether) and Luck and Barkley declare, and the Seahawks taking Davis in the 1st Round, much to the chagrin many of the Seahawks not closely following the draft.

    • Tom

      Why would we take Davis in the 1st when he could be had in the 3rd or 4th round? Jones has played 3 seasons and don’t see why he wouldn’t declare.

      If we draft top 8, it would be nice to get a QB like Barkley, let’s invest in a rb in rd 2 for a change and get a Miller or Polk (Lynch is a FA) if either declares and in rd 3 get a Leo pass rusher like Alexander or another CB. Clemons is hitting 30 and Trufant’s contract and age are increasing and Thurmond is a total ? at this juncture. We can’t afford to invest more top draft selection on the OL. It’s free agency, new scheme or more time.

      We’re fortunate to have found Chancellor, Sherman and Wright as sleeper selections (4th round or later) but need to start nailing the top 3 rounds. Yes, Thomas was excellent.

      QB, RB, LEO, CB still need to be high priorities for the 2012 draft. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if they went those positions in the first 4 rounds of ’12.

      • Aaron

        I’m not sure if the FO would invest in a #1 CB to be fair, though I would love it if they did.

        QB, 3-tech DT and an RB would probably be the FO’s priorities for the 2012 draft, if they considered need over drafting the Best Player Available.

    • Rob

      I think there’s a 50-50 chance Barkley and Griffin stay in school. Griffin actually has his degree, but is thinking of attending law school. If he gets a lukewarm grade from the draft committee, he may see Law school as a fall back and it gives him another year in a changing Big 12.

      Barkley will be aware he has a legacy opportunity at USC and he’ll have the chance to play in a bowl game. However, I still think he declares because we’re not talking about a team on the brink of the BCS and losing guys like Kalil will hurt. Luck, Jones, Barkley and Griffin should all declare.

      • Alex

        On a personal note, I think Barkley will declare (as implied from past comments), but for for what it’s worth, I think USC will always have talent. Even if Matt Kalil graduates, I’m sure USC will find another solid replacement. He’ll also still have the best WR prospect in the 2013 draft in Robert Woods. What USC really needs is a running game, which is absolutely mind boggling considering the amount of 5 star RBs (sometimes 2 or 3) they sign every year.

  4. Chris

    The way Indy is playing I would bet on them having the first pick unfortunetly. Miami is bad but they at least keep it competitive some of the time and have been in position to win multiple times.

    Only time will tell but things are not shaping up well for the Hawks to snag a top flight QB in round 1. Either we will be making a huge reach on someone (hope not) or the Hawks will address another position of need.

    If Barkleys gone I really hope we snag Richardson or trade down and pickup another 2nd rounder and target one of the best LB’s in round 1 (Kuechley or Burfict).

    • Tom

      I’d rather trade down and accumulate some picks as long as it’s not a deep drop than take Richardson. I like Trent but there will be solid value in rd 2 for a running back.

      I don’t see us drafting a LB in round 1 considering it’s such a passing league, our strength is stopping the run (#1 in NFL with a 3.2 ypc) and a thumper of a SS in Kam that doubles as a LB and Thomas that will also support the run game.

      The only way to stop or slow a Rodgers or Brady is to play press coverage with long Cb’s and you have to have a few guys to contend with their versatility. Jets stopped Brady in the playoffs with press corners and zone lb’s. Pitt just beat the Pats because they manned up and controlled t.o.p. but Pitt played soft against Rodgers in the SB and it’s pitch and catch if you do that with Rodgers.

      Today’s NFL has too many receivers running wild and you have to hurry the QB but you have to have cb’s that can jam a wr at the line and disrupt their route and QB timing. We’ll need another cb but which round is the only question.

      We’ll need to not only get a QB and RB but will need another press corner and pass rush from either the 3 tech or Leo position. I just don’t see how Pete would go for a LB early at all, especially with the success of finding Wright in rd 4. Maybe later in the draft to groom at will and special teams.

      • Alex

        If we aren’t able to get our Barkley or Luck, I can see us trading down several spots.

        We need QB, RB, OG, Leo, 3 Tech, CB.

        QBs pretty much have be found in the 1st round. RB can be found in round 2 and 3. OG can be found in rounds 3-5. CBs are actually ideally found in the 1st round and there are plenty of good corners. 3 Techs are also ideally found in the 1st round though this is a really weak class for DTs. Leos can be found in rounds 3-5. I can see us maybe filling 4/6 needs. We can pretty much draft QB or CB in R1, RB in R2, Leo in R3, OG in R4. It’s highly likely we’ll miss on a 3 Tech because there just isn’t the supply and either QB or CB depending on who we pick in R1.

  5. Don

    Most likely Indi and Miami will be gettng the top two picks, and they will be picking the top two QB, Luck and Barkley. Indi knows how important a franchise QB is and wont pass on either one. Hoping Indi will pass on a QB is wishful thinking.

    There will be a bidding war for the 3rd pick in the draft between Seattle, Denver, Cleveland, Wash. Whoever owns the 3rd pick will get a lot of extra picks for their #3 slot. No team that is desparate for a franchise QB is going to sit idle and hope their QB will fall into their laps. The GM and coaches jobs are on the line.

    I am glad the Seahawks have Paul Allen who can outspend everyone.

    • Rob

      Let’s not assume anything with Indy. They gave Manning a $90m contract and Andrew Luck isn’t going to accept being a bench warmer for four years. His camp could easily try to force a trade (signs of Elway again w/the Colts). It’s a stretch to think Indy will cut Manning at the end of the year to avoid the near $30m guarantees he’ll be owed – he’s built that franchise from nothing. So it’s an interesting situation that won’t be as cut and dried as Indy drafting Luck – even if it remains a likely possibility.

      • Alex

        It’ll be pretty funny if the Colts are like “F you” Luck. You’re sitting on the bench for 4 years or else you can forget about playing.

      • PatrickH

        It depends on whether Peyton Manning recovers from his neck surgery. The latest words from Manning himself are that he hasn’t healed yet and won’t know if he’ll be okay until early next year. Obviously the Colts has to draft a QB if Manning can’t play again.

  6. Shane

    If Miami does pick first I can see a scenario in which the Colts hold a bidding war for the second pick, the winners getting Barkley. After the trade for Carson Palmer, which could turn out to be two first round picks for the Bengals, I am concerned that the price for Barkley will be greatly inflated. Especially for a front office that has a history (albeit short) for overpaying for quarterbacks (a 3rd round pick for a career 3rd stringer).

  7. Colin

    In my opinion, this team will have to trade up to get Barkley. I think there is too much talent, and the progress of the team will be significant that the Hawks win some ballgames this year, if at the expense of draft position. I’m perfectly fine throwing out a 2013 1st rounder to get him (probably cost more than that) – and someone will want to trade down.

    The way John and Pete have handled the situation, they don’t want to draft a QB. They want to draft THE QB.

    Maybe those Dolphins will like Landry Jones more…..

    • Tom

      Speaking of Jones, how is he progressing? I haven’t seen anything on here regarding his season.

      I noticed he’s thrown for 5 td’s in each of the past 2 games and over 900 yds but his interception total is up to 9 for the season.

      I noticed he doesn’t like to get hit but he has to have some positive attributes or he wouldn’t be considered a lock 1st rounder and potential top 10 pick. You can’t throw for 500 yds in a game solely on bubble screens.

      What’s your breakdown, Colin?

      • Rob

        I can only report on the games I see and I haven’t had a great deal of access to Jones. I’ve seen the Texas and FSU games and have the K-State game saved to watch this week. My own impression so far is that Jones is the same player I watched last year and was distinctly unimpressed with. Production is fine, but on an overall skill set Jones looks mediocre. Get any outside or inside pressure on LJ and he panics, he’s immobile in the pocket and won’t extend plays. His accuracy is patchy and he doesn’t own elite physical tools. I’ve not seen enough progress this year.

        Other people can have their views and push him into R1 if they want, but a lot of people had Clausen going first overall lets not forget that. Jones – IMO – is worth a mid rounder.

        • Tom

          Thanks. I noticed Jones doesn’t like pressure which is why Gabbert is struggling, so that fact alone should scare us. I never liked Clausen and thought Tate, Floyd, Rudolph made him look statistically better than he actually was.

      • Colin

        Tom, if you go look under the thread “Seahawks would be picking 8th”, I asked Rob a question comparing Jones to Barkley and he gave me a very clear cut answer. I suggest you check it out since it’s really a remarkable breakdown, much greater than I can offer for you.

        In my opinion, the offense Jones’ runs has much greater emphasis on the big play than the one Barkley does. I don’t disagree with the “point guard” analogy you used for Barkley. He plays in a short pass offense that emphasizes limiting turnovers. I think it’s worth noting that while short passes are easier to complete, they are also easier to defend. Barkley completes an extremely high percentage of passes, nearly 70%, and even in that style of offense he is able to march USC up and down the field consistently.

        What I disagree with is the idea that since USC doesn’t call many deep passes, Barkley must not be able to do this. I highly dispute that notion. A 4 yard slant beats a 40 yard incompletion any day. He’s proven many times he can’t fire the ball down the field for completions, even if it’s not at the rate of a guy like Landry Jones.

        • Tom

          I’m not in the camp that Barkley can’t go downfield with a lot of success, I’d just like to see more plays drawn up for it.

          It really seems that the pump fake to a bubble screen to one side should fake out a safety and allow Barkley to go deep to the other side or to the post w/ single coverage.

          I think Kiffin and the play calling is more the issue than Barkley’s skills but I’d still like to see more deep outs or plays that he drives the ball downfield into tight windows. That would give me more assurance that this is our guy, that’s all.

  8. Jim

    I’m against trading up unless it is the #1 pick, and that will be too expensive so I am against that also. I don’t think it is worthwhile to fight over the #2 QB when it is a deep draft and they are all unproven. There are probably 5 decent QBs in this draft. I don’t know which will become successful. Luck has the best percentage chance, but who would be next? I don’t think Barkley has any better chance than Griffin or any other late first rounder.

    As for pick sequence, we have to address needs without worrying about what their value is. I would go for QB, running back, and then corner back. We also need another DL and OL. And I don’t think it would hurt us to double up our picks on any of our top needs. Having two new running backs that can catch the ball isn’t a bad thing, they age quickly in the NFL. Two new corners/safeties, well with injuries in the secondary we need them.

    • Tom

      Finding value is a key component to drafting. If there’s very good 2nd rd RB prospects like Miller or Polk, why draft Richardson in Rd 1? If CB is deep and you can find a quality guy you think will be there in Rd 3, why draft in Rd 1? That’s what I decipher as looking and planning for value. The depth of prospects at a given position is what typically determines that value quotient.

      Based on draft history, you’ll rarely find an elite QB in rds 2 or 3, so I hope and expect us to use our 1st rdr on a QB. Off the cuff, I can think of Brees as a 2nd in the past 20 years that became elite. We haven’t used a high selection on a RB since Alexander, so let’s get a young thoroughbred in Rd 2 and let Lynch walk.

      Plenty of different ways to skin the cat but the value quotient isn’t one to overlook and should be used to determine which positions and at what drafting slots to target.

  9. Hawkspur

    Cheers for the heads up on NFL Mocks. What a great site. Good interview too BTW.

  10. Tom

    Colorado is pretty lousy, so Barkley should shine again tonight.

    What I don’t understand about the USC offense is why Kiffin has an elite college QB and is so conservative with his play calling? Why not have Woods run more 9 routes and go vertical more often? Even a few deep skinny posts should be added to the arsenal instead of all of the bubble screens and quick hitters.

    When you look at Barkley’s stats, Matt completes 67% of his throws, which is excellent.
    What isn’t excellent is that Matt’s yards per pass attempt is the WORST of the top 30 college QBs (in passer rating) at 7.6 yards per attempt. Open up the playbook, Kiffin, or give Barkley some deeper routes to evaluate in his progressions.

    In the past 2 games, USC’s longest pass play was 28 yards, 28 yards for pete’s sake.
    How many passes did Barkley attempt? 80 passes and the longest goes for 28 yards. That is why I’ve called Barkley a “game manager” to the chagrine of this forum but that pretty much proves my point. O.K. you can call it point guard QB play, fine.

    That is what baffles me and why I want to see more from Barkley before I’m totally sold and believe you give up a top 3 draft selection for game management.

    • PatrickH

      I think there are 3 reasons for the conservative play calling. One, Kiffin subscribed to the traditional WCO philosophy of ball-control passing and long drives, in order to reduce the time of possession for the offense of the opponent (which is a good strategy against an elite team like Stanford). Second, other than an elite tackle, the USC O linemen are not that good in pass protection. Finally, I suspect that Barkley is not consistent when it comes to the deep passes (he wasn”t consistent in the few games that I have seen this year). I am watching the Colorado game as I type this, and in the first drive, Barkley overthrew Robert Woods on the first play, but then later on ended the drive with a 30 yards TD pass to a receiver on a fade route.

  11. Don

    Indi only has a contract with Manning for this year, with an option to sign for the next four years. So this allows the Colts to not be obligated to Manning and let him go after this year and draft Luck or Barkley. I have a feeling this was planned all along, the colts seeing aanother franchise QB in the draft, then signing Manning to a one year deal and making him sit out for the season. The owner knows how important a QB like Luck can be for the team and the effect Luck can have for the next 14 years.

    From an article by Dan Wetzel of Yahoo:

    The bigger moment for the Colts will come later that month. The Indianapolis Star reports the team must decide by then whether to pick up Manning’s option. If so, it will owe the quarterback $28 million. Manning said that provision in the contract he signed just last offseason, was his idea.

    “It’s a one-year deal with a four-year extension, if you will,” he said. “That was my recommendation. I wasn’t healthy when I signed the contract. If I’m not healthy in February I think it’s fair for the Colts to be able to make their decision there.”

    • Don

      The Colts will be drafting a QB , no doubt about it.

  12. Rob

    I know the terms of the deal Don, but you have to remember that Manning is more powerful than most QBs. The colts have a stadium, a ring and a reputation thanks to Manning. This season has only strengthened Mannings importance over the years. To think they’ll just cut him after the first injury in his career is a major long shot, regardless of the terms. And Andrew Luck is not going to sit for years if he is healthy as he will be come next February when they make a decision on his contract.

    • Brandon Adams

      He’s not more powerful than most QB’s if he can’t play, Rob. To merely call it the “first injury of his career” is misrepresenting the situation – it’s a severe neck injury that could completely debilitate his quarterbacking skills.

      Between choosing 15 years of Luck and 4 years of an aging, recently injured Manning, I have to say the likelihood of Indy going with Luck is pretty high.

  13. Tom

    This is a Luck topic but did anyone evaluate Barkley last night?

    Did he drive the ball into tight windows for any completions? How did his deep throws look? Any nice NFL deep outs?

    I know he can manage a game and throw a beautiful fade and has accuracy in the short throws but what about the other NFL throws that would indicate potential greatness at the NFL level?


    • PatrickH

      I only got to watch part of the game last night. This was not a good game to evaluate Barkley, since the Colorado secondary played poorly and the USC receivers were open most of the time. If I remember correctly, Barkley threw one deep out during the time I watched, but the pass was dropped by the receiver. He also scrambled and threw a 40 – 50 yards TD pass while on the run, but again the receiver was wide open on that play.

      • Tom

        CU’s secondary is pathetic due to injuries and the loss of JSmith and JBrown, so Barkley should’ve lit these guys up. He did have 6 Td’s, so there had to be some good throws and decisions involved somewhere. Thanks for the reply.

    • Rob

      I have the game tape, will look at it tomorrow.

  14. Jarhead

    I am really skeptical of any notion of drafting a CB round 1. The Cardinals drafted the “Most Physically Gifted Cornerback Prospect since Deion” and how much has he helped them? Wow, that worked… But a few teams drafted a QB that maybe wasn’t the sexiest pick, but hey you think Bengals fans are upset right now, or Vikings fans? A win in minnesota was something they hadn’t seen in a while. Seattle is stagnant. They may be building a cohesive skill set to gel better as a team, but as for winning games? No way. They have no shot with this QB situation as it is the most important component. We still can’t run the ball with any efficiency nor can we pass (Whitehurst is inaccurate and Jackson must have a contract stipulation that requires him to hold the ball for 5 seconds every drop back), and so we will never sustain drives, convert on third down, control the clock, or give our worn out defense a chance to rest. We’re going to take a running shot at a top 3 pick here. Don’t delude yourselves. And we shouldn’t be worried about shutting down Brady or Rodgers just yet. Let’s just start with trying to win our division convincingly, eh?

    • Tom

      I don’t think we’d ever draft a CB in round 1 because the 2012 draft has some depth, so I anticipate around a 3rd – 5th rd selection. We’re lucky Sherman looks good or we’d have a CFL on 1 side and a rookie 5th rdr on the other which typically spells disaster.

      Shutting down Rodgers or Brady was just an example of needing cb’s to contend with the elite passing teams in the NFL. It’s a process.

      We need a QB, a RB, some pass rush and cohesiveness on the OL but nothing that the 2012 draft and free agency can’t handle. We have a nice blueprint for the D but the O needs an OL that plays better.

  15. PatrickH

    After watching Luck vs Barkley last week, what a downturn to watch Landry jones vs Ryan Tannehill today. Neither QB played well. Tannehill threw 3 interceptions and on several 3rd down situations, when he could have run for 1st downs, made inexplicable decisions to throw the ball out of bound instead. Jones was erratic under pressure and I think he completed less than half of his passes. It was interesting that on a few goal-to-go situations, Oklahoma put in the 2nd string QB to run it in, rather than have Jones tried TD passes. Oklahoma won with their run game and by exploiting the turnovers and bad punts by Texas A&M.

    Hopefully LSU vs Alabama will be a better game tonight.

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