If Indianapolis Colts Have Top Pick in 2012 NFL Draft, They Should Try Their ‘Luck’

Since the Indianapolis Colts are already 0-7, they might as well finish the season 0-16. Why? Because, as Peyton Manning recovers from season-ending neck surgery, they’ll need to increase their chances of getting the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and use it on Stanford University quarterback Andrew Luck.

And in any event that Manning and his handlers start playing “Colts GM,”–if they leak to the press their displeasure with such a prospect–someone from the Colts front office should present the veteran and his camp with a copy of his birth certificate, tell them to read the date of birth out loud and add a year to it, because 2011 does not count.

Manning, who underwent a one-level cervical neck fusion on Sept. 8, will be 36-1/2 years old when the 2012-13 season begins, and there is no telling how his neck will hold up once he gets reacquainted with 300-pound defenders. I’m talking full-contact action in games that count–not the protection of a red jersey or safe haven of individual workouts in practice.

In the short term, it will be, of course, about how Manning responds to hits and whether he can recapture his form. Then, in the greater scheme of things, the Colts have to ask themselves the following:

Even if Manning fully recovers, plays well, resumes making funny commercials and America falls back in love with him, how much longer can he realistically be expected to play professional football?

Were Manning 32 or 33, the Colts wouldn’t desperately need Luck–though not drafting him under those circumstances would still carry the risk of sacrificing a quarterback expected to lead an NFL franchise this decade for a veteran who has two, maybe three good years left.

The Colts, no matter Manning’s status next season, must work to stay relevant in the 2010s. Given their precarious situation, they have to make decisions with the future in mind, which is why passing up Luck, if he’s there for the taking, to indulge Manning makes no sense.

When last the Colts had an opportunity to draft a franchise quarterback, they drafted him. If indeed Indianapolis ends up with the No. 1 pick, there isn’t a discernible or rational reason in existence for said selection not to be used on Luck.

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