By Nathan Krohn
“As the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts select quarterback Andrew Luck from Stanford.” If everything goes according to plan, these are the words Commissioner Roger Goodell will be speaking at the NFL draft in New York this April.
Most years the number one pick in the draft is a surprise. Rumors swirl around which player the team with the worst record from the previous year will select. Experts are confident they know who will be picked, but the suspense still mounts, and questions arise until the commissioner steps onto the podium and reveals the first player chosen.
This year the anticipation of who would be taken with the first pick was going to be at an all time high. The best player in this year’s draft is unanimously quarterback Andrew Luck from Stanford. The thing is, the Colts already have future hall of fame quarterback, Peyton Manning. The Colts, in the almost unenvious position of having to decide between choosing the far and away best player of the draft or passing on him to remain committed to their current star, could have created quite a buildup of anticipation for that day in April.
As it turns out, the Colts organization took out the excitement and declared that they would be selecting Andrew Luck number one overall.
There is no denying the Colts have had great success drafting quarterbacks with the number one pick. They selected John Elway in 1983 before trading him away and took Peyton Manning ahead of Ryan Leaf, a quarterback at the time thought to be equally as talented.
The issue with choosing Luck brings up a delicate situation and a dilemma. Manning has led the Colts to nine consecutive seasons of ten or more wins and nine consecutive playoff appearances. He is the face of the franchise and no player has brought more success to Indianapolis.
On the Colts side, the 35-year-old quarterback is coming from a serious neck injury that sidelined him for the entire 2011 season, and required him to need three surgeries in the past nine months.
However, the last full season Manning played he threw for 33 touchdowns and posted career highs in completions and yards.
Many believe that Manning can still be a productive quarterback in NFL and they will continue to believe so until proven differently. Unfortunately, the lure of the youth movement can be stronger than the desire to show devotion to a player who deserves it.
A couple months back it was reported that both Manning and Luck were against the idea of being on the same team. If that were to happen, Manning would start and the most talented rookie player would be forced to sit on the bench, maybe for several years.
It seems as though all will come into clarity on one day, Mar. 8. That is the day the Colts have to pay Manning 28 million in salary for the upcoming season. The Colts will either cut Manning, making him a free agent, or pay him, in which case he will most likely be the starter.
If the Colts stay true to their word and plan on drafting Luck, cutting Manning seems like the most logical option, but simply releasing one of the most important players in the franchises history is no way for Manning to be treated.
Whatever the Colts ultimately decide, Mar. 8 should be one of the most interesting days in sports this year.