OK, so you’re probably all sick of hearing about Andrew Luck. But I want to look at this scenario from a different angle. I want to look at this from the angle of “What happens if the #1 picker already has their franchise QB?”
So, to start it off, we have to look at the team records thus far. And as of right now, there’s only two teams which you can say have their “Franchise QB” and have a shot at Luck. Those two teams are, the Panthers (sorry yet again, Mackk) and the Rams (yes, really). The Panthers are 1-3, and have the toughest schedule on the year (NFL sure did them a favour). The Rams are 0-4, which is shocking in itself, yet I’d wager my money on the Rams, over the Panthers, to finish with the worse record. They just can’t get anything going in their games. At least the Panthers have been more than competitive thus far.
Looking at both of these teams, it would seem quite foolish to draft Luck, especially after investing so much in their two QB’s. At the point at which you decide to not draft Luck, two things come into play. An alternative #1 pick or a trade down which costs the Earth. We all know that more than half the league would want the pick, but who would want it bad enough to give up everything? For me, it’s the 49ers. Their QB situation has been in complete shambles since ’05, they still have no real viable starter (despite their amazing 3-1 record) and, most importantly, his favourite coach works for them now in Jim Harbaugh. Unfortunately for the 49ers, they don’t have much to give up to get him. I suppose a reasonable trade would be Frank Gore, though both teams have very suitable Running Backs. And Gore’s been run into the ground, which is never a positive. Maybe they could trade Michael Crabtree? An often injured, yet still quite talented player. Lord knows they both need a lot of help at WR (More so #2 WR for the Panthers, but still need a replacement for Steve Smith). And with that, I’ve gone through their realistic trade possibilities. And Crabtree isn’t worth the value of the pick, even coupled with the 9ers first rounder (which may be not be too bad). Some of you may be saying “But they have Patrick Willis”, but the counter is that the Rams have James Laurinaitis, a rising star at MLB (Middle Linebacker), and the Panthers have Jon Beason, often considered the second best MLB behind Patrick Willis.
So this all brings us to the other side, staying at #1 and picking. After reading a very updated mock draft, they have the Panthers and Rams both finishing within the top 10 (or bottom 10, I guess), but have the Colts coming last. After seeing the Colts on Monday Night Football this week, I don’t see them losing enough games to get the #1 pick. They played fairly well against both the Steelers and Buccaneers, and they get their first legitimate chance at a victory this week against Jacksonville.
I see the Rams as the more likely of the two to get the #1 pick. And with that pick, I think they’re likely to take an O-Linemen (most likely Matt Kalil), as up to this point, Sam Bradford is the most sacked QB in the NFL. However the Rams need a bit of help all-round, so picking WR Justin Blackmon out of Oklahoma St. wouldn’t be a bad pick, as it greatly improves the weakest part of their team. But a WR is not likely to be picked #1 in the scheme of things and is much less favoured to an Offensive Tackle like Kalil.
On the flip-side, if the Panthers happen to get the pick. I think they’ll take Justin Blackmon as CB is just way too risky at the #1 pick. Alternatively, you could argue that they should draft an OLB, as Thomas Davis tore his ACL for the third straight season and it’s likely the Panthers won’t bring him back (which Mackk wrote about here). But is that a worthwhile pick at #1? Von Miller has been playing very well up to this point in his career, recording two sacks on Sunday and having 4 on the season. He could be well on track for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. If he does win it and the Panthers finish 32nd, then they probably wouldn’t shy away from drafting an OLB based on Miller’s form. Burfict is a very solid defender on the outside, but isn’t as much of a pass rusher as Miller was. Which suits Carolina well, as they play a 4-3 and have a solid D-Line, despite their struggles stopping the run.