It takes a loser to build a long-term winner

Dante Geoffrey

ESPN football analyst and Matt-Hasselbeck-scalp-double Trent Dilfer has called Andrew Luck the greatest quarterback prospect since John Elway.

The Stanford quarterback and 2010 Heisman trophy finalist shocked the football world when he decided to stay in school for his senior season. He was considered by most to be the consensus No. 1 overall draft pick in April’s NFL draft.

Almost every team in the league would give up anything to be able to draft a player of his caliber. But just two weeks into the season, most teams have already played themselves out of Andrew Luck contention.

The Packers, Patriots, Steelers, Chargers, Jets, Ravens, Falcons, Rams, Saints, Buccaneers, Panthers and Lions are the only teams that may already have their franchise quarterback on the roster. That’s not to say Luck can’t be better than these teams’ current quarterbacks, only that it’s unlikely any of these teams would draft Luck if they had the chance.

 I know Michael Vick is good, but I left the Eagles off the list because Vick is injury-prone and 31 years old. I think given the unlikely opportunity Andy Reid would not hesitate to draft Andrew Luck.

I left middling and confusing teams like the Bears and Texans off because Jay Cutler and Matt Schaub are talented, but too inconsistent to be reliable NFL quarterbacks. I left all the teams that drafted rookie quarterbacks this year (besides the Panthers) off the list because all of those teams would jump at the chance to trade their consolation prize for Luck.

Oh, and if you’re offended that I omitted the Broncos, then I suggest you go find a sport you know something about and leave football alone.

With all that being said, there are 20 teams that remain in the running for Luck. But to win his services, those teams have to lose. A few of the 20 look to have the potential to lose properly.

In the past 10 NFL Drafts (not counting the 2002 draft, in which the expansion Houston Texans selected David Carr No. 1 overall), the average previous season’s win total for the team with the first overall pick is two. Only twice did the team with the No. 1 pick have more than three wins the previous season.

If this season follows the same pattern as the previous 10, teams that have been in constant need of a franchise quarterback (Buffalo, Oakland, San Francisco, Washington) have already shot themselves in the foot by winning in week one.

These teams have limited ceilings and two more accidental wins all but guarantee they won’t have a chance to draft Luck. Oakland and San Francisco have some playoff hopes, but the Raiders will have to upset the Chargers and the 49ers will have to upset God’s plan. What do they need to get over the hump and truly compete? A quarterback.

A quarterback who is unlikely to be available at the position these teams end up drafting. Both the Raiders and 49ers play in weak divisions, likely pushing their win totals above what they deserve.

The Vikings, Chiefs, Dolphins and Seahawks are all 0-2, and all in desperate need of a “face of the franchise” type player.

Another team that is in the thick of the battle for the NFL’s worst record is a team that was a tweaked neck away from playoff contention.

The Colts, a team you would never associate with needing a quarterback just as recently as three months ago, may now be one of the front-runners for the next great NFL quarterback.

With Peyton Manning likely out for the season with a neck injury, the Colts are a team without a star. Moving them up in the Luck list.

So congrats to the Colts. After taking one step back they could be poised to take one giant leap forward.

Dante Geoffrey can be reached at asports@statehornet.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @dantegeoffrey.