The Packers come to Indianapolis tonight as reigning Super Bowl Champions. They represent the Indianapolis doppelganger, a team that had an iron-man Hall of Fame quarterback, but dumped him in favor of the young backup Aaron Rodgers.
The Packers represent a road not taken for the Colts. They had Aaron Rodgers fall to them in 2005 all the way down to the 24th pick. Rodgers is now one of the five best signal-callers in the NFL, and may well be the best player in football.
As the Colts trot out Curtis Painter tonight and threaten to open the regular season with Kerry Collins replacing an injured Peyton Manning, some may wonder why the Colts didn’t draft a better backup.
The answer is simple: there haven’t been any quality quarterbacks available.
From 2006-2010, the following quarterbacks were there for the Colts to pick in the first three rounds:
Of that ugly list the only quality starter may be Kevin Kolb, though to be honest, no one really knows how good he is. McCoy is starting in Cleveland. Whitehurst and Jackson are staging and inept battle in Seattle, and Chad Henne gets booed daily in Dolphins camp.
The Pack caught a break. Aaron Rodgers was a top five talent who slid all the way to the back of the first round. Green Bay couldn’t pass him up. They had the luxury of replacing Favre with an elite talent.
That’s great football, but it’s also an incredibly lucky break.
Had the Colts jumped on one of the QBs out there, maybe they would have caught a break on Kolb (assuming he’s any good), but most likley, they’d be starting a player who isn’t very good. In addition, they would have been paying him for the last few years, and missed out on a chance to draft another, better player.
The ‘second tier’ of QBs is rarely a place to find high quality players. Indianapolis did the right thing not taking one. Even now, they wouldn’t be much better off if they had.