Well there’s the obvious, Andrew Luck, but say come April the Colts feel confident they’ll have 3-4 more years of Manning.
What could they leverage Luck into?
Adam Schefter suggested yesterday that a team could potentially receive 3 first rounders and 2 seconds in exchange for the number 1 overall pick. An impressive haul, but there are some problems. Not having a 1st round pick again until 2015 and no 2nds until 2014 could be crippling even if Luck is as good as advertised. Also if the Colts are looking to trade out of the number 1 pick, they are fully committing to making a couple final runs with Peyton, a 1st rounder 3 years away isn’t great for trying to put everything into the next 3-4 years. Both of these problems are helped if the team trading for Luck has extra picks high in the 2012 draft.
Three teams have a pair of first rounders, NE, CIN and CLE. NE and CIN can be ruled out as the Pats have Brady and a project in Mallett and Andy Dalton is performing reasonably well. The Browns however could be very interested in Luck. QB Colt McCoy has regressed a bit from a not particularly inspiring rookie season. Going into yesterday’s game McCoy was ranked 29th in DVOA and had a negative DYAR. While he’s still young, he’s not playing anywhere close to a level where you shouldn’t be looking hard for an upgrade. The Browns still have all of their 2012 draft picks as well as holding the Falcons’ 1st and 4th round picks. Currently the Browns pick would be the 10th overall and the Falcons the 20th.
Using Schefter’s figure of 3 firsts and 2 seconds the addition of the Browns 2013 1st and 2nd round pick would make the deal. By the trade value chart that would be about a late 2nd:
(3000 for the #1 vs 1300 for the #10, 850 for the #20, 480 for the #42, 480 for the 2013 1st and 220 for the 2013 2nd for an extra 330 coming from the Browns to Indy). A value chart adjusted to better reflect trades in recent years has it as slightly more lopsided than the standard chart. Of course you can argue both that Luck is worth more than your standard #1 overall pick and that having all of the firsts in the next two years means they can give less than 2 seconds on top of it.
Going off just the adjusted value chart and treating Luck as worth the same as any other #1 overall pick the Colts could fairly net the 10th, 20th, 42nd (or the Browns 2013 1st), the Browns 3rd (or 2013 2nd rounder) and the Browns 6th rounder.
That trade would leave the Colts with 2 picks higher than the Colts have selected since 2002 (Freeney), up to 6 picks in the top 75 and as many as 11 picks in the draft, and that’s a very conservative estimate of what they could get, which doesn’t take into account the rarity of a prospect like Luck or the new rookie wage scale.
But are the Browns the only team that could really make a strong offer for Luck? Without giving any 2014 picks, can a team without 2 firsts this year put up enough value?
Using the adjust chart, assuming Luck has no additional value and that a team would trade its entire 2012 and 2013 drafts for Luck, a team must be drafting in the top 12 this year to match the value of the number 1 pick. It’s not until the top 5 where a team’s entire 2012 draft would match the normal value of the top pick, so if the Colts get the top pick and trade out of the top 5, it’ll be to a team with multiple 1sts this year, or need to be the result of multiple tradebacks.
The plausible scenarios for a tradeback from #1 without a team holding more than one 2012 first is a move back to 2, 3 or 4 with a team like the Dolphins, Seahawks or Redskins. In that situation the Colts would be looking at a package of a top 4 pick, a 2nd (or future 1st) and a 3rd (or future 2nd) subject to some inflation due to it being Andrew Luck.
The Browns trade would be my favorite right now. To attach some names/faces to the pick numbers, holding the 10th, 20th, 33rd, 42nd, 65th and 74th pick in this draft could likely get you LSU CB Morris Claiborne, Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd, Alabama LB/DE Courtney Upshaw, Alabama S Robert Lester, Pitt G Lucas Nix and Nebraska LB Lavonte David (or Arizona QB Nick Foles, or Oklahoma WR Ryan Broyles).