With Peyton Manning possibly out for the season, the Indianapolis Colts may already be looking towards 2012 after one game into the season, by scouting Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
Colts' vice chairman Bill Polian was in North Carolina as the Stanford Cardinal faced the Duke Blue Devils last Saturday. The most sought-after NFL prospect is clearly Luck, and with Manning 35 years old, it seems obvious that Indianapolis are in need of an eventual replacement for their franchise star and could turn to Luck in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Though it wouldn't be the Colts' plan to intentionally lose games to increase their chances of getting the first pick in next year's draft, the team is already struggling so this might be a good time to experiment with younger players to build towards a stronger club next season.In the process, the Colts would likely lose games and move closer to the top pick.
There are several clubs that will probably make a serious effort to land Luck, and are expected to have struggles this season, such as the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Denver Broncos.
Many NFL experts expected the Colts to experience a bit of a drop off even with Manning at full strength. With Manning out for several weeks, it wouldn't be surprising for Indianapolis to finish last.
The process of failing in 2011 to improve a team's draft status has even been given a tag, Suck for Luck.
Luck would be an ideal successor to Manning. A tall and athletic slinger, Luck also makes excellent decisions like Manning, who is perhaps the smartest and most game-prepared quarterback of his generation.
In the first game of the season, the Colts were dismantled 34-7 by the Houston Texans. Veteran Kerry Collins performed with decent results, but Manning means so much for the Colts that the season is already in the balance.
Polian's son, Brian, is Stanford's assistant special teams coordinator, so there is a family connection with the university and the Colts.