The Suck for Luck sweepstakes to win the first pick in this year's upcoming NFL Draft became incredibly apparent this weekend. While no team would ever admit to purposely tanking a game, it's hard to justify the pitiful performances by the winless Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Luck, a junior at Stanford, isn't guaranteed to enter the NFL Draft this April, but that hasn't stopped most from assuming that Luck will forgo his final year of eligibly and become the No. 1 pick. Luck is a Heisman Trophy candidate and considered to be the most polished quarterback to enter the NFL in years.
So who are the leading candidates to win the Suck for Luck sweepstakes? IBTimes takes its weekly look at what teams have the best shot to win the first pick and whether they would draft Luck with the No. 1 pick.
1) Indianapolis Colts (0-7)
If the Colts' 62-7 beat down at the hands of the New Orleans Saints is any indication, the Colts have accepted their role as the frontrunner in the Suck of Luck chase.
The Colts looked completely hapless against the Saints -- unable to do much on either side of the ball in the blowout loss. It's clear that the Colts will be a contender for the worst record in the NFL and are in desperate need for talent everywhere.
But would a team that already has Peyton Manning spend a top draft pick on another quarterback when it needs talent in so many other positions?
Yes, in part because it needs so much other talent. The loss of Peyton Manning for the season to a neck injury showcases just how bad this Colts team is without him. The offense is anemic, the defense has difficulty stopping opponents, and coach Jim Caldwell is as clueless as ever. If anything it should make the Colts realize that they are in need of a rebuild and could do just that taking Luck and having Manning mentor him for a few seasons -- akin to the Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers relationship in Green Bay.
Possible wins: Jacksonville, Carolina, at Jacksonville
2) Miami Dolphins (0-6)
The Miami Dolphins proved on Sunday that they have given up on coach Tony Sparano and will be strong competitors in the Andrew Luck race. The Dolphins are possibly the most desperate team in the NFL for a star quarterback and don't want to miss out on an opportunity to grab a franchise player.
Since Dan Marino retired in 2000, the Dolphins have gone through a who's who of mediocre quarterbacks and desperately could use a franchise quarterback like Luck could be. After an injury to Chad Henne, who has been a bit of a disappointment in Miami, the Dolphins have turned to Matt Moore to guide them in the Suck for Luck campaign for the remainder of the season.
The Dolphins allowed a Tim Tebow-led Broncos team could back from 15 points in the fourth quarter in an overtime loss on Sunday - showcasing just how bad things have gotten in Miami. The Dolphins will likely need a new coach and what better way to convince a top-notch coach to sign on in Miami then by using a No. 1 pick as a recruiting tool?
The Dolphins have certainly emerged as a main competitor in the sweepstakes, the only issue is can they manage to keep losing with the talent that they have?
Possible wins: at Kansas City, Washington, Oakland, NY Jets
3) St. Louis Rams (0-6)
The Rams are one of the main contenders in the Luck bowl, but there are some questions whether they would be interested in the Stanford star. The Rams have invested a lot of money in 2008 No. 1 pick Sam Bradford and could trade the pick to help add some additional talent around Bradford.
The Rams have been fairly pitiful this season, but one has to remember this is a team that many pegged to win the NFC West headed into the season. The Rams could use a young running back to play behind Steven Jackson and some wide receivers to surround Bradford with -- particularly some downfield threats.
It's going to be hard for anyone to pass up on taking a franchise quarterback like Luck, but the Rams might be one of the few teams that would. Plus there is enough talent on this team that the Rams should win a few games down the stretch to knock themselves out of contention for the No. 1 pick.
Possible wins: Arizona (twice), Seattle (twice), Cleveland
4) Minnesota Vikings (1-6)
The Vikings turned to rookie Christian Ponder on Sunday, but it didn't seem to make enough of a difference in the team's 33-27 loss to the Packers on Sunday. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier gave up on the Donovan McNabb experience last week and finally turned to the heir apparent.
Ponder struggled a bit on Sunday with two interceptions, but provided much more of a spark than McNabb had in previous weeks. More importantly was Adrian Peterson finally took over the game with 175 rushing yards and a touchdown to somewhat keep the Vikings in the game.
The Vikings took Ponder in the first round of this past April's draft -- indicating a fairly big investment in the former Florida State quarterback -- but would that stop them from taking Luck? It's hard to imagine that the Vikings would pass up Luck given how unproven Ponder is, but it would be a tough decision for the organization to make.
My gut tells me that the Vikings would take Luck and deal with the Ponder situation later, but it could be impacted by how well Ponder plays during the rest of the season.
Possible wins: at Carolina, Denver, at Washington
5) Arizona Cardinals (1-5)
The Cardinals invested a long-term, expensive contract in Kevin Kolb after acquiring him from the Philadelphia Eagles this off-season, but the move hasn't paid off like Cardinals' management hoped.
Kolb a decent day against the Steelers on Sunday -- he threw for 272 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception -- but has been unable to jumpstart a Cardinals offense that is filled with talent. The Kolb to Larry Fitzgerald relationship hasn't blossomed as hoped, while Beanie Wells isn't quite the star some expected him to become.
While the Cardinals have invested quite a bit of money in Kolb, it wouldn't rule them out from taking Luck should the opportunity arise. The Cardinals have been desperate for a quality quarterback since Kurt Warner retired and wouldn't think twice about taking Luck, if they thought he was the best chance to get the Cardinals back to the Super Bowl while Fitzgerald is still in his prime.
The only thing likely keeping the Cardinals back -- similar to the Rams -- is how weak the NFC West is this season. One has to imagine that the Cardinals will manage another win or two against the Rams and/or Seahawks, which would likely knock them off the race.
Possible wins: St. Louis (twice), Cleveland, at Cincinnati, Seattle
Other possible options:
Carolina Panthers (2-5)
The Panthers likely knocked themselves out of the running with the victory against the Redskins, though they likely wouldn't have taken Luck with Cam Newton already at the helm.
Denver Broncos (2-4)
The team seems content right now to go forth with the Tim Tebow era after the comeback victory against the Dolphins.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5)
Coach Jack Del Rio has given rookie Blaine Gabbert the keys to the offense.
Seattle Seahawks (2-4)
Probably are out of reach for Luck, but could look to take a quarterback in the first round after Charlie Whitehurst's pitiful 97 passing yards and an interception against the Browns on Sunday.
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