NFL's Future

2014 NFL Mock Draft

Is it feasible that the best QB prospect since Peyton Manning could be dealt on draft day?

The Oakland Raiders gave up a small fortune for the services of a former number one overall pick in Carson Palmer this week.  After an injury to starter Jason Campbell, the 4-2 Raiders pulled the trigger on the 31-year old Palmer.

The king’s ransom ended up being a first-round pick in 2012 and a second-round pick in 2013.  That 2013 second rounder turns into a first-round pick if the Raiders make it to the AFC Title Game in either of the next two seasons.   The compensation level for a 31-year old QB on the decline of his career is an eye opener.

Now that Carson is in Oakland and the Bengals have locked in on a small fortune of future picks, we examine how this trade will affect Andrew Luck’s trade value.

With teams like St. Louis and Indianapolis legitimate contenders in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes, the possibility of the most prized quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning being traded away is becoming reality.  St. Louis has Sam Bradford, the 2010 first overall pick and Indianapolis just paid the aforementioned Manning big money to stick around before neck surgery derailed his 2011 season.  Sure, the Colts need to find Peyton’s replacement but can they afford to pass up the opportunity to secure an army of picks for someone that will sit and learn under Manning for the foreseeable future?

Peter King of Sports Illustrated opined that Andrew Luck would garner three first-round picks with one of those being in the top 10 of the 2012 draft.  Given the fact that Oakland surrendered what could be two first-round picks for a declining 31-year old, will that be enough to quench the thirst of St. Louis or Indianapolis and will any team be willing to mortgage their future on one player?

Most outsiders believe that Carson Palmer for two first-round picks (possibly) is a little (or a lot) steep.  For a team like St. Louis, with a franchise quarterback in place, three first-round picks could mean the quickest route to a rebuild.  For the Colts, it could mean one last run for Peyton.  Any reasonable mind can see that all the chips are in for Oakland in this boom or bust move.  They are relying on the 31-year old Palmer to return to his early career form with the change of scenery.  I couldn’t foresee either the Colts or St. Louis passing on three first-round picks for the rights to Andrew Luck given the state of their franchises.

It is the fear of the unknown.  From one side, if Andrew Luck turns out to be the next Peyton Manning you become the team that traded the next Peyton Manning.  From the other side, giving up three first-round picks that could be three building blocks could set your franchise back if Luck turns out not to be Peyton Manning.

The NFL Draft is a crapshoot.  The value of picks is in the eye of the beholder.  Jimmy Johnson’s trade value chart is obsolete.  The win-now mode hit Oakland and they decided a couple of late (hopefully) first-round picks weren’t the answer for their franchise.  Jason Campbell is a nice quarterback but the reality is that you aren’t likely to win a Super Bowl with him as a starter.  Carson Palmer offers the hope of a once brighter career that fell flat because of injury and organizational dysfunction.  Andrew Luck is to a lesser extent a risky opportunity that offers the same hope that Oakland has in Palmer.

Luck’s value is in the eye of the beholder.  To put some historical perspective on it, there are 29 teams that would have jumped at the opportunity to give up three first-round picks in 1998 for Peyton Manning knowing what they know now.