The Indianapolis Colts vice chairman Bill Polian has said he is ready to talk about drafting a successor for Peyton Manning in next year’s NFL draft. And perhaps more importantly, Manning is on board with it as well.
“The bottom line is that if the right person is there, and it has to be the right person, then now is the time to make that choice,” Polian said on his weekly radio show. “Peyton and I have spoken about that, and he’s OK with that.”
The Colts are currently the only winless team in the league at 0-10, and just came off losing what appeared to be the most winnable game on their schedule, a home match up against the then-2-7 Jaguars, which they lost 17-3.
This gives them the inside track to take anyone, and speculation is that Stanford’s Andrew Luck will automatically be the number one pick in the draft. He is said to be the best-prepared prospect coming out of college since… Peyton Manning.
Polian has attended one Stanford game already this year, and is planning to have a second look this weekend. Plus Polian’s son Brian is assistant special-teams coordinator at Stanford, so the family is already quite familiar with Luck.
“I’m around the country scouting this week, and I will ironically finish up at Stanford, but it has nothing to do with any choice we’ve made,” Polian said. “That’s just how it worked out. We won’t make (a decision) until April.”
Also, Manning’s father, NFL great Archie Manning, was teammates with Luck’s father in 1982 and 1983 with the Houston Oilers. Archie acknowledged that the two spoke earlier this year.
While no one will suggest that the Colts intentionally tanked the season for one player (at least, no one in the Colts front office), the stars do seem to be aligning eerily well for the Colts with Manning succeeded by Luck. Could it be another Farve-Rodgers style hand-off in Indianapolis?
The other side of the coin is, if the Colts drafted Luck, Manning could become trade bait. ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Redskins are one team that could be interested in trading for Peyton Manning if he were available. If Manning were to pass a physical later this year, there would likely be several teams on that list looking for immediate success and he could fetch a hefty pricetag. Manning is proven as one of the best to ever play his position, and he would be an immediate draw as well to put fans in the seats.
Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan has been struggling with the QB position, moving back and forth between Rex Grossman and John Beck. While Shanahan publicly says he feels either player could start and win for the Redskins. Statistically, there hasn’t been much of a difference, as Beck is ranked 30th in the league in passing efficiency and Grossman is 32nd. They only quarterback they are ahead of is rookie Blaine Gabbert, who is completing less than 50 percent of his passes.
Manning to Washington would be a much more appealing option.