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2012 Draft, Round 1: Needs And The Prospects


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***DISCLAIMER*** I'm not putting Andrew Luck on here, because I don't think we will be getting a QB 4 years out. Especially since Manning will return healthy, the Favre/Rodgers and Montana/Young transitions are fantasies, Luck will likely start day 1 if he is that good, and the team looking to start him will probably finish beneath the Colts anyway. Either that, or they will trade the moon to get him. We'd be foolish not to take such an offer (if we're in that position) to surround Manning with talent. Not to mention the fact that there will be plenty of good QB's in this, and the upcoming drafts.

That said, this thread will be assuming that the season is a wash, and we have a top 15 pick. Oh, and we're not here to talk about the coaches.

2012 NEEDS (in no order):

C - Pollak isn't going to cut it when Saturday's gone. We have a really good opportunity to grow, literally, at this position, and this draft is surprisingly loaded with good line commanders.

RT/RG - With Diem's career likely winding down, and Ijalana ready to take his spot (whichever position it is), there will be a gaping hole needing filled when we finally cut Linkenbach.

WR - Wayne's getting older, Gonzo may not be re-signed, Garcon's inconsistent, and the litter gets presumably thin after that. Loves me some Collie, though!

DT/NT - Antonio Johnson isn't great. He's average. He doesn't do a whole lot. No, we don't need a 350 lb. guy that can't move. We need someone who CAN play this spot instead of someone who HAS to play this spot.

CB - Holy crap. Remember when our DB's were terrifying? 2006 anyone? Now they are easy pickings for opposing QB's. Powers is legitimate, but Lacey, Tryon, etc., are just a merri-go-round of mediocrity.

ILB - Brackett's aging, and while Angerer will suitably replace him, that leaves a hole in terms of depth, and/or the strong side. Sims will likely be a 1-year deal only.

DE - Freeney's aging, Mathis will be a Free Agent, Hughes isn't panning out, and our two new additions - Brayton and Anderson - may not be around after this year. We need to continue to threaten passers.

While I'm sure there are other areas that people view as their pet needs or wishes (especially the stupid Luck-talk), I feel as though these are among the most pressing. We stand the best chance of winning Super Bowls during Manning's last hurrah if we find a way to address some of these issues. It is very unlikely that we could address them all, and there are loads of potential prospects in each (projected) round. This is proof that the guys who get paid to do this have a hard job. We talk as if it's so easy to fix things, but it's excruciating.

Anyway, to the good stuff.

2012 PROSPECTS (by round):

1st Round

Kelechi Osemele, OT/G, Iowa State; or David DeCastro, OG, Stanford - Both are road graders who also show intelligence and footwork on passing downs. Definitely a continuation of the move to bigger athletes on the line.

Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina - If I have to explain why this guy is on here, please do some research. He could have been a top 10 pick in April, were he eligible. He could be 1st overall in 2012.

Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College - It's ridiculous how well this guy fits the Colts: he racked up 36 tackles, 2 TFL, and 1 INT in his first two games this season; but most importantly, he's extremely intelligent in pass coverage. Vontaze Burfict from Arizona State would be another good candidate here.

Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia; Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska; Stephon Gilmore, CB/PR, South Carolina; Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama - Any of these guys would be welcomed as a 1st pick, though some of them could be had by trading down should we have a high pick. A lot of value could be had if we chose that route...

Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State; Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina; or Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame - All big, strong studs who would play from day 1.

I've had trouble scouting the DT/NT spot early in the season, as no one is standing out. Most of the NT's are playing in, and projecting to stick with 3-4 schemes. In the 4-3 sets, I'm just seeing more Moala/Nevis types. To be honest, I actually feel pretty comfortable with what we have there. I will continue to scout for prospects, but it may be that the guy we're looking for can be had in a later round.

The question is, do we take the top of the crop, assuming we select between 1 and 5? In that case, we get Luck/Barkley, Coples, or Blackmon. But only one. Or, do we trade down and get 2-3 guys from this list, while also scoring some additional picks in the value rounds? I'm all for the latter, but this is open to discussion.

Thanks for reading, and try to enjoy something about this season. :hug:

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no matter how you slice it this league is a qb driven league and i dont see the point surrounding peyton with talent just to have success for a couple more years. this franchise will enter the dark days again once peyton is gone, but we can prevent that with this golden opportunity we have this year by being in a position to draft luck and continue our success for the next 15 years instead of 3. your main concern seems to be why would he sit for 4 years? well how about 3? thats how long rodgers sat until he got the keys. now i know peyton is signed for 5 years and after this year its 4, but like i said in another thread i love peyton to death because he brought back our franchise, but no one is bigger then the franchise and 3 years under peyton will be plenty of time for luck to be ready to take the reigns.

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Anyway, to the good stuff.

2012 PROSPECTS (by round):

1st Round

Kelechi Osemele, OT/G, Iowa State; or David DeCastro, OG, Stanford - Both are road graders who also show intelligence and footwork on passing downs. Definitely a continuation of the move to bigger athletes on the line.

Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina - If I have to explain why this guy is on here, please do some research. He could have been a top 10 pick in April, were he eligible. He could be 1st overall in 2012.

Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College - It's ridiculous how well this guy fits the Colts: he racked up 36 tackles, 2 TFL, and 1 INT in his first two games this season; but most importantly, he's extremely intelligent in pass coverage. Vontaze Burfict from Arizona State would be another good candidate here.

Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia; Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska; Stephon Gilmore, CB/PR, South Carolina; Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama - Any of these guys would be welcomed as a 1st pick, though some of them could be had by trading down should we have a high pick. A lot of value could be had if we chose that route...

Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State; Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina; or Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame - All big, strong studs who would play from day 1.

I've had trouble scouting the DT/NT spot early in the season, as no one is standing out. Most of the NT's are playing in, and projecting to stick with 3-4 schemes. In the 4-3 sets, I'm just seeing more Moala/Nevis types. To be honest, I actually feel pretty comfortable with what we have there. I will continue to scout for prospects, but it may be that the guy we're looking for can be had in a later round.

The question is, do we take the top of the crop, assuming we select between 1 and 5? In that case, we get Luck/Barkley, Coples, or Blackmon. But only one. Or, do we trade down and get 2-3 guys from this list, while also scoring some additional picks in the value rounds? I'm all for the latter, but this is open to discussion.

Thanks for reading, and try to enjoy something about this season. :hug:

Good to have draft discussions with you, Doogan.

OG/OT/C - O-line - I frankly do not think we need an O-lineman in round 1 since I do not see a Maurkice Pouncey kind. However, I do see a top/middle of round 2 kind from a good O-line school - Peter Konz*, C, Wisconsin, Height: 6-5. Weight: 315. He is the guy I want for playing Center because he is rated to be solid in both run blocking and pass protection and could be solid for years to come.

D-line - You are right, Jerel Worthy is more the Moala/Nevis kind in round 1 and he is not Ndamokung Suh. So, I'd rather use a D-line pick on a pass rusher but then, if we are re-signing Mathis, which we will have to since Hughes has not panned out as well, chances are, we won't need a DE. Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina would be too good to pass up if we are picking top 10 and he is still there. However, I doubt it. Josh Chapman, 6'1", 310 lbs, from Alabama is a potential second round candidate for 4-3 NT that I like. After him, Kheeston Randall of Texas, 6'5", 305 lbs is a 4 year 4-3 NT prospect I like in rounds 3 or 4.

LB - I look at James Lauranitis, Brian Urlacher, all around that 250 lb range used as MLB in 4-3 systems and I like Manti Teo of Notre Dame whose measurables are right around the same at 6'2", 250 lbs, if I am not mistaken. Vontaze Burfict reminds me of Ray Lewis type, he will be the first LB gone. Luke Kuechly does fit the OLB profile for us real well and will be a solid player for us.

CB - Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama, Alfonso Dennard of Nebraska, Morris Claiborne of LSU - I would be happy with any of those 3 but my preference is Morris Claiborne of LSU. I would like us to trade down and get the CB of our choice and a LB of our choice, to be honest.

WR - If we are top 5, Alshon Jeffery is too enticing to not take a chance on him (unless we trade down and rip off another team like the Browns ripped off the Falcons for Julio Jones).

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A few guys we should take a look at:

Alameda Ta'amu, 6'3" 337 lbs, NT, Washington : As far as I know the top rated NT out of Washington. They run a 4-3 defense.

Josh Chapman, 6'1" 310 lbs, NT, Alabama: Almost positive they also run a 4-3.

Christian Tupou, 6'2" 300 lbs, NT, USC:

Chris Galippo, 6'2" 250 lbs, MLB, USC:

Ok Tupou and Galippo are quite a bit further down projected in the 5-6 rounds but hear me out here...These guys both had been playing at least a year or 2 under Pete Carroll and then Lane Kiffin comes in and brings his dad, Monte Kiffin aka co-father of the defense we currently run, who install a new system. Their performance is going to drop during the transition because the defense Kiffin runs is one of the more difficult to learn. So the lack of production causes their draft stock to drop and that's how they wind up projected (as of now at least) in the 6th round.

However they'll have spent 2 years with Monte Kiffin learning the defense we run. Couple guys like these who have good size and will already have 2 years experience running our D could make them late round steals for a team like us...yeah or Detroit, Minnesota, Chicago and Detroit and I"m sure they'll figure this out too. lol so

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no matter how you slice it this league is a qb driven league and i dont see the point surrounding peyton with talent just to have success for a couple more years. this franchise will enter the dark days again once peyton is gone, but we can prevent that with this golden opportunity we have this year by being in a position to draft luck and continue our success for the next 15 years instead of 3. your main concern seems to be why would he sit for 4 years? well how about 3? thats how long rodgers sat until he got the keys. now i know peyton is signed for 5 years and after this year its 4, but like i said in another thread i love peyton to death because he brought back our franchise, but no one is bigger then the franchise and 3 years under peyton will be plenty of time for luck to be ready to take the reigns.

But the talent we could stock up on now by trading the first pick, for example, would aid in building the future of this franchise anyway. The next QB to take over will have pieces around him, thus alleviating the pressure he faces.

Furthermore, we KNOW Manning makes this team a Super Bowl contender every year. Luck offers no such guarantee. We can either ensure PM has the best possible chance to win a few more rings, or settle for having a guide QB that may pan out.

P.S. The Rodgers example doesn't work, as he wasn't a top 5 pick. Despite the new reduced rookie salaries, Rodgers also wasn't getting paid anything close to what Luck would make sitting on the bench.

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My mock draft for the first 3 rounds would be something like this (assumes we have a pick in the 4-8 range):

Round 1: Trade down and receive picks No.10-12 (say) and Pick No.22 (they got from Falcons for Julie Jones) from the Browns

Round 1 - Pick 10-12: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Round 1 - Pick 22: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame (with Chris Polian at the helm, we will take the flyer on questionable character guys that we did not do on Vincent Jackson)

Round 2 - Trade down and receive 2 second round picks from the Eagles (possibly No.20 they got from Arizona) and No.26 (or something close) in exchange for our second round pick and fourth round pick

Round 2 - Pick 20: Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State (more time investment than money invested, IMO if we pick QB here)

Round 2 - Pick 26: Luke Kuechly, ILB/OLB, Boston College (LBs always drop and I expect Kuechly to drop due to size concerns), 6'2", 237 lbs

Round 3 - stand pat - Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin, 6'5", 315 lbs

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My mock draft for the first 3 rounds would be something like this (assumes we have a pick in the 4-8 range):

Round 1: Trade down and receive picks No.10-12 (say) and Pick No.22 (they got from Falcons for Julie Jones) from the Browns

Round 1 - Pick 10-12: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Round 1 - Pick 22: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame (with Chris Polian at the helm, we will take the flyer on questionable character guys that we did not do on Vincent Jackson)

Round 2 - Trade down and receive 2 second round picks from the Eagles (possibly No.20 they got from Arizona) and No.26 (or something close) in exchange for our second round pick and fourth round pick

Round 2 - Pick 20: Luke Kuechly, ILB/OLB, Boston College (LBs always drop and I expect Kuechly to drop due to size concerns), 6'2", 237 lbs

Round 2 - Pick 26: Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State (more time investment than money invested, IMO if we pick QB here)

Round 3 - stand pat - Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin, 6'5", 315 lbs

The only pick I have a problem with is Luke Kuechly...not because of him but because we have a much bigger need at NT than LB. I would like to see some LB depth added as well, and someone to push Wheeler/Conner for their starting spots, not that I have problems with Conner or Wheeler, but even having someone with talent to compete with them could even make them better.

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The only pick I have a problem with is Luke Kuechly...not because of him but because we have a much bigger need at NT than LB. I would like to see some LB depth added as well, and someone to push Wheeler/Conner for their starting spots, not that I have problems with Conner or Wheeler, but even having someone with talent to compete with them could even make them better.

Yeah, you may be right. If we probably go with Josh Chapman at that spot instead of Kuechly, it would be a solid draft :) in the first 3 rounds.

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@chad72: I like your draft!

@The "Luckies" who are mad:

My view of the Draft is this...

All things equal, no one here can predict the future.

All things equal, it's likely Manning will eventually come back and play like Manning. The history of this surgery, as well as the fact that Manning has shown virtually no decline in production on his own, makes this a logical assumption.

If the second point holds true, then Luck will not be playing for at least a few years. So let's say we're picking somewhere in the top 5, and we have the choice between Luck, or some complete stud at another position, or even an option to trade down for a few additional picks. Which is the best value?

I keep hearing the "Franchise is bigger than Manning" response as a validation for taking Luck. Well, what's better for the franchise? Setting up our best chances to win Super Bowls, or hoping that we don't face too large of a drop off at the QB position should/when Manning hangs them up? Peyton Manning is the only player in the history of the NFL who, by himself, makes a team a Super Bowl contender. I would also argue that he is bigger than the Indianapolis Colts. Sorry, long-time fans, but this team would be in Los Angeles if it weren't for Peyton Manning. Lucas Oil wouldn't exist, and all of those Divisional, and AFC Championship banners wouldn't exist without him. This team owes him more than he owes them. He is under no obligation to sacrifice his remaining years so as to ensure the future of this franchise.

That said, even Manning needs help.

We can build a championship team now that won't set us back, and will provide a good base for the future of the franchise. By taking Andrew Luck, we can do no such thing. Why do I say this? Because he is going to cost between $5 and $6 million a year to serve the Clipboard Makers of America. Just imagine if, during those years we are paying him to contribute nothing towards the success of the Colts, we spent that money on an impact defensive lineman, or wide receiver, or corner, or the finishing pieces of the new offensive line, or a combination of them by trading down in the 2012 Draft. Top 5 picks pan out more often than they bust, especially at those positions. Top 5 QB's are actually on the bust lists more often than any other position. We would be putting into place the pieces of a great team that could be very productive from the moment Manning returns, until well into his successor's career. Otherwise, we're burning money for nothing. It's like having Bob Sanders all over again, only this time, the player in question wouldn't have ever played at all.

(NOTE: Some have gone so far as to argue that we're "wasting" money by having Manning not play right now, so what's the difference? Well, Manning has been amazing for more than a dozen seasons for us, so missing a few games is forgivable. Luck has proven nothing at the NFL level.)

MONTANA to YOUNG, and FAVRE to RODGERS

Holy cow, I am sick of these comparisons. Not only is our situation not the same, those two transitions happened by sheer chance, and for virtually no cost.

Steve Young was drafted by the Bucs and the 49ers paid NOTHING for him for a long time. He also wasn't as amazing a transition as people seem to think. He had a ridiculous team around him, but he couldn't get through the Cowboys until the 49ers spent everything (including their future) on Free Agents - the only team to have ever pulled this off, mind you - and the franchise has been irrelevant ever since. They did win one Super Bowl with Steve, however. Their fans remained because of the legacy built by Montana, and they still have a solid following. More on this later.

Brett Favre was showing obvious signs of decline. Not only in terms of production, but also in wins. The Packers were becoming mediocre, so the staff drafted a QB to signal the onset of a change. Rodgers was a good prospect, but was deemed raw, with an awkward throwing motion and a statue-like pose where he frequently held onto the ball for far too long. He was a developmental project who fell low in the 1st round, and here too, cost the Packers virtually nothing. They spent the next few years building the rest of the team in preparation for the change - guys who could contribute immediately - and ca-ching! They found success. These were pretty extreme circumstances, and the Packers still managed to step back a ways in the years immediately after Favre left. Green Bay was in no zone of worry, as they've had a loyal following since the 1960's.

My point? Luck will cost a lot of money. Unlike the two examples provided above, Luck would be expensive, and would make it very difficult to keep a solid team on board. Not to mention the fact that Wayne, Freeney, Mathis, Clark, Addai, Bethea, Brackett, Saturday, Diem, and Vinatieri will either be gone, or far less productive than they are now by the time he were to hypothetically step in. As good as he is, there will be a major setback when Peyton leaves, and there's NO WAY Luck will be able to run this offense. No one can. Brady couldn't do it, Brees couldn't do it, Montana couldn't do it. It's too unique to Peyton's mind and skill set. It's not above anyone else, it just works so well with what he does because he basically designs it as he goes. That means we'd also have to consider new coaches, a new philosophy, the whole nine yards. If this were the case, the team would suck for years after Peyton retired whether we had Luck or not, and I doubt even he could bring it back after that long. In order to make the most of Manning's remaining years, while also preparing the future of the franchise, we need guys who can contribute now, and for several years after Manning retires.

That's how the 49ers and Packers did it. If we're going to do it like that, we need a solid QB prospect who comes to us cheap. That will permit us to keep existing staples, acquire new talent, and develop still others to make the transition, as well as Manning's remaining years, as smooth as possible.

I am not willing to forfeit the home stretch of Peyton Manning's career for the so-called good of the future of the franchise. That money could be better spent. I would rather get 4 years out of someone making an immediate impact instead of 4 years spent on a guy waiting in the wings, no matter how good he is supposed to be.

P.S. "It's a quarterback-driven league." Great, so you can quote Colin Cowherd. It is a QB-driven league, and now the rules and play styles are becoming far friendlier to them. It doesn't take a top draft pick to win with one anymore, especially since WR's and RB's are a dime-a-dozen to surround the QB with.

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We don't need to get Andrew Luck, I've already stated in other threads there are other talented quarterbacks to be had in the later rounds as well as the 2013 and 2014 draft(Tyler Bray, Case McCoy, Casey Pachall).

I like that I'm not the only one looking at Vontaze Burfict. I don't think he will be the 1st linebacker off the board however. As it stands right now, I see him as a late 1st rounder to early to mid 2nd rounder due to the reason that has already been stated: Linebackers drop more often than not. Burfict is 6-3 and is 252 pounds. He has already been compared to the likes of Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis with the coverage skills of Brian Urlacher. I have already said it but I will say it again, Vontaze is my favorite linebacker in the draft.

As for corner backs, I would like to see us get Dre Kirkpatrick. But since I like the trade down scenario I have to think that if we choose a corner back in the first round it's going to be either Morris Claiborne or Stephon Gilmore.

Quinton Coples I don't even need to explain. I would like to see us get him or Jared Crick and yet acquire another 1st rounder so we could get one of the corner backs I listed.

I wouldn't mind seeing us take Matt Kalil, an offensive tackle highly regarded as the best in this year's draft. We would have the basic stepping stones to a stalwart offensive line for the next quarterback we draft and for Peyton's remaining years.

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It was a really long post and you know what you said. lol

I agree with absolutely everything you said. Like you, I'm getting so sick of hearing the Montana/Young and Favre/Rogers comparisons. On the surface it looks like it would be the same thing but rarely are things as they seem on the surface. I went into the same things in another thread in the colts general forum when someone said the Favre/Rogers scenario was a "perfect example". No, it's not a perfect example and there isn't a perfect example because the scenario has never happened before to my knowledge. A perfect example would have to be a fictional scenario but here it is....in this imaginary scenario we have to pretend that Peyton Manning was in the 05 draft class (same class as Rogers) and that Favre had been injured the year before causing the Packers to have a horrendous season and wind up with the #1 pick. With the #1 pick, the Packers select Peyton Manning. Peyton sits on the bench for 3 years being groomed by Favre. What Peyton is learning from Favre I'll never know, but that's not important. lol So anyway, Manning doesn't get his first start until 3 years into his career.

Now if that had happened then that would be a perfect example to describe why we should draft Luck. But it didn't so the whole argument is flawed. Also as you pointed out about the money, a QB that is being "groomed" is typically not going to be paid anymore than a normal backup QB, which is far less than a #1 overall QB would get paid.

Like someone else said (don't remember who) if we draft Luck then we should trade Manning at the very latest the following year. I certainly don't want that to happen, I'd prefer to keep Manning here through his entire career. But if we draft Luck and cripple Manning...we're crippling the team more than we're helping it.

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I agree with absolutely everything you said. Like you, I'm getting so sick of hearing the Montana/Young and Favre/Rogers comparisons. On the surface it looks like it would be the same thing but rarely are things as they seem on the surface. I went into the same things in another thread in the colts general forum when someone said the Favre/Rogers scenario was a "perfect example". No, it's not a perfect example and there isn't a perfect example because the scenario has never happened before to my knowledge. A perfect example would have to be a fictional scenario but here it is....in this imaginary scenario we have to pretend that Peyton Manning was in the 05 draft class (same class as Rogers) and that Favre had been injured the year before causing the Packers to have a horrendous season and wind up with the #1 pick. With the #1 pick, the Packers select Peyton Manning. Peyton sits on the bench for 3 years being groomed by Favre. What Peyton is learning from Favre I'll never know, but that's not important. lol So anyway, Manning doesn't get his first start until 3 years into his career.

Now if that had happened then that would be a perfect example to describe why we should draft Luck. But it didn't so the whole argument is flawed. Also as you pointed out about the money, a QB that is being "groomed" is typically not going to be paid anymore than a normal backup QB, which is far less than a #1 overall QB would get paid.

Like someone else said (don't remember who) if we draft Luck then we should trade Manning at the very latest the following year. I certainly don't want that to happen, I'd prefer to keep Manning here through his entire career. But if we draft Luck and cripple Manning...we're crippling the team more than we're helping it.

Thank you for these follow up comments. You are correct in that there is no perfect scenario. Even the comparisons people draw are often based on an extremely rare set of circumstances where a team struck gold. We'd be effectively paying for two big time players when only one is going to play; or worse, we'd be telling Peyton that we're ready to move on. That doesn't sit well with me...

We can do as these teams have done by spending virtually nothing on a slightly lower pick, or trade for a pick that went unnoticed on another team - Stanzi, for example (not my choice, just citing for argument's sake) - and still stack the team around Manning.

If we do play to win now, through wise decisions (ie: draft and low-risk acquisitions), we will have a Ferrari in place for whomever is next. Spending $6 million a year for up to 4 seasons on a guy who isn't playing is worthless and a colossal waste on so many fronts. Manning effectively took a pay reduction so that we could build a team. If Manning wins a few Super Bowls, he'll build a legacy that keeps the fans cheering for them. To my earlier point, Montana built such a legacy for the 49ers through championships, that their fans remain loyal to this day. They were nothing before then. The Colts can be considered a prize organization for decades after Manning's done if we bring home numerous championships.

A team around Manning is the best chance we have for championships before we all grow old.

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