Three years ago, Luck was coming off three straight 11-win seasons, an AFC Championship game loss and was one of the faces of the league. The Colts were just a few pieces away from not only winning the AFC, but the Super Bowl as well. Somehow Indianapolis had transitioned seamlessly from one Hall of Fame quarterback to another potential iconic player.
Now the Colts are in the unenviable position of deciding how long is too long to wait for the cornerstone of their franchise to return.
Unless some sort of medical magic happens, Luck will not be ready for the Colts' season opener on September 9. More than likely Jacoby Brissett will line up under center. For new head coach Frank Reich and new general manager Chris Ballard, this potential jumping off point could be disastrous for setting a new standard and culture for a franchise that has not had a winning record since 2014. As with most new head men, having the confidence and support of your players is tantamount to success.
While many in the organization believe Brissett is a valuable insurance policy for Luck, it's clear Brissett is not a starter in this league. To trust a franchise with Brissett would be a tremendous miscalculation.
Ballard may be forced to make a choice: Hold out for Luck, or pick a quarterback early in the draft and press the reset button.
At this time, this option is not on Ballard's agenda. All mock drafts show the Colts bolstering other facets of their roster. Many also see the Colts as a potential trade partner — again — for one of the quarterback-needy franchises. The thing is, Indianapolis is one of those teams.
The 2018 NFL Draft is one of the strongest at quarterback in recent history. There is potential for five quarterbacks to go in the first round with three more going on the second day. On the other hand, 2019's projected draft class may be one of the weakest. Right now, there are only two quarterbacks who could potentially go in the first round.
The Colts stated position is to continue with Brissett as the holdover until Luck is ready to return. What if Luck doesn't return? What if Luck returns but lacks the arm that made him one of the best in the game? If the Colts were to pass on this year's quarterback crop but dip its feet into next year's QB-waters they would be making a big mistake. Reich was able to transfer Nick Foles from an NFL washout to a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and Carson Wentz into one of the great young stars. He could do the same with a rookie signal-caller.
Even if Indianapolis does not want to use its number six pick on one of the five elite young quarterback prospects, taking a QB with one of its three second round picks would be a sound investment. With Reich there to mold and mentor, you could set yourself up for yet another face of the franchise at the most important position in football. Should Luck return, you now have a trading piece. The Patriots have shown backup quarterbacks can be very lucrative to securing picks in future drafts.