Commentary

The Andrew Luck conundrum

Carolina, Denver have young QBs -- so if they pick No. 1, what happens?

Originally Published: December 24, 2010
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
Getty ImagesAndrew Luck could head across the country to play for the Carolina Panthers -- or maybe they'd be happy with Jimmy Clausen and look elsewhere.

Think back to last Sunday and the Detroit Lions versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, ultimately won by the Lions. Going in, the Lions were a team looking to break their impossibly bad 26-game road losing streak, playing against a pretty good Tampa Bay team, and down to their third string quarterback. For most of the year, no team in football has garnered the "They're close!" label more than the Lions, who have played much of the season without the services of former No. 1 pick, QB Matthew Stafford.

The Lions won -- great for their fans, and a confidence-builder -- but they also lost. Currently, they'd be picking No. 6 in the 2011 NFL draft.

This is a franchise that has seen recent picks Stafford (when healthy) and DT Ndamukong Suh start to form the core of what looks to be a bright future. And if Detroit wins another game, they could theoretically fall out of the top 10, pick-wise, and miss out on what could be a final great talent that pushes them closer to the realm of better teams. So this week, let's take a quick look at what each team currently stuck in the range of a top-10 pick could be playing for, win or lose, and the decision: are they better off winning or losing? All player valuations are based on the current Big Board, which will shift as we move toward April.

Carolina Panthers: At 2-12, the Panthers have the best shot at the No. 1 pick going into Sunday's action.


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Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst