The Indianapolis Colts are bad. Like they’re really bad. And the collective Indianapolis sports sphere is losing its mind. My question is, why? Going into the season the Colts were likely not going to be that great. And that is with Andrew Luck. Prediction sites like FiveThirtyEight had the Colts most likely to win less than nine games with Andrew Luck at quarterback. Now we know that Luck is going to miss some substantial time. So why is everyone freaking out about Scott Tolzien at QB? That’s exactly who should be playing QB in this position. He’s cheap, he’s slightly better than Curtis Painter, and with him at the helm the Colts will lose a ton. Perfect.
In the modern sports landscape, there is not much of a point to squeak into the playoffs with no shot in winning it all or barely missing the playoffs. If there is anything that the Philadelphia 76ers have taught us, trust the process. There’s no value to being OK. If you can’t win, lose big. Colts fans and sports media should understand that more than most. The last time the Colts lost their All-League quarterback, they were hot garbage for 16 weeks in 2011. It was hard to watch, but it was awesome that it happened. It allowed Indy to transition from an aging Peyton Manning to the future of the franchise Andrew Luck with just one bad season. They should do it again.
It is clear after Sunday’s natural disaster of a football game, where we saw the Rams (who are not good) obliterate Indianapolis, that there are plenty of problems with the Colts that are not just Andrew Luck’s shoulder. So, embrace it. The Colts are bad. Be bad. A top 3 draft pick offers a lot more value to the future of the franchise than 6 wins against other bad football teams.
Many a statistician has done a deep dive on the value of draft picks and what you can expect at each position. Most of the research concludes that the draft is often a crapshoot but the higher you draft, the better. No duh, right? The difference is value of each respective pick within a round. Chase Stuart of Football Perspective did an in depth analysis on the value of each pick several years ago.
What he found was that the top 3 picks hold a lot more long-term value than the rest of the picks. The value of the 2nd overall pick compared to the 1st is a 13% drop off in value. 3rd to 1st is a 27% loss of value. 4th to 1st is a 40% loss. As you can see the value falls of quickly. But once we get to the 5th pick that value loss starts to tail off. In fact, the change in value between 1st and 4th is equivalent to the value loss between 5th and 40th pick. So, once you fall outside of the top 4 picks your NFL draft position doesn’t see a whole lot of advantage between middling and winning the Super Bowl.
The Colts aren’t winning the Super Bowl this year. We saw on Sunday that there are still a lot of leaks to plug in the Colts sinking ship. Jim Irsay and company should stop trying to plug those holes with towels and go all the way down. The top of the NFL draft is heavy with interest in trying to find that next franchise quarterback. The Colts already have theirs. Meaning you don’t have to risk it on a franchise QB that only pans out about 10% of the time. However first round offensive tackles and running backs hit at nearly three times that clip. Both are positions of need I imagine Andrew Luck’s shoulder would appreciate to have on the team.