Without Peyton Manning, pressure will be on Andrew Luck early in NFL career

The pressure will be on Andrew Luck early in his NFL career.

Although we've always expected as much, the soon-to-be No. 1 pick of the Indianapolis Colts in the 2012 NFL Draft won't get to learn behind Peyton Manning. According to ESPN, the Colts will announce at a Wednesday news conference that Manning will be released.

Now we'll see how fast Luck, regarded as the best quarterback prospect since John Elway, can get acclimated to the NFL. It's hard to envision a scenario where Luck would sit behind Curtis Painter, currently the only quarterback on the Colts' roster.

Make no mistake, though, the Colts are in a position to draft Luck due to much more than Manning missing the 2011 season following neck surgery. On offense especially, it's a bad roster in Indianapolis. Expecting Luck to immediately lead to the Colts back to the playoffs as a rookie is more pressure than he could see from any Wade Phillips blitz.

Lead wide receiver Reggie Wayne is a free agent, tight end Dallas Clark is coming off arguably the worst year of his career and the Colts' running game has always been a weakness. While Luck is as good as the lofty hype he receives, it would be unfair to expect him to make the Colts a 10-win team in 2012.

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The impending release of Manning will also heavily impact this year's draft. While many expect the Miami Dolphins to be favorites for Manning, much like the draft process, it will only take one team to fall in love.

If the Redskins are that team, for example, it kills the trade value of the No. 2 pick currently held by the St. Louis Rams. The Rams may also want to hotshot a trade while the value for No. 2 is high before free agents like Manning or Matt Flynn sign. If the Dolphins or Seattle Seahawks are suitors for Manning, it may even cause Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill to slip.

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