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Indianapolis Colts: Best and worst draft picks

  • By JJ Territo NFL.com
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In the days leading up to the 2013 NFL Draft, NFL.com will allow users to determine the best and worst draft picks for every team. The series continues with the team that owns the No. 24 overall pick in this year's draft, the Indianapolis Colts.

Best picks

Peyton Manning -- 1998 (No. 1)
In 1998, the Colts decided to draft, arguably, the best quarterback in NFL history instead of, arguably, the biggest bust in NFL history. Bill Polian built the Colts around Peyton Manning as Manning became the face of one of the league's most historic franchises and led them to their first Super Bowl victory since 1971. During his tenure in Indianapolis, Manning racked up four MVPs, 11 Pro Bowl selections, and helped the Colts get a new stadium. Needless to say, the fate of the Colts franchise would have been much different if they would have drafted Ryan Leaf.
» 1998 NFL Draft | Photos: Manning through the years

Andrew Luck -- 2012 (No. 1)
Talk about turning around a franchise. The Colts went from 2-14 to 11-5 with the addition of Andrew Luck. Not to mention, he led them to a playoff berth in his rookie season. On his way, he surpassed Peyton Manning's rookie benchmarks, while setting the rookie record for passing yards in a season. Give him a few years and he might climb his way to the top of this list.
» » 2012 NFL Draft | Moments that defined them: Andrew Luck

Robert Mathis -- 2003 (No. 138)
Drafted in the fifth round of the 2003 NFL Draft, Mathis has averaged more than nine sacks per season since his rookie year. Now that Dwight Freeney has departed from the team, Mathis is the Colts' current sack leader. He's also been to the last four Pro Bowls. With the importance of pass rushers in today's game, Mathis was a steal in the fifth round.
» 2003 NFL Draft

Marvin Harrison -- 1996 (No. 19)
Of all the receivers drafted in the "year of the receiver," Harrison has the most receptions of any of them. He also produced more yards and more touchdowns for the team that drafted him than any other receiver in that draft, which included Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn and Keyshawn Johnson. Harrison was Peyton Manning's favorite target and totaled eight 1,000-yard seasons with Manning at quarterback. Harrison is the Colts' all-time leading receiver in receptions, yards and touchdowns; and he played a major role in their first Super Bowl victory since 1971.
» 1996 NFL Draft | Photos: Harrison through the years

Reggie Wayne -- 2001 (No. 30)
Wayne is the second leading receiver in receptions, yards and touchdowns in franchise history. Drafted in 2001, he completed one of the greatest receiving tandems in NFL history. At the age of 34, Wayne helped the Colts transition from Manning to Luck, catching more than 100 passes in his eighth 1,000-yard season. With six Pro Bowls under his belt, Wayne might be remembered as the greatest No. 2 receiver in NFL history.
» 2001 NFL Draft

Worst picks

John Elway -- 1983 (No. 1)
If Elway had actually played for the Colts this draft pick might be remembered as the greatest of all time. Unfortunately, Elway refused to play for the Colts and was shipped off to Denver. In return they received Chris Hinton and Mark Herrmann, along with a first-round pick in the 1984 draft (used on Ron Solt). Herrmann wound up starting only two games, while Elway won two Super Bowls for the Broncos. With Eric Dickerson on the board, it's unfortunate that Ernie Accorsi, the Colts' general manager, wasted the No. 1 overall pick on a player who refused to play for them.
» 1983 Draft | Photos: Elway through the years

Jeff George -- 1990 (No. 1)
During his painful four seasons in Indianapolis, George led the Colts to a record of 14-37. It's easy to say he didn't pan out as he threw more interceptions than he did touchdowns. In 1991, the Colts had their worst season in franchise history, going 1-15 with George at quarterback. Ultimately, George was unable to lead the Colts to the playoffs and was traded to Atlanta. These results would not seem so unfortunate if the Colts hadn't given up two Pro Bowl players -- Chris Hinton and Andre Rison -- along with a first round pick to get him.
» 1990 NFL Draft | Photos: George through the years

Trev Alberts -- 1994 (No. 5)
Considered to be one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history, Alberts only started seven games after being selected fifth overall in 1994. While he was highly touted coming out of Nebraska, he only lasted three seasons with the Colts before quitting football. With only 69 tackles and four sacks, Albert never had an impact on defense. Based on his career totals, he would've been more suited for the fifth round than the fifth overall pick.
» 1994 NFL Draft

Donald Brown -- 2009 (No. 27)
Brown had a storied college career coming out of the University of Connecticut, and hasn't done much since. Plagued with injuries, Brown has only started 15 games during his four-year career. In those four seasons, he never rushed for more than 700 yards, averaging only 460 yards per season. With only 11 touchdowns in his career, it's safe to say Brown has not produced at a first-round level.
» 2009 NFL Draft

Anthony Gonzalez -- 2007 (No. 32)
The Colts drafted Gonzalez in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft, and his career with the team ended shortly thereafter. His career can be defined by injuries, as he never had a serious impact on offense. Gonzalez totaled 99 receptions and 1,307 yards in four seasons with the Colts before being released in 2012. With only five receptions in his last three seasons, it's fair to expect more from a first-round pick.
» 2007 NFL Draft

Follow JJ Territo on Twitter @jjterrito.

Best and worst draft picks
April 3: Chiefs | Jaguars
April 4: Raiders | Eagles
April 5: Lions | Browns
April 8: Bills | Cardinals
April 9: Jets | Titans
April 10: Chargers | Dolphins
April 11: Bucs | Panthers
April 12: Rams| Saints
April 15: Cowboys | Steelers
April 16: Bears | Giants
April 17: Bengals| Redskins
April 18: Colts | Vikings
April 19: Packers | Seahawks
April 22: Broncos| Texans
April 23: Falcons| Patriots
April 24: 49ers| Ravens

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