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Colts work out quarterback Andy Dalton

Andy Dalton

In this photo taken, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011, South squad quarterback Andy Dalton of TCU is pictured during Senior Bowl NCAA college football practice in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)


Quarterback is far from the first position the Colts need to upgrade in this year’s NFL draft. But they appear to be giving serious consideration to taking a passer with a high pick.

Colts G.M. Chris Polian and coach Jim Caldwell had a private workout with TCU quarterback Andy Dalton on Monday, and the Indianapolis Star reports that the Colts are serious about upgrading the backup quarterback position (currently manned by Curtis Painter) in the short term, and grooming Peyton Manning’s successor in the long term.

Most mock drafts have Dalton going somewhere in the first half of the second round, which would mean that if the Colts are serious about him, they might have to take him with their first-round pick. I’d love to see the look on Manning’s face if Roger Goodell steps up to the podium on draft day and announces that the Colts have selected a quarterback with their first-round pick. I imagine Manning’s face would look a lot like it looked when Caldwell called his ill-fated timeout in the final minute of the Colts’ playoff loss to the Jets.

(Manning is actually an unrestricted free agent, and depending on the outcome of the ongoing labor dispute, it’s possible that the Colts won’t be able to use the franchise tag to keep Manning. But I’m operating under the assumption that Manning will sign a new contract after the lockout ends and remain a Colt for at least a few more years.)

But while Manning likely wouldn’t be thrilled, if the Colts think Dalton is a future star, they should draft him. Manning is 35 years old. When the Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre was 35 years old. That decision caused the Packers plenty of rocky moments, but it ultimately turned out to be a very wise choice.