The Indianapolis Colts will enter this year's draft with a slate that has been wiped clean with the release of long-time Colt veteran Peyton Manning, but to be honest, this team needs to move with the future in mind now before it's too late.
The Colts, by design, are NOT the 2-14 team from a year ago. The Colts ARE by virtue of that miserable season, a team with a golden opportunity to draft nothing but top talent in every single round.
This little observation is paramount for Indianapolis. The Colts will no doubt be thinking of both the present and the future within this draft, and if they choose wisely, they could wind up having one of the best drafts in team history.
Let's take a look at what could happen.
Round 1 : Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford:
6' 4", 234 pounds
Well everyone, the rebuild begins now and it begins with Mr. Andrew Luck.
Whether you were for or against the Manning decision, it is final. This isn't, however, any reason to dislike this pick.
Andrew Luck comes from a pro-style offense that is in fact similar to what Indianapolis will run, so the thinking here is that there will be an easy transition and a small learning curve...let's hope the thinking is right, yes?
Round 2: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
6' 2", 211 pounds
With Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon not likely to return to Indianapolis, the need for a possession-type receiver is just as paramount as their need for a QB of the future.
If you're going to rebuild, this would certainly be the proper approach.
The Colts have always utilized receivers like Sanu, and for what this kid brings to the table in regard to size, speed and skill, it will be hard to pass on Sanu if he is still available.
Round 3: Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple
6' 0", 218 pounds
Head Coach Chuck Pagano wants to be "more physical up front" this season according to Pro Football Weekly, which is observation number one.
Joseph Addai was already relegated to a complimentary role last season, and he could even become a salary cap casualty to help the Colts free up space for new signings—observation number two.
Donald Brown appears to be the incumbent starter in Indy, but if a team wants to be more physical up front, the runner in question needs to be a solid RB who can run in between the tackles—something that is NOT Donald Brown's strong suit—observation number three.
Bernard Pierce, on the other hand, is that prototypical RB that is not only a threat between the tackles, he is a bruising workhorse back that would certainly fit in the new scheme if he is in fact available.
This is another situation that I do not see the Colts passing up, despite not ACTUALLY having an apparent need at RB for the moment.
Round 4: Tyrone Crawford, DE, Boise State
6' 4", 285 pounds
The Colts need to find themselves a young bookend who can not only be a strong contributor as an outside rusher, but also a conversion candidate to OLB with the deployment of their new 3-4 scheme.
Converting to a 3-4 not only requires additional strength, but also additional mobility within the players in question.
This move would offer the Colts a potential starter opposite of Fili Moala with plenty of experience as a 5-T 3-4 lineman who is both strong and mobile.
Round 5: Lucas Nix, OG, Pittsburgh
6'5 ", 310 pounds
The Colts are in dyer need for an OG especially with the potential retirement of Ryan Diem looming.
I do, however, think they may target another Guard through free agency in an effort to sure up the position while adding depth. This move will also allow them to wait a little longer to target a OG for the future.
If it's one thing Nix does well it is protecting his QB but he also does plenty of other things rather well such as run blocking and keeping the lanes clean.
If Nix is available, he would be a great steal in the fifth round for Indianapolis.
Round 6: DeQuan Menzie, CB, Alabama
5'11", 202 pounds
If there is one guy that is sure to be overlooked, it's DeQuan Menzie thanks to fellow corner Dre Kirkpatrick.
If there is one position that many may overlook as a need in Indy, it is the corner position because lets face it, Jacob Lacey and Jerraud Powers aren't the greatest cover corners in the world.
Menzie is a physical cover-corner who is also exceptional as a press-corner while also possessing the added ability in knowing the nickle position as well. This offers the Colts a guy who is not only a perfect fit in Indy's new scheme, but also a player who is highly versatile.
Round 7: Donald Stephenson, OT, Oklahoma
6' 6", 312 pounds
The Colts could be in the market for a developmental OT with some potential upside to eventually start either this year or next.
The only issue is they will need not only a sizable OT, but also one who is used to playing in an aggressive scheme that will help the Colts concentrate on the ground game.
Stephenson could be that guy.
Stephenson's stock may cause him to fall late due to his "heavy feet' but the kid is a sound "in-place" run blocker who is also solid on the point of attack, which should help him maturate into a decent pass defender project as well.
At the least, Stephenson should offer the Colts some much needed depth.
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