Indianapolis Colts: Looking ahead to the NFL Draft

NFL Draft

With Free Agency winding down, the Indianapolis Colts now turn their attention to the 2013 NFL Draft.

The Colts have pretty much addressed or at least added depth to every position of need through free agency. With the most recent signing of WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, GM Ryan Grigson has added a total of 10 free agents. For any long-time Colts fan, that’s about 10 more than they’ve added in the last 15 years (exaggeration). Most of the players added will be expected to start, or at least play crucial back-up roles.

That investment allows the Colts to follow the “Best Player Available” philosophy in this month’s Annual Player Selection Meeting, which is good considering the Colts will be without a second and fifth round pick thanks to trades.

Even though there aren’t any “glaring” or “immediate” areas of need, some positions could still use some help. These are the areas I have identified:

1. Wide Receiver – Even though the Colts just added DHB, he’s only signed to a one-year deal, and Reggie Wayne isn’t getting any younger. There is still a general lack of real talent on the roster, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Indy going with another receiver early.

2. Cornerback – I was a little underwhelmed by the signing of Arizona free agent Greg Toler, and retaining the services of Darius Butler and Cassius Vaughn. I don’t think any of the three are long-term solutions (for that matter, I’m not sure I think Vontae Davis is a long-term solution). I think the Colts would do themselves a grave disservice if they didn’t give this a long, hard look in the draft.

3. Guard/Center – I liked the addition of Gosder Cherilus and Donald Thomas, but the offensive line could still use some depth. Especially if starting center Samson Satele cantinues to have health issues.

4. Running Back – Yes, there are already 6 backs on the roster, and Vick Ballard looks like he could be a solid starter for years to come. But Donald Brown still looks like a flame out, Delone Carter still can’t hold onto the rock consistently, and the other backs are roster-filler. New Colts OC Pep Hamilton will emphasize the run more than Bruce Arians did, so this could also be a focus area.

I’m sure just about everywhere else could use a little help, but those are the main needs as I seem them. So who would I take with each of the teams 7 picks? As you know, it is near impossible to predict what payers will be available when, but here’s my best guess (for now):

Round 1 (24th overall) – WR Cordarelle Patterson, Tennessee. Other possibilities – WR Keenan Allen, California; WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee; CB Desmond Trufant, Washington; CB Blidi Wreh-wilson, Connecticut.

Round 3 (86th overall) – CB Logan Ryan, Rutgers. Other possibilities – RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin; WR Markus Wheaton, Oregon State; G Dallas Thomas, Tennessee; OLB Jamie Collins, Southern Miss.

Round 4 (121st overall) – RB Stepfan Taylor, Stanford. Other possibilities – C Braxston Cave, Notre Dame; RB Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina; G Hugh Thornton, Illinois; WR Kenny Stills, Oklahoma.

Round 6 (192nd overall) – ILB Nico Johnson, Alabama. Other possibilities – OT Chris Faulk, LSU; DT Kwame Geathers, Georgia; S Zeke Motta, Notre Dame; K Dustin Hopkins, Florida State.

Round 7 (230th and 254th overall) – WR Theo Riddick, Notre Dame; FB Tommy Bohanon, Wake Forest. Other possibilities – OLB Keith Pough, Howard; TE Joseph Fauria, UCLA; RB Kenjon Barner, Oregon

I’ll be working on my first NFL Mock Draft in the coming days, so this all might change then. But for now, I think any of these players would fit in the Colts overall team plan, and would provide great value at their respective draft slots.

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