The 2013 NFL draft probably didn’t dazzle fans of the Indianapolis Colts the way they might have hoped.
It was a “build from the inside-out” philosophy that ruled this draft, as evidenced by the team’s first four picks. First off the board with the 24th overall selecetion was OLB Bjoern Werner from Florida State, a dynamic pass rush talent who projects to be Dwight Freeney’s heir-apparent. See my earlier thoughts on Werner here.
For the picks in rounds 3 and 4 (Indy did not have a 2nd round this year thanks to the Vontae Davis trade last off season), GM Ryan Grigson focused on O-line depth, taking G Hugh Thornton from Illinois #86, and C Khaled Holmes out of USC with pick #121.
Thornton measures in at 6’3″ and 320 pounds, and will likely be in competition for the starting guard spot with Mike McGlynn, Joe Reitz, and Jeff Linkenbach. My initial reaction is he’ll likely start out on the bench, but may play his way into a starter as the season progresses.
Holmes comes in at 6’3″ and 302 pounds, but will likely only catch on as a depth player as starter Samson Satele is firmly entrenched in that spot. However, with Satele’s proneness to injury and the unimpressive play of back-up A.Q. Shipley, don’t be surprised to see Holmes notch some decent playing time in 2013.
The Colts then traded up into the 5th to snag Montori Hughes, a troubled but talented NT from Tennessee-Martin. He originally played at the University of Tennessee, but was dismissed from the team in 2011 after an “on-campus altercation.” He is massive, measuring 6’4″ and 329 pounds, and represents the second straight NT taken by the Colts in the fifth round (Josh Chapman being last year’s pick). With so many other tackles on the roster (Aubrayo Franklin, Brandon McKinnie, Martin Tevesau, and Chapman), it’s going to be an uphill battle for Hughes to get decent playing time. But, that’s what training camp is for.
Indy’s 2013 draft rounds out with S John Boyett (Oregon, 6th round, #192 overall), RB Kerwynn Williams (Utah State, 7th round, #230), and “Mr. Irrelevant,” TE Justice Cunningham (South Carolina, 7th round, #254).
The guy who will likely have the biggest impact in 2013 of this bunch is Williams. The speedy back could be a weapon on returns, and also has some pass catching ability. Cunningham was brought in to be a blocking tight end, to help not only with keeping Andrew Luck off the ground, but also to help open up lanes for new OC Pep Hamilton’s power running game. Boyett has injury issues, and missed the majority of 2012. He could be an intriguing pick (remember Antoine Bethea? Yep, 6th rounder), but he needs to get healthy, so the jury is out on him right now.
Overall it was a solid, if unspectacular, draft class. There were some areas that I thought they could really use help on, and had the ability to do so at times. While I really like the Werner pick, I think the Colts could have tried to bring in help at receiver and cornerback. Some names I would have liked to see them try and trade up for were WR Keenan Allen, CB Blidi Wreh-wilson, or even CB Desmond Trufant, who was taken two spots ahead of Werner by Atlanta thanks to a draft day trade. They also could have snagged RB Stepfan Taylor, another Stanford product, who went to Arizona directly after the Colts pickedHughes in the 5th.
And don’t forget about the undrafted free agents, signed quickly following the draft’s conclusion: OT Emmett Cleary (Boston College), K Brandon McManus (Temple), RB Dan Moore (Montana), RB Denodus O’Bryant (Lindenwood), CB Sheldon Price (UCLA), LB C.O. Prime (Wagner), WR Rodrick Rumble (Idaho State), WR Lanear Sampson (Baylor), and CB Daxton Swanson (Sam Houston State).
Colts training camp will likely start late July at Anderson University in Anderson, IN as has been the case in the past. It’s going to be fun to see the positional competetions, as just about every area except quarterback should be up in the air. Keep an eye out for more Colts news throughout the offseason here on iSportsWeb.
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