It is hard to imagine a team that narrowly missed the playoffs last season would need a lot to get over the hump and into the postseason. However, that is exactly what the Indianapolis Colts are facing right now. Thanks to one of the worst divisions in the league last season, the Colts finished only one game behind the division winner Houston Texans. However, the AFC south is young and likely going to improve next season. If the Colts want to stay competitive within the division and get to the playoffs, they are going to have to make plenty of upgrades on both sides of the football. You could easily make a case that the Colts need help at every single position besides Quarterback, but the Colts only have seven draft picks to fill these needs. So what are the team’s do’s and don’ts on draft night? Let’s take a look.
1) Trade back
New general manager Chris Ballard’s mission from day one has been to build this team through the draft and the best way to do that is to load up on draft picks. The Indianapolis Colts have needs everywhere and will need as many draft picks as they can get. I don’t foresee a slam-dunk, no-brainer pick for the Colts being available at 15 in the draft, so why not trade back? There will be teams on draft night trying to move up to the Colts pick at 15 and they would be smart to listen to those offers.
2) Draft a pass rusher
This is a bit obvious and almost doesn’t need to be said, but I will go ahead and say it. The Colts HAVE to draft a pass rusher. The Colts ranked 23rd in team sacks last season and are now in desperate need for a 3rd down pass rushing specialist. The Colts have been spoiled with pass rushers in the past going from Dwight Freeney to Robert Mathis. However, now they find themselves without one and if they keep the No. 15 pick, a pass rusher may be the smart pick. OLB Haason Reddick out of Temple is a name being mentioned for the Colts at 15 and could help fill this need. (Also Jonathan Allen or Derek Barnett if they fall)
3) Draft the best available player
Whether it is the first round or the fifth round, the Colts need to focus on drafting the best available player. Since the Colts have so many needs across the board, drafting someone that can make an impact right away is essential. The Colts aren’t going to be able to solve all their problems in this draft alone, so draft the best available players and wait to fill the other needs.
1) Don’t draft a running back early
Many people would like to see the Colts take one of the top running backs in the draft and give Andrew Luck some help in the run game. Running back may be a need for the Colts, but not as big of a need as they may think. Frank Gore is still trucking along (for now) and Robert Turbin had eight touchdowns last season as the backup running back. With so many other needs on the team, the Colts need to focus on other positions early in the draft before addressing the running back position.
2) Only focus on defense
Ever since Chris Ballard took over as general manager the Colts have begun a defensive overhaul (rightfully so). The Colts had one of the worst defenses in the league last season, and there are still positions on the defense that need to be addressed as the draft approaches. However, the Colts need to make sure they don’t forget about the offense on draft night. The offensive line needs to improve, the wide receivers are average at best, tight end position lacks depth, and as mention early the Colts could use a running back. So while it is important for the team to make improvements on defense on draft night, they need to make sure not to abandon the offense.
3) Don’t draft a cornerback early
This draft class has been labeled as cornerback heavy and there is no need for the Colts to draft one early. The Colts do however need to find a cornerback in the draft to start opposite Vontae Davis. The Colts will still be able to find a solid cornerback after the first two rounds have passed and do not need to get over eager drafting one early. (Ahkello Witherspoon maybe?)
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