The Indianapolis Colts select, Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin.
While no one would be surprised by the Colts choosing not to use their 1st rounder to address their biggest needs at OT and DT, Carimi fits the outline of an early Colts pick extremely well. The history of Colts early round picks shows a clear preference for experienced prospects who demonstrated intelligence and work ethic through academic success. Indy also seems to have a soft spot for the Big Ten making it a trifecta for Gabe Carimi.
While some doubt his ability to play LT at the pro level, that only amounts to a risk that the Colts will be greatly upgrading a slightly less important position as RT Ryan Diem needs to be replaced. Adding Carimi to either end of the line will greatly improve a Colts offense that struggled to give Peyton time to throw and clear lanes for their backs.
Carimi is a redshirt senior with 49 career starts, all at left tackle, in 52 games and is finishing up a civil engineering degree as he trains for the draft and start of his pro career. Carimi is an Outland Trophy winner (for best lineman, offensive or defensive in college football), Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the year, two time 1st team All-Big Ten, and four time Academic All-Big Ten.
Other possibilities on the board are Corey Liuget (DT, Illinois), Nate Solder (OT, Colorado), Stephen Paea (DT, Oregon St.), Derek Sherrod (OT, Mississippi St.), Mikel LeShoure (RB, Illinois), Leonard Hankerson (WR, Miami), Jonathan Baldwin (WR, Pittsburgh), Jimmy Smith (CB, Colorado) and Brandon Harris (CB, Miami).
Carimi was my choice out of that crowd because he was the most pro-ready fit of the Colts profile. Liuget, LeShoure and Harris are true juniors while the Colts strongly favor seniors and haven't taken a player with less than 4 years of college in the first two rounds since Edge James. Solder and Sherrod are generally viewed as having a higher ceiling but being less pro ready with Solder needing to add bulk and strength and Sherrod coming out of a run-heavy non-pro style offense. Paea, Hankerson and Baldwin could likely be had in the early to mid 2nd round. LeShoure, Baldwin and Smith have disciplinary and/or attitude concerns.