April is here, which means the NFL Draft is just around the corner. The needs of teams are starting to become clearer as the free agency pandemonium slows down, but there is still a variety of positional needs highlighted in mock drafts released over the last few days.
(Editor's note: Each players' name carries a link to a playlist of videos of the player in college selected by the author.)
(Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports)
In this mock, the Colts selected Datone Jones out of UCLA. Jones has the versatility that Chuck Pagano may desire in his hybrid defense, as Jones can play defensive end or tackle in a 4-3 look, defensive end in a 3-4 and he maybe even possesses the athleticism to stand up to rush the passer. Jones has been steadily rising throughout the process, and showed up in a big way at the Senior Bowl with power, hand placement and explosive ability off the snap. His most likely position for the Colts would be defensive end, where Indy added Ricky Jean-Francois and re-signed Fili Moala. The position isn't a huge need anymore, but Cory Redding is getting old and struggled with some injuries in 2012. A long-term option may be appealing to the team.
(Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports)
Werner is slipping in mock drafts right now, but I'm not sure he's a brilliant scheme fit for us. Some people think he has the athleticism to be a 3-4 outside linebacker, but his best position is certainly as a 4-3 defensive end. Having just let Dwight Freeney - a player who struggled to transition 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker - leave, it'd be a strange fit, but Werner would was the best player on the board in this mock, though Jarvis Jones isn't far behind. Werner is strong, shows good anticipation and decent bend to be a prolific pass rusher, but doesn't always exhibit "elite" pass rushing traits.
(Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports)
I wrote recently about the the Colts taking a receiver in the first round, and Hopkins was one of the main names that I wanted. The Clemson wideout has been a favourite of mine for months, and with Donnie Avery now playing for the Kansas City Chiefs, the Colts have a gaping hole at the position. T.Y. Hilton may be seen as more of a slot receiver, which means an outside receiver is a need. Hopkins has great hands and is a sound route runner, who can not only line up across from Reggie Wayne but possibly replace him when #87 inevitably retires.
(David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)
Another mock, another position. Having seen defensive line, linebacker and wide receiver mocked, we now get to another favourite of mockers; cornerback. Even after adding Greg Toler and resigning Darius Butler, the Colts can still stand to upgrade their pass defense. Wreh-Wilson is a tall, rangy cornerback who I have a mid-2nd round prospect, but he's effective in run support and shows good coverage skills, even if his press-man coverage isn't his speciality. Fortunately, there'd be no pressure on him to start immediately after the contract handed to Toler in free agency.
From four mocks reviewed, the Colts are shown to go in four different directions. Like I said - the picture is getting clearer, right?
If Jarvis Jones is there at 24 and we don't take him then we deserve to be in trouble defensively, I agree that Werner is best as a 4-3 DE, from what I have seen on tape, he gets pushed around way to easily on run plays, has some good plays rushing the passer, he is quick and plays fast at times, but does not seem to be much in coverage, if we were in a 4-3 still I would not mind the move but putting him in a 3-4 seems like a waste.
Datone Jones really stood out on tape, I think Pagano would love having him on this team, and with all the injury issues that we had last year on the DL and knowing Moala's contract is only 1 year and Redding is getting up there, I don't think this would be too bad of a pickup plus his versatility would allow him to stay on the field in a lot of situations.
Olly, thank you for putting this all together. I think the fact that there are so many different players and positions mocked to the Colts is a reflection of how much talent this team still needs.
If there is absolutely no defensive talent left at #24 (unlikely), I can say I would be happy with the Colts selecting a WR. However, I don't see WR as quite the "gaping hole" as the questionable defense the Colts are looking to field this season. With Heyward-Bey now signed, CB, OLB, DE, and S are all bigger needs in my opinion.
All that being said, Hopkins would be a terrific pick-up and great replacement for Reggie. I like him better than the other players listed above. I just think that a better defensive prospect should be available when it is the Colts' turn to select. Thanks again.
@MarcusDugan did you get a chance to check mine out from yesterday?
I would love to see the Colts take Jarvis Jones if he was available. I know he has the health risks but he produced in college and potentially has top 5 talent. He could become a difference maker and would help the pass rush immediately.
If not I would love to Hopkins drafted. He has solid hands and could be the perfect replacement for 87 when he decided to retire.
If he is still there, I don't see how the Colts can possibly pass on Matt Barkley. With the loss of Cousins, the Colts have to open up the QB competition. And USC QBs are virtual locks to be big time NFL stars.
(In case your eyesight is off, the above was written in sarcasm font.)
@paulcareyjr It's supposed to be a deep draft for pass rushers (I guess, we'll see if that's true, eventually). If you'd like to see some more tape of these guys on the list, Olly put a link to a nice list of YouTube videos in each players' name.
@bradicus18 Thanks for the kind words. I'd expect OLB/DE/CB to be assessed strongly in the first round. A late round safety probably likely.
@bradicus18 I don't think the DHB signing did much to fill the need at WR, not even sure he will be a clear #2 for us if we don't sign a WR.
WR is a big problem, especially if you want to get a guy that can grow with luck over the years...
@bradicus18 I also think 'if' we take a WR at #24 after signing DHB, it says the Colts are not sold on Brazill or Walden as solid options.
@jroehling1018 I haven't yet. I will have to head over to the Horseshoe Review in a few minutes.
@scottkeast There's a chance Jones falls. If he does, then we'd be silly to not consider him. I'm a massive Hopkins fan, would be a great addition, but I wonder whether they'll prioritise something else now we've got DHB.
@DougEngland Sorry it wasn't Cousins it was Kolb, that was Ridiculous :)
@DougEngland Oh... That's the sarcasm font. I think I have only been using the sarcasm font. No wonder nobody takes me seriously.
@paulcareyjr @bradicus18 Definitely still a big need. DHB isn't a long-term solution (at least according to his career path to this point), but having him and Brazill will allow the Colts to pick their next WR later in the draft if they don't think anyone is worth a first rounder. They have the freedom not to reach.
@cwjwl From what I've heard, Brazill could be better than we think. Not sure about Whalen. We have a very small sample of him, and he plays the same position as Hilton. But having DHB will allow them to develop someone for the future, and if someone beats him out for the starting job, it's no big loss.
@bradicus18 @paulcareyjr That's a damn strong case for getting a pass rusher as soon as possible. I'd go so far as to say Grigson might agree with you. I think the fact that they signed a vet WR points toward Grigson and Co being unimpressed with the WR's at the top of the draft, whereas the crop of pass rushers is much deeper. They might be planning on taking one of those OLB/DE's early and getting an athletic, raw receiver in the later rounds who could be great with some fine-tuning and technical skill development.
@MarcusDugan @paulcareyjr This. Unquestionably, WR is still a need. Reggie is 34. However, DHB should be better than Avery, right? If Reggie goes down, I think the Colts can hold together with DHB, Hilton, Brazill, Allen and Fleener.
On the other hand, if Robert (32 by the way) goes down, are you willing to watch the Walden and Hughes show? If Davis goes down, prepare to watch a lot of Toler, Butler and Vaughn getting burned. Even the Colts at full strength are without a #1 CB, in my opinion. Anyone at DE or DT gonna get to the QB? The Colts have some decent guys on defense, but Mathis is the only proven difference maker. I just see a bigger need on that side of the ball.