Welcome to "What to Expect 2013". For the next week or so, I'll be looking at the positions the Colts drafted relative to their historic counterparts.
The goal of this series is to set reasonable expectations for the new draft picks based how similarly drafted players in the past decade performed.
This allows us to create fair baselines by which to judge players. The purpose of this series is not to predict performance. The goal is merely to fairly judge rookie seasons
The Colts drafted UT-Martin defensive tackle Montori Hughes in the fifth round. They traded a 2014 fourth-round pick for the rights to select him.
Since 2007, there have been 30 defensive tackles taken in the fifth round. About half of them (13) played in at least half their team's games in their rookie season.
Only eight of the 30 earned a start, however, and only two started more than six games.
The best performance of the bunch came from Pernell McPhee in 2011 who had six sacks.
Of the 30, only about five or six have had what you'd call successful NFL careers.
Aubrayo Franklin and Mookie Johnson both fall in that category. You can also throw in Brian Young who played nine years and had 22.5 career sacks for the Rams and Saints. Rocky Bernard is an 11-year vet with 33 sacks. McPhee has only been in the league two years, but has 7.5 sacks.
The best player of the bunch might be Kyle Williams, the only one to make a Pro Bowl. He's had 18.5 sacks in seven seasons in Buffalo.
So, Indy's odds of getting a Pro Bowl player stand at less than five percent and their odds of getting a decent Mookie Johnson level starter are around one in five.
With Josh Chapman, Franklin and Johnson, Indy has three of the 30 players on their roster currently (Note: Johnson has been released). Since 1984, the Colts have had 56 rookie defensive tackles taken from any round (including undrafted free agents). 30 of them played in at least 8 games in their rookie season. Nine of them started at least eight times.
Jon Hand had the best rookie season of the crew, posting five sacks and 82 tackles in 15 starts. 25 of them had at least one sack and 23 had 10 tackles.
Eight games played, one start, one sack and 10 tackles would put Hughes in the top 10 for tackles drafted in the fifth round.
Really, any contribution at all would be a big plus for Indianapolis. Event those modest numbers would easily place Hughes in the top half of all rookie tackles to play for the Colts since 1984.
Long term, there's little change Hughes becomes a Pro Bowl-caliber player, and the odds are low that he becomes a regular starter. However, given the fact that Indy already has two such players on their roster, perhaps he landed in the right place.
I am a faculty member at UT-Martin and will say Hughes handled the competition at the OVC level - not sure how that will translate to the NFL - the problem he had here was he probably over played (too many snaps) not enough rest - think he might be able to contribute in a rotational system - he knows he can go all out for a down or two and then go to the sideline for a down or two - the Colts have basically 2 rookie nose tackles that slipped to the 5th round - Chapman for injury and Hughes for other reasons - hopefully they will both stick and get some playing time - hope Hughes makes it - I think he has the talent it is just a matter of work ethic and doing what the coaches need him to do - he was smart enough to be polite - some are not
Nate, I get what you're doing with these articles, but you have to admit that using statistics to display expectations is futile. There are way too many variables involved. If you went back in time a year and did this article on TY, Ballard, or even Allen, the only thing we'd learn is that we shouldn't expect much. Personally, I'd prefer your take on the actual player, his history, performance against quality opposition, etc.
@smonroe I did do articles on those guys. I do them every year.
Then in January, I go back and review if the player met or failed to meet expectations.
It's freaky how often a guy lands right on the numbers.
The point is that too often guys get labeled as "disappointments" when in reality, they were exactly what fans should have expected.
This gives you a range of what's possible.
I think if Hughes had an 8 game, 1 sack, 10 tackle season, fans will call him a bust in year one.
In actuality, that would be a fantastic first year for a guy in his draft slot.
@Nate Dunlevy @smonroe Great point Nate. To often we as fans expect all our draft picks to be starters or solid contributors, but in reality a large percentage of picks never really perform in the NFL at a high level. I've decided that it's better to judge drafts as a whole (IE if your 7th round pick turns into a good player, that covers for a 2nd round pick who failed to become a good player...) I don't lump UFAs in as that's just a crapshoot and I don't really give GMs much credit when they end up being really good. If the GMs thought they'd be pro bowlers they would have drafted them in the first. I do believe certain teams have more of an institutional control to give UFAs a real chance. Bah, now i'm just rambling to avoid work....
Someone always beats the odds. This kid has the tools, he just needs hard work. I think there's a strong possibility Hughes is a regular inside by mid season. With Franklin and a healthy Chapman, Indy should have the "beef' it needs to shut down the run for the first time in years.
In which case, you'll know that this was a steal of a pick that late in the draft given what is normally expected at that point from this position.
Um, Nate buddy, have you seen the way that Hughes mandhandled the Tennessee Tech offensive line?
And as Marcus cited earlier this week, he "moves like a cat."
@DougEngland I hope he does the same to the Tennessee Tits offensive line and the rest of our opponents, but until then, I'll temper my expectations and hope for someone who can provide NT depth.