Nate is at it again and his time he's got a full seven round mock draft for the Colts including some names high on my list. I'm particularly fond of his second and third round picks although I doubt they both are available at those spots:
34th (second) - Coby Fleener, TE, Standford
Again, I've said my peace on this one, too. The Colts have obvious defensive needs, but Fleener could be Dallas Clark 2.0.
64th (third) - Alameda Ta'amu, DT,Washington
The Colts stay in the Pac 10 and pull the nose tackle they desperately need if they hope to covert to a 3-4.
Fleener may last to 34 but I suspect he will not. As the best nose tackle in the draft and a historical propensity to see early runs at that position, I highly doubt Ta'amu is available in the third.
I can however say that I've got my fingers crossed that Nate's vision becomes a reality. They're great picks.
I checked out the poll question about moving up to get Fleener. I was surprised how many fans wanted to trade up to get him. With so many holes to fill it seems like it would be easy to reach too far. He could easily be a superstar in the league, so I get the temptation. Is his telepathic connection to Luck being over-valued here?
@naptown_ninja Oh, to answer your question: I think it's partly just because he was Luck's teammate, but mostly because watching Dallas Clark for so many years has fully informed the Colts fanbase of the benefit of having a good receiving tight end. And he's the closest analogue to what the Colts have noticed has worked over the years.
Personally, before Clark and Tamme were released, I was hoping the front office would consider drafting Dwayne Allen and only releasing Tamme. You'd get a change-up with a TE who could block, seemed a bit tougher getting hit than Fleener (my opinion), could function as an H-back too, and still had damn nice catching ability. But with Clark gone too, that whole calculus has changed; now I'd rather bypass Allen for Fleenor and get that height, speed, and pure receiving ability.
@naptown_ninja As much as I believe Luck will need a good pass-catching TE, I would NOT want Indianapolis to trade up to get him. Trading up is warranted when other pieces are in place *AND* the team can handle the cost in a lost pick the next year. But when a team is rebuilding, losing picks or draft position can be very bad.
Of course, this is situational. *IF* all the good first- and second-round rated picks on the Colts draft board are gone by #34 (hard to imagine how, but I'm drawing a hypothetical here, not making a prediction), then trading out of the second and giving up a pick in a round where we have two (don't we have a pair of fourths this year?) would be defensible.
Granted, the devil's in the details. How in heaven's name could all the good 1st/2nd round values be gone by 34? As a practical matter, that won't happen. But *if* Indianapolis found itself in a situation like that, sure, I could see such a move being justifiable. As a practical matter, though, there would be players there at that point who are worth getting at 34, and I don't see it being a good idea to lose a pick or two this year - or worse yet, our first rounder next year - just to get Fleener. I'd love to have him, but while this team is rebuilding, the picks are far more important than Fleener. He's not so exceptional he warrants losing picks or draft position.
@AJ_ "...while this team is rebuilding, the picks aree far more important than Fleener."
This is where I come down the topic. IF, he's there @34, sure. If he's not, he's not. We could be just as well served with a really good CB or a S at 34.
i really think that we need to stay at the base of what we were made at.. the 4-3 ... we cant just ask freeney and mathis to change
Personally I'm not as high on Ta'amu as most are - seems to me he never motored as hard every single time.
@LovinBlue It's about value to me. We tend to see nose tackles go way before they should. I see some others calling it a "reach." I agree. In fact I tend to agree with the stats that show that nose tackles as a whole tend to be overvalued and thus overpaid.
If the Colts really could get him in the third or later I don't see it as a huge risk. I'd be pretty disappointed to see the Colts reach with 34 to get him.
@coltsauth_todd Stats actually show this? Could you point me at some?
No, it's not that I doubt this. On the contrary, it's something I've personally thought was the case, but have been too lazy to confirm. I'm sorta hoping you can help save me from all the hard work. ;) :D
If I were forced to judge despite not having stats, I'd say there's good reason to believe this is true. Generally, 3-4 NT's do not pass rush; rather, they enable it by sucking up linemen therefore aiding LBs and ends, and helping to hold the line against the run (again, freeing the LBs). They don't actually go after the passer themselves. If there's no decent pass rush, a zero-tech can play the absolute best game possible for that position and still not have much influence on winning; he ultimately needs someone else to penetrate and bring down the passer. He doesn't do it himself unless the QB pulls the ball in and runs, in which case it's right up his alley (or gaps, so to speak). But as Nate's pointed out time and time again, the wins correlation comes with **passing** offense and defense, so it's getting after the QB that's important.
Therefore, the NT logically does not have that much of an influence on being a winning defense.
But then again, it's not like the nose is irrelevant. Again: It's the zero tech's job to make sure he sucks up more than one offensive lineman; that is how the pass rush gets freed up. Without a NT that can do that, the opponents ends up being better able to protect their QB, *AND* you end up being stuck with the disadvantage of your pass rusher coming from behind the line (unless you put those LBs right up there with the front 3... in which case, you potentially give up the middle for the short pass, even if those LB's drop since they won't be keeping the action in front of them. And furthermore, you give up the stated advantage of being able to disguise which LB carries out the rush, and from where). So you do indeed want a big, fat anchor to free those guys up.
But are those big, fat bastards really first or second round talents? Is it really necessary to draft them so darn high?
That's where I start to believe that stats would show NT's are less important and less value than teams tend to place on them. I may be proven wrong in the end, but that's the direction I predict stats would point me in. You see, Wade Phillips' defense manages to run as a 3-4 while having a rather pedestrian-sized DT, and he does it by designing a single-gap type of defense. I'd view *that* as being an argument in favor of the hypothesis.
Want another? Pagano himself talked about the times his hybrid defenses flexed out to a 4-3.
So in the end, induction indicates that nose guys are simply not worth the value some teams place on them.
But at the same time, what is a high draft pick? It's a player with rare characteristics and talent. Well, 3-4 two gappers aren't really about talent as much as effort and size, so you could indeed argue that high round draft picks are proper value for them just based on physical characteristics alone. It's not every day you see a squat 330+, 340+ lb guy who can play the tree trunk. You just ask that they have enough conditioning to last 2 or 3 downs. Anyway, you generally want to spend high draft picks on talent and discipline instead of just physical characteristics, but not all people agree with that; some will be more than willing to take such a prospect on the argument that "you can't coach size". And they'll have a point. So it's not a 100% slamdunk argument that NT's are overvalued, it's just a compelling one for me.
The ultimate answer to all this would be found in objective analysis. If stats exist to either prove or refute this hypothesis ("nose tackles as a whole tend to be overvalued and thus overpaid"), I'd damn well like to see them. If nothing else, such stats would educate me if I were wrong about all this. I don't think I am, but the real test is hard data, not inductive reasoning. Hypotheses can be inductive; fact-backed theory is established via *data*, not just argument.
So anyway, if you've got some links, I'd love to read 'em.
@coltsauth_todd @LovinBlue I think it's a reach because he's not gonna pan out. If they're forced to reach for a 3rd round nose, I'd rather them take Chapman too early. Otherwise, wait until the 5th or 6th and take one of the project NTs like Fangupo or Hicks and then get a stop-gap guy in free agency.
@LovinBlue Neither am I. I saw too many times where he got pushed around 1-on-1. That bodes ill for a position that demands you handle two guys at once. To me, he only looked like a moderate to low end *college* 0-tech, not a high end NFL one. I honestly think he'd be better utilized as a single gap 4-3 1-tech than a 3-4 nose, that's how low I am on his game.
I fully expect some 2-gap defense team to reach for him in the first round, and then get disappointed when he fails to win the job in 2 years. That stems from my perception that people are more enamored of his measuring and weighing in as a squat 6'3", 340+lb player than it does from actually watching his game. Bold prediction, I know, but that's how I feel. I see someone like Brandon Thompson (Clemson) as being a better interior anchor than Ta'amu, and Thompson's not even on the radar as a 3-4 nose. But of the two, Thompson's the one I see who doesn't get pushed around, not Ta'amu.
3rd round value? Maybe... personally, I disagree, but a 3rd round pick isn't as bad a waste as a first or second one. If he falls past the 3rd, I'd actually say "yes, value", but he's definitely not a first rounder in my opinion. Or even a second. At least Nate's pushing him down lower than others who're sounding off on him. That's a bit more rational than some people I've read.
Ta'amu is still showing up as the highest rated nose tackle in the draft according to many pundits. Let 'em reach. BUT...if he is available in the third I think it's a very good value pick simply because it's a stop-gap measure. I'd much prefer the team address this with a higher pick next year if they can wait a year as I don't see any true NT prospects worthy of the 34th pick.
@coltsauth_todd "Let 'em reach".
Heh. Yeah, back when Polian was in charge, I could rest confident that Indianapolis wouldn't reach (regardless of what people say about the Ugoh pick). But with a new regime in... I don't know. I would hope that they'd be smarter, since it's usually owners (the late Al Davis, Dan Snyder...) who do the whole "I think I know better" schtick, but when I start to take comfort in that, I'm reminded of non-owner Matt Millen's time with the Lions.
I have no reason to think Grigson and Pagano would reach and screw up. But until I see a couple of drafts and know how they do things... well, I can't help but be a little apprehensive. It's illogical, but that's part of the price of change: Having to deal with the unknown. We'll see.
@AJ_ @LovinBlue I think that his pure talent and size would make him a good risk in the 3rd round, but I agree that taking him in the 2nd or (god forbid) the 1st round is much too risky given his seeming propensity to take plays off. With a solid coaching staff, I think he could be shaped into a great pro nose, but there's always the problem with players like this of them turning into a Ryan Leaf (minus the scrounging for prescription pills, apologizing and posting bail, and repeat) with tons of potential, but no motivation to live up to it.