>\n\nWorst to First: 31. Indianapolis Colts \n\n\n\n

Worst to First: 31. Indianapolis Colts

Written by Ben Morgan on 04/22/2010

One man does not make a team. And that's true but the Indianapolis Colts come pretty close to disproving it. Despite a poor offensive line, a stunted run game, inexperenced WRs and a defense that gives up a lot of yards the Colts keep winning. Until the big game. The Superbowl was one step too far this year but as long as Manning is under Center the Colts have a chance. And it's not all bad. The run game will look much better if they can fix the Offensive Line. So will Manning (which is a scary thought) and if the Colts can shore up their run defense their speedy defenders are going to be able to make a lot of plays. So, this is a team that with some improvements could be just impossible to beat. But picking at the end of the first round of the draft you have to be really smart about who you pick. What do we think the Colts will do? Well let's take a look.

2010 Free Agent Losses 2010 Free Agent Additions
Hank Baskett WR (Eagles,RFA), Aaron Francisco SS (Panthers,RFA), Marlin Jackson CB (Eagles,RFA), Tim Jennings CB (Bears,RFA), Ryan Lilja G (Chiefs,UFA-cut), Jim Sorgi QB (Giants,UFA-cut)

Andy Alleman OG (Chiefs,UFA), Adam Terry T (Ravens,RFA)
2010 Unsigned Free Agents 2011 Potential Free Agents
Antoine Bethea FS (RFA), Daniel Federkeil T (RFA), Tyjuan Hagler OLB (RFA), Antonio Johnson DT (RFA), Charlie Johnson T (RFA), Freddy Keiaho MLB (RFA),  T.J. Rushing CB (RFA), Chad Simpson RB (UFA-cut), Matt Stover K (UFA), Michael Toudouze OT (RFA)

Joseph Addai RB (RFA), Ervin Baldwin DL (XRFA), Melvin Bullitt SS (RFA),Keyunta Dawson DL (RFA), Kyle DeVan OG (RFA), Eric Foster DL (RFA), Roy Hall WR (RFA), Antonio Johnson DL (RFA), Charles Johnson OT (UFA), Daniel Muir DL (RFA), Mike Pollak C (RFA), Gijon Robinson TE (RFA), Clint Session LB (RFA), Jamie SiIva DB (RFA), Tony Ugoh OT (UFA), Adam Vinatieri K (UFA), Robert Mathis

Quarterbacks Minimal Need
OK so Peyton Manning means there's no need for a Quarterback early right? Well kinda. Time flies and the NFL stands for Not For Long. At 34 Manning probably has years left in him. Despite a pretty poor OL in front of him now he still takes very few sacks and hits becuase of his prodigiously fast (and good) decision making. But you can't go on forever and if watching Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre could teach the Colts anything, that's to plan early. Which brings me to Cutis Painter. I don't think a decade on the sideline is going to turn Painter into a franchise QB. Solid backup? Maybe. But not yet. Not that you really need a backup in Indy, except for Week 17 when Peyton doesn't usually have to play! Which brings me round nicely to Tim Tebow. Now I'm not going to say the Colts should, or will draft him, but.... Indy would be about the most perfect situation for him. He's not going to be needed for 3 or so years and he's going to need all that time to become an NFL QB I think. But talk about a good example of how you get to be so good to learn from. You work your guts out and spend every waking moment watching film and studying. So, I don't think it's too likely to happen... just sayin. They could definitely do with a solid backup now Jim Sorgi has departed but they can probably find a good development type later on. John Skelton has the tools but maybe not the head, yet. But again, great situation for him to land in. For most teams not having a backup QB would be a Minor Need in these writeups. For the Colts, it's only going to be Minimal because they're just never needed and having taken so few hits Manning probably still has a lot of years to play in this league.

Runningbacks Minimal Need
Well now here's a tough one. The Colts have 2 RBs in Jospeh Addai and Donald Brown (last year's first rounder). They're both young and both very talented. So why do the Colts have a godawful 3.5 yards per carry? Well you've got to look up front. I'm confident if the Colts could run block these guys are capable of muuuch better play. But if there's no holes, you won't be getting many yards. Not much need here but Donald Brown needs to do more to justify his draft position. Addai can still find the endzone even with lousy blocking, he will be a free agent next year, that's the only thing worth considering I think. The Colts don't really run that much anyway.

Wide Receivers No Need
When you've got a QB who can make Pierre Garcon look like Anquan Boldin it probably doesn't make too much difference who your WRs are but Reggie Wayne is a good bet for 90+ catches and 1300 yards every year. He'd probably get a lot more yards if he ran as tough as Garcon after the catch too. The end of Marvin Harrison's career and the loss to injury of Anthony Gonzalez (the other one) gave Garcon and rookie Austin Collie the exposure to get on the field and make plays. With Gonzalez healthy again and no-one up for free agency in 2011 this is a no brainer No Need. Unless Peyton gets injured, then we'll see how good these WRs actually are.

Tight Ends Minor Need
Dallas Clark doesn't get the exposure and press of guys like Antonio Gates but take a look at what he did last year. Kind of Gateslike huh? He is 30 but it seems like he's just entered his prime so don't expect it to drop off any time soon. Obviously there's not many other catches to go around when Clark gets 93 of them but still, there's not much there that gives you confidence if Clark gets hurt. Tom Santi, Jacob Tamme and Gijon Robinson won't worry too many people. So maybe this is a Minor Need for them. Tough to see them using the #31 on a TE, even if Jermaine Gresham or Rob Gronkowski is still there. But maybe in round 3 or 4? A guy like Jimmy Graham might make an interesting project for them. 

Offensive Line Major Need
I'm not going to get too in depth into personnel here. Basically, Jeff Saturday aside, there probably isn't any position on the Colts line that couldn't be upgraded if the right prospect fell to #31. The one exception is probably Jeff Saturday but hey, you can stick Pouncey at Guard for a year or 2 before taking over for Saturday. A lot's going to depend on who slips to them at #31 I would imagine any of the top 6 tackles, Iupati or Pouncey would seriously interest them at #31 but the best guy left on the board at that point may be Roger Saffold who they seem to be linked with pretty often. Saffold would probably star at Guard as a rookie before moving to Tackle. Which is what the Colts used to do a lot. 

Defensive Tackles Minor Need
The Colts have been getting progressively bigger on the DL the past couple of years but they're still pretty awful against the run and could use some more pass rush from the middle as well. In addition half the DL rotation seems due for free agency next year and last year's second rounder Fili Moala is yet to show anything. They have to hope he develops further and guys like Dan Muir and Antonio Johnson are solid players. But could the Colts really pass on a guy like Jared Odrick? Or perhaps even a big run stuffer like Terrence Cody? I realise Cody is the antithesis of Tony Dungy's defense but with over 2000 rushing yards given up last year is asking a lot of the offense to bail you out. Having said that the speed the Colts possess all over their defense means despite a dodgy DL in the run game, they don't let many into the endzone. They have numbers, this season, but not much proven quality. I'm gonna call this a Minor Need based on potential free agency defections last year. Depending on who's left in round 1 (ie if there's no good OL prospects) they could definitely go DT with #31.

Defensive Ends Minor Need
Your starting paring of Freeney and Mathis are amongst the best tandems in the league and racked up something like 24 sacks combined last year, that in spite of missing a few games between them. There's not much depth there, Eric Foster is the most likely to offer some pass rush in a rotation but with Freeney hitting 30 and Mathis not far behind him it's probably time to extend their careers by finding a 3rd pass rushing option. This is probably not the best year for 4-3DE pass rushers so one of the top candidates could slide to the end of round 1, but it may not be that likely. I suspect they're more likely to have to try and coach up a raw recruit later on in the draft.

Linebackers No Need
With Gary Brackett sewn up to a new deal and Clint Session having something of a breakout year the Colts are mostly set at Linebacker. Phillip Wheeler showed some signs of development in the other slot and he should maintain the starting slot and develop further. The coaching staff seem high on his potential. With Freddie Keiaho and Ramon Humber around as well, they've got some decent depth. This is really a No Need position but it never hurts to pick up a LB prospect later on in the draft. They can make their LBs look a lot better by improving the DT position I think.

Cornerbacks Minor Need
The Colts CBs had a pretty rough year with Kelvin Hayden suffering an injury and a myriad of other ailments meant for portions of the season they were starting 2 rookies, 3rd rounder Jerraud Powers and undrafted Jacob Lacey. Yeah they had their bad days and blown plays. But for the most part they performed way ahead of expectations and give the Colts some reason for hope back there. Both should come back better players and Powers should start opposite Hayden this year. Lacey should be a decent Nickel DB but they'll miss the depth of Marlin Jackson and Tim Jennings so they're probably going to need to go shopping for another corner in this draft too. I doubt it's top of their list but it would tough to pass up a Kyle Wilson, Devin McCourty or Kareem Jackson at #31. I would think the 3rd round might be a better place to look as they could do with improving the trenches first.

Safeties Minimal Need
Bob Sanders is a special player when he plays. Which isn't very often these days. Just 8 games in the last 2 years. If the Colts could just get him and rising star Antoine Bethea on the field together and at 100% they could be quite the sight to see. Luckily for the Colts Melvin Bullitt doesn't just have an awesome name, he's a pretty good player in his own right too. He's strictly a strong safety though so any injury to Bethea would leave them sweating on Sanders' health. A backup free safety would be nice but something of a luxury pick.
Specialists Minimal Need
Adam Vinatieri only managed a few games last year due to a knee injury and the Colts chose to use Matt Stover in the playoffs because of a lack of confidence in him. Assuming his knee is fixed up now he's still going to be the Colts kicker in 2010. Pat McAfee's job seems pretty safe too.

Return Game Major Need
They really need a boost here. I'm not sure where it's going to come from but I guess a dude like Dexter McCluster would be a good pick in the mid rounds if he's still there.

Dream Day One
1.31 Bruce Campbell OT Maryland
2.63 Cam Thomas DT North Carolina
Player Visits
Jerry Hughes LB TCU
Sean Lee LB Penn State
Corey Peters DT Kentucky Deji Karim RB Southern Illinois


Last Edited: 04/14/2010

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