Well I can’t say I’m surprised at the move although I thought they would have gone a different route. In case you have not heard yet, the Colts went with a defensive end, 6′ 3″, 257 pound Jerry Hughes out of TCU in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night.
I did think that the offensive line would have been their top priority; I would have been surprised to see the Colts go with a linebacker in the first round, but stranger things have happened.
This pick make sense though. Without Robert Mathis on the other side of Dwight Freeney keeping offensive lines honest, the speed rusher would have disappeared from the NFL landscape faster than Warren Sapp did after he signed with the Raiders. A former running back, Hughes made the transition to defensive end when he went to college. A first team All-American, Hughes was a standout player on a team that allowed only 233 yards a game and just over 12 points. After a 12-1 finish during the regular season they went to their first BCS bowl game (the Fiesta Bowl which they dropped to Boise State, 17-10).
Like Mathis and Freeney, he is a smaller guy which will make his ability to defend the run suspect. However, in a league where passing is becoming the norm (and with one of the best passing teams on the schedule twice in the Houston Texans) guys like Hughes definitely have a place. If the Colts happen to resign Mathis that will just give the team depth at a valuable position.