The break in activity on the NFL lockout front gives us time to catch our Blue breaths and continue reviewing the changes that have taken place during the off-season. Today, I want to take a quick look at the Colts’ 2011 draft picks and see where they might fit in with this year’s team. Here they are, in order of selection.
Anthony Castonzo, OT, 1st Round (22 overall)
Castonzo was expected to take over left tackle duties almost immediately, but the team recently said that won’t happen for awhile, thanks to the lockout. As a late first-round pick, he won’t break the bank, but the sooner he can play at a high level, the better.
Ben Ijalana, OL, 2nd Round (49 overall)
Ijalana will probably be groomed at right tackle, though he could shift in to guard. Either way, he will not be a starter immediately, either. If things work out right, though, Ijalana and Castonzo should see Peyton Manning through to the end of his playing days.
Drake Nevis, DT, 3rd Round (94 overall)
The Colts have struggled on the D-line in recent years, and Nevis could help plug the holes that make running against Indy such an enticing proposition. His presence could also make it less likely that the Colts pursue a DT in free agency, particularly given the NFL’s new, tighter salary cap.
Delone Carter, RB, 4th Round (119 overall)
Carter is usually described as a punishing runner who is adept at picking up short yardage. He complements Joseph Addai and Donald Brown well and probably makes Dominic Rhodes expendable.
Chris Rucker, CB, 6th Round (188 overall)
He’s not Nnamdi Asomugha, but then, who is? As a sixth-round gamble, Rucker is probably worth the shot, as he showed himself to be a very physical DB in college at Michigan State.
Some of these guys, notably Castonzo and maybe Carter, will be expected to contribute at some point this year, and they will have to if this team wants to be playing into the early months of 2012. Let’s hope everyone in Indy is happy next February.