Who Should Ryan Grigson Select in This Years Draft?
Next week, Colts fans will all be waiting to see what GM Ryan Grigson will do with his limited number of picks in this year NFL draft. Two years ago, Grigson made the Colts transition from a rebuilding team to a Super Bowl contender in one season. Apart from taking Andrew Luck, the consensus number one overall prospect, Grigson was able to find a core group of players to put around him. Colts took Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, and T.Y. Hilton, with the next three picks as well. He also was able to pick up Vick Ballard and LaVon Brazill, who were both able to contribute as role players. However, the 2013 draft was not as successful, while many of the players that were selected are being used for depth, the drafts overall effectiveness cannot be graded as of right noGoing into this years draft, the Colts have a few holes that need to be filled in and unfortunately do not have many picks to use for this years deep draft. Some feel as though the Colts should trade either future, or late round picks to add another second round pick. While that is a valid option, there is still plenty of talent for the Colts to look at in the later rounds
The two biggest needs the Colts need to address or the offensive line, mainly at center, and at safety. Luckily, for the Colts, there are options at both positions in both the second and third round. The Colts have plenty of options with 59th pick, and with Antoine Bethea now in San Francisco, safety is a bigger need than center, even with Phil Costa retiring.
I already touched on who the Colts should take in the second round. And my guess is that they will go with Washing State safety Deone Bucannon, while USC center Marcus Martin will be on the board, Bucannon has more of a chance to start day one and is the bigger need. Bucannon was a combine standout and played at a high level against the powerful Pac-12 offenses. While center is a major need for Indianapolis, Martin has flaws and the Colts should not use their first pick on a player who doesn’t have first-year starter caliber. However, if Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward, or Boise State DE/OLB Demarcus Lawrence, are still on the board, Ryan Grigson will have a tough choice to make with the 59th pick.
For the third round, the Colts should look to further bolster their secondary. The Colts are in need of a big, physical, and athletic corner and the third round has many options for the Colts to look for one to play alongside Vontae Davis. The two favorites are Keith McGill from Utah, and Nebraska product Stanley Jean-Baptiste. Both are 6-3 and have the size and physicality to play in the NFL. Also look for Walt Aikens out of Liberty, while Aikens is two inches shorter, he posses top speed and has shown the ability to jam receivers and the physicality to take on ball carriers.
The Colts no longer have a forth round pick and because of that they will haves to wait until the fifth round to make their next selection. With the 166th pick, the Colts have many options to choose from. Indianapolis lacks an explosive special teams player and someone who can come in as a change of pace either as a slot receive or in the backfield. Speedsters De’Anthony Thomas out of Oregon and Dri Archer from Kent State may still be on the board by the time the Colts pick. While Archer may go earlier after his impressive pro day, some doubt if both prospects can have an impact at the next level due to their size. However the Colts have many weapons for Andrew Luck to use, and adding an athlete with tremendous speed could be a huge asset. On the other side of the ball, the Colts could look to add depth at the linebacker position. Two players that will most likely still be on the board are Shayne Skov out of Stanford and Yawin Smallwood from Connecticut. While both players would be beneficial for Indianapolis, they are different types of players. Skov is more a two down linebacker, with the physicality to be a great run stopper, however lacks good coverage skills. Smallwood is long and athletic, he is not as physical as Skov, however, he has the ability to be a good run stopper as well as an ability to sit back in coverage. Smallwood was asked to cover receivers and tight ends and has an ability to rush the quarterback.
In the sixth round I expect the Colts to finally add to their offensive line. While there is a hole at center, there are still quality centers available in free agency and there are centers available in the late rounds. Two viable options are Boise State tackle/guard Charles Leno and Ohio State center Corey Linsley. Leno is an athletic prospect who started every game the last three seasons, Leno has the ability to play multiple positions on the offensive line, however, he needs to get stronger if he wishes to have a successful NFL career. Linsley on the other hand is the opposite, the Ohio State center is strong and has enough mobility and athleticism to stay in front of pass rushers. Both need to get better and could develop into started at the next level.
It is difficult to determine who the Colts could select in the 7th round. One option available is a possible replacement for Adam Vinatieri, while Pat McAfee has expressed that he wishes to take over both kicking and punting duties, there should at least be another leg on the roster. Rice kicker Chris Boswell is the top kicker, he posses NFL distance range and has shown their ability to produce in clutch situations. There are other options that the Colts could decide to address however, the Colts know that Adam Vinatieri won’t be around for much longer.