2011 Colts draft
The Colts have got to do a much better job at drafting this year if they want to make the playoffs in 2011. I think the biggest needs for Colts are OL, secondary, return game, and DT. Plus lets hope, the Colts can get some more production from DE Jerry Hughes, WR Anthony Gonzalez, G Jacques McClendon, and CB Kevin Thomas this season.
My realistic 3 round mock:
1st round prospects:
1. OT Nate Solder, Colorado. Seems to fit the Colts system. A very good pass blocker. Decent run blocker. Has good foot speed for a man of his size.
2. OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin. A tough run blocker that will more than likely be a RT in the NFL. Bill Polian likes Big 10 players, so this seems like a possibility.
3. FS Rahim Moore, UCLA A speedy ball hawk that led the nation in INTs two years ago.
4. G Stefen Wisniewski, Penn St. He played RG last year for the Nittany Lions. From what I saw of SW, he did a very good job at pushing the pile. Last year, I remember coach Jon Gruden raving about his run blocking skills.
5. Mike Pouncey, Florida. People say he is not his brother, but still is a solid OL.
2nd round prospects:
1. OT Marcus Gilbert, Florida. A solid tackle that is battle tested after playing in the SEC.
2. CB Ras I-Dowling, Virginia. A tall physical corner thats in the mold of ex Colt, Marlin Jackson. Dowling, missed most of last year with a leg injury.
3. CB Brandon Burton, Utah. A good sized corner from the Mountain West that displayed good cover skills from what I saw.
4. S Jaiquawn Jarrett, Temple. A buddy of mine who is an actual ref for the MAC football conference says this guy is unknown but is very good. I will take his word for it and this is a possibility since Indy loses secondary players year after year.
5. G Rodney Hudson, Florida St. Considerd one the better guards in the country last year. From what I saw of him on film, his feet look good and he can run block.
6. WR Torrey Smith, Maryland. I am only throwing this name out there because we all know Polian likes his Wide receivers.
7. G Clint Boling, Georgia. A good run blocking guard from the SEC.
8. WR/KR Randall Cobb. We all know Bill Polian loves wide receivers. Plus everybody in Colts country knows our kick return game stinks. Do not be suprised if the Colts take this Brad Smith (Jets) type of player to help the special teams.
9. DT Drake Nevis. A smallish but quick DT in the mold of Amobi Okoye (Texans).
10. OLB Bruce Carter. A great athlete and is very fast.
Round 3 prospects:
1. DT Jerell Powe, Ole Miss
2. SS Tyler Sash, Iowa
3. G John Moffitt, Wisconsin
4. SS Ahmad Black, Florida
5. OT/RT James Carpenter, Alabama
6. DT Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson
Who I think the Colts will draft:
1 OT Nate Solder, Colorado..Peyton needs better protection.
2 WR Randall Cobb, Kentucky. The Colts need HELP in the special teams department. The team average start position last year was at the 22 yard line.
3. SS Tyler Sash, Iowa. With Melvin Bullitt being a Free agent, Sanders is gone, I definately see a safety being drafted within the first three rounds.
I would be rooting for the lockout if the draft turns out like this. Solder's terrible, round 2 is far too high to draft a K/PR (sorry Bears fans, but it's the truth), and Sash isn't exactly Sanders. My realistic Colts mock:
22) OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin - If he lasts until 22, he's a Colt. Some think he's a RT only, but I definitely see the skillset of an LT in him, and it's not every draft you can grab an Outland Trophy winner this late in the draft.
Alternate Pick(s): OT Derek Sherrod, OT Tyron Smith - The Colts are going to draft a prospect they feel is capable of playing LT in the NFL here, and IMO these three are the best bets to be able to do that in the draft. Sherrod may be the most NFL ready of the bunch, and if Carimi is off the board by then, he's the guy I see as next on the Colts board. Smith, on the other hand, is unlikely to be there, but would be my first choice, and I wouldn't be surprised if Polian felt the same.
53) OT Marcus Cannon, TCU - Let's face it, the Colts OL needs an overhaul desperately. Cannon is an amazing talent with the agility and explosion of Castonzo...with an additional 50 lbs. of bulk to push people around. He has the talent to play LT, but he'll still be effective at RT or OG. Getting a bookend set of tackles out of the first two rounds would be an excellent haul.
Alternate Pick(s): OG Rodney Hudson, OT Ben Ijalana, OT James Carpenter - Again, the Colts OL needs an overhaul. Hudson has the capability to convert to C, while Ijalana and Carpenter are two more guys who have the athleticism and ability to play LT, but could thrive at RT or OG as well. With any two of the seven listed so far, the Colts will have upgraded their OL considerably.
87) S Jaiquawn Jarrett, Temple - Bob Sanders is gone, Melvin Bullitt is competent, but doesn't exactly inspire confidence as a starter, especially if the team is one injury away from Aaron Francisco again. Enter Jarrett, a playmaking enforcer at Temple who should be able to step in and start alongside Bethea from Day 1. If his instincts translate well, he could be a star.
Alternate Pick(s): DT Jurrell Casey, DT Terrell McClain, OT Marcus Gilbert, S Ahmad Black - This class is extremely talented at DL, and I think Polian would have a hard time leaving guys like Casey and McClain on the board if they're available here, Gilbert is an awesome RT/OG prospect who would continue the OL project, and Ahmad Black is that player in this draft whose measurables almost make you cringe, but when you pop in tape of him, you see a leader and an effective player.
119) OC Brandon Fusco, Slippery Rock - What OL overhaul is complete without a new C? A lot of people would say/want Bartholomew here, and while I wouldn't be disappointed with that, at this point in the draft the small school sleepers tend to boom more often, and Polian likes to take those chances, plus what I saw of him indicates he translates to the next level.
Alternate Pick(s): OC Ryan Bartholomew, OT Lee Ziemba, OT Jah Reid, OT Joseph Barksdale, WR Vincent Brown, S Jeron Johnson - The Colts should be looking to upgrade their OL throughout the draft, and Bartholomew, Ziemba, Reid, and Barksdale have the raw talent to do that at one position or another with the proper coaching. Brown has excellent hands and route running skills, and fits the profile of a Colts WR perfectly, it would not at all shock me to see the Colts pick him up. Johnson is another S who could probably walk in and win the starting SS job from Bullitt.
152) DT Karl Klug, Iowa - One of those picks that would make almost every Colts fan shake their head, Klug is an intriguing player who at the very least could do a better job than Dawson/Foster at the DE/DT role in this defense, and if developed properly, could turn into a quality 3 tech. It never hurts to have high motor defenders who are always around the ball on your defense.
Alternate Pick(s): OT Derek Newton, RB Derrick Locke, WR Denarius Moore - Newton is my sleeper in this draft, he looks to have the requisite skillset to play LT, plus he's a small school kid, and Polian tends to gamble and win on those types. Locke is Cobb without the name recognition as far as K/PR is concerned, and he's a pretty solid RB as well. Moore is a guy who could end up being a quality starter with the proper development at the next level.
188) WR Ricardo Lockette, Fort Valley State - A small school WR with a good HWS ratio at the end of the draft. Why not?
Alternate Pick(s): DT Zach Clayton, DT Ollie Ogbu, S Colin Jones, S Mark LeGree - All of these players are potential guys who need coaching and refinement, but could shine at the next level with it.
I would bet almost anything that the Colts do not take Nate Solder. One, it's far too popular of a pick and two, the Colts need someone who can protect Peyton's blindside now, not in 3 years. That leaves Sherrod, Carimi, and Smith as the only viable 1st round options for LT IMO.
Think my ideal mock is:
1) Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
2) Orlando Franklin, OT, Miami
3) John Moffitt, OG, Wisconsin
4) Sione Fua, DT, Stanford
5) Vincent Brown, WR SD state
6) Willie Smith OT, ECU
Liuget in the first along with Fua in the fourth gives us a stronger presence inside. Liuget & Moala as 3-techs with Freeney & Mathis on the edge should be very effective. Fua's an undersized 3-4 nose tackle, so should be able to hold the middle in a 4-3.
Franklin's a RT, so we leave LT generally un-adressed, but with Franklin and Moffitt on the right side of the line, it should help the run game quite a bit. If we can get the rushing offense to be a legitimate option, should make Peyton's life that much easier.
Vincent Brown is hopefully able to be a good #2 receiver. He's on the slow side, but is very good at adjusting to the ball if it's not on target and has very good hands.
Willie Smith is a guy I like in the late rounds. He's a converted tight end that still needs a lot of technique work to become a starter. I think of him as a Nate Solder, but with average measurables. But in the 6th round, taking a project LT isn't a huge price. If he puts it together in an off-season or two, he's a bargain, if we take a true LT next year, he can be good depth.
There is no next year to wait on the LT position. That is the one position that needs to upgrade on this team now for it to be a championship contender. DT is not that big of a need, so if Liuget was changed to, say, Smith, Carimi, or Sherrod, that's a nice draft.
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