Ryan Grigson and his staff are at a key point in their second off season with the Indianapolis Colts. Not much was expected from them last year when they came in green and without much cap space and turned that into an 11-5 season and a playoff berth. Those expectations will be sky-high heading into next season.
A big reason for the Colts' success this season was the effectiveness of last year's draft class. The Colts procured six players who started games out of last year's 10 picks.
The Colts' scouts and staff have been in Mobile, AL this week watching Senior Bowl practices. Their observations will be even more important in this draft as the Colts are picking 24th instead of first. Ryan Grigson will have to make use of his draft board to prioritzed players even more so this season.
The Colts' needs along the offensive line are obvious, but based on what they did last year, don't expect Grigson to pass on a player he thinks can help the team immediately at another position if he's available. Yes, the Colts need starters, particularly on the interior of the offensive line, but they also need quality depth almost everywhere.
Here are some players playing in today's game (3:00 p.m. on NFL Network) who could be wearing the horseshoe next fall.
DJ Fluker- Alabama Fluker had some pass protection issues this season, but is possibly the best run blocker available. He has versatility, something the Colts value. He's projected more as a guard in the NFL, but could play right tackle opposite Anthony Castonzo.
Kyle Long- Oregon Long is the son of Hall of Famer Howie Long and brother of the Rams' Chris Long. Originally a defensive end, he's very athletic and, well, long at 6'7". His feet and reach make him a great pass blocker, but he exelled at Oregon in blocking in their running game.
Jonathan Cooper- North Carolina Cooper could be gone by 24. His stock is rising that fast. Cooper produced on the field in the Tar Heels' running game, but scouts question his size (6'3", 295 lbs.) as an NFL guard. He does have some experience at center.
Barrett Jones- Alabama Jones' linemate Chance Warmack will probably be gone by 24, which is why he's not listed here. Jones is Mr. Versatility, having started at tacke, guard and center for Alabama. Some might consider him a reach in the first round, but he probably won't be there when the Colts pick again in round three.
Alex Okafor- Texas Okafor could be the perfect replacement for the departing Dwight Freeney. He's got the perfect build and motor for a 3-4 rush OLB. He's consistent and had a penchant for making big plays in college.
It's a down year for defensive backs. It's doubtful any player is worthy of the Colts taking in the first round. There are a number of players, however, who project as good investments in the third and fourth rounds. We'll watch the play of the defensive backfield today and look for players who stand out. This is where some of these players who are ranked similarly could start to make names for themselves and help their draft stock.Tags: Football, Indianapolis, Indianapolis Colts, NFL, Senior Bowl
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