INDIANAPOLIS –Mel Kiper, Jr.’s history as an ESPN draft analyst extends the entire tenure of the Colts in the city of Indianapolis.
With the draft being pushed back a couple of weeks this year (May 8-10), that means we will see more and more of Kiper and other draft pundits over the next three months.
Kiper hosted a conference call last week and shared his thoughts on some of the deeper position groups in the 2014 class.
He also even offered a breakdown of some the needs he believes the Colts should address with their picks.
Here’s three takeaways from Kiper’s conference call:
-Kiper’s Thoughts On The Colts: Kiper began talking about the depth at the receiver position when offering his assessments of the Colts. The bulk of his Colts thoughts though centered on the interior of the offensive line.
“I don’t think you’re going to have an offensive lineman interior wise go in the first,” Kiper said on the call.
“It’s going to be all tackles. Gabe Jackson (Guard, Mississippi St.), David Yankey (Guard, Stanford), Xavier Su’a-Filo (Guard, UCLA), Brandon Thomas (Guard, Clemson), Russell Bodine (Center, North Carolina), Weston Richberg (Center, Colorado St.), Marcus Martin (Center, USC).
“There’s a lot of center/guards in the second and third round that can certainly help the Indianapolis Colts do a better job of protecting
Kiper also mentioned the secondary where he likes the cornerback depth (a lot of talent in the second and third rounds) but believes the safety depth is “very average” and he doesn’t see “great safeties lasting until the middle rounds this year."
-How’s The Wide Receiver Depth?: Kiper was very high on what he’s seen from the depth at the wide receiver position in the 2014 class.
He sees six-to-eight wide receivers going in the first round. Kiper was also quick to point out that with 19 underclassmen at the receiver position, teams can wait a little bit on finding a playmaker on the outside.
“A lot these kids are underclassmen so you have to be conservative,” Kiper said. “They have to test well to be a legitimate first round pick.”
Some receivers that Kiper mentioned as potential first round guys includes Marqise Lee (USC), Kelvin Benjamin (Florida St.), Odell Beckham Jr. (LSU), Davante Adams (Fresno St.), Brandin Cooks (Oregon St.) and Jarvis Landry (LSU).
-On All The Underclassmen Declaring: A record 98 underclassmen have declared for the NFL Draft. To put that in perspective, there were 97 total picks in the first three rounds of last year’s draft.
“A lot of it has to do with injury concerns,” Kiper said of the common theme among the underclassmen.
Kiper pointed to several quarterbacks who came out early in 2014 even though they could have seen their stock rise significantly with another year in school.
“A lot of these other kids looked at last year’s draft, that it wasn’t super strong in terms of depth. They figured let’s come in this year and let’s certainly not worry about going back and risking injury. I think the injury factor more than anything is the reason these guys leave early, some of whom didn’t even have great years are leaving early.”