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Analyzing Each Colts Positional Need For The 2017 NFL Draft

Posted Apr 27, 2017

Intro: The Colts head into Thursday's NFL Draft with seven selections in the first five rounds. What is the positional outlook for the Colts going into the draft?


INDIANAPOLIS – In NFL Draft terms, when supply meets demand for a given team that’s a very good thing.

That could be said for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017.

Here’s a position-by-position look, with a “Kevin Bowen 1-to-10 need scale” at how things stack up for the Colts going into the draft:

  • Quarterback (Draft Need Scale-1): This obviously isn’t a need for the Colts. Chris Ballard would like to bring in another quarterback at some point this offseason, but the undrafted free agent route is probably the more likely avenue in taking care of that desire. With Scott Tolzien and Stephen Morris on the roster, the Colts have capable throwers behind a limited Andrew Luck this offseason.

  • Running Back (Draft Need Scale-8): Running back is one of several positions where the supply meets the demand for the Colts. By all accounts, the running back group is very deep in 2017. Jim Irsay has mentioned taking a running back in the later rounds. The Colts do have three fourth-round picks and another in the fifth round. Drafting a running back in 2017 would be a name that might see spot duty in his first season, before potentially being the feature back in 2018, as Frank Gore enters a contract year at the age of 34.

  • Wide Receiver (Draft Need Scale-3): If a wide receiver is taken over the next three days, he’s going to be in a heated battle just to make the roster. The signing of Kamar Aiken has already made the wide receiver position one of the deepest on the team. In Mock Drafts, we aren’t seeing much attention for wideouts going in the top half of the first round.

  • Tight End (Draft Need Scale-6): The need at tight end isn’t “must draft”, but the talent at tight end could force the Colts into taking one. Chris Ballard says this tight end class might be the deepest he’s seen in 16 years of scouting. Chuck Pagano loved what he saw out of the tight ends at this year’s Combine. Taking a tight end with one of those seven picks would make plenty of sense given how much Jack Doyle and Erik Swoope are already expected to play.

  • Offensive Line (Draft Need Scale-5): Last year, the draft need scale on the offensive line would be a definite ‘10.’ The 2017 offensive line group is not very deep. With the Colts drafting four linemen last year, the need is not there to have to take a lineman or two. Chris Ballard has not ruled out taking one though, as the offensive line is always a position he’s going to fall back on if he needs to break a tie between a couple of prospects. Would a later-round swing tackle (i.e. Joe Haeg 2.0) satisfy one more body up front for the Colts?

  • Defensive Line (Draft Need Scale-4): With the signing of Johnathan Hankins, the Colts have really solidified the makeup of their defensive line. If roster cuts were tomorrow, there would be some very tough decisions to make on who makes the team along the defensive line. Like offensive line, the defensive line area is a spot Chris Ballard has as one of his core positions in every draft.

  • Outside Linebacker (Draft Need Scale-9): In free agency, the Colts brought in three outside linebackers all 27 or younger. Going out the door were three outside linebackers all north of 31. The Colts have gotten much younger at OLB, but that pure pass rusher is still missing. You don’t find those sorts of talents in free agency. That’s why this draft need scale is so high. The outside linebacker group has caught Chris Ballard’s eye and if the right rusher is there early in the draft, it would be very hard to say no to such a talent.

  • Inside Linebacker (Draft Need Scale-7): Chuck Pagano views the inside linebacker starting spots as wide open. Antonio Morrison and Edwin Jackson return. Veteran Sean Spence and Jon Bostic were brought over in free agency. The Colts could certainly use another body to throw into the mix there. The addition of Johnathan Hankins certainly should aid things for the ILBs. Finding a rookie who could be the man in the middle of the defense for the next 5-to-10 years is a possibility out of this draft.

  • Cornerback (Draft Need Scale-10): No higher need from a quantity/quality standpoint than the cornerback position. Behind Vontae Davis, who is in a contract year this season, the Colts have no corners who have been full-time starters in this league. Both Chuck Pagano and Chris Ballard have lauded the cornerback class for 2017. Pagano has thrown out the idea of taking two corners in the draft, which should be no surprise to fans if it indeed does happen this week.

  • Safety (Draft Need Scale-4): On paper, the Colts have three safeties expected to play a lot in 2017 (Clayton Geathers, Darius Butler and T.J. Green). So, this isn’t as big a need as we saw in 2015 and 2016. Having said that, Chris Ballard puts the safety talent in this year’s draft right up there with the tight ends. Ballard believes this is the deepest the safety group has looked, at all levels of the draft, since his NFL scouting began 16 years ago.

 

The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.

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