INDIANAPOLIS – It was a newsier NFL Combine than usual for the Indianapolis Colts.
One of the busier weeks of the offseason was taken up a notch for the host team.
With the Combine closing its doors on Monday, here's a look back on five takeaways for the Colts.**
Free Agency Caution**
There's little time to rest for personnel departments. With the Combine ending Monday, free agency is now less than 72 hours away.
Chris Ballard, who met the media last Wednesday at the Combine, is throwing up a yellow flag before fans get too spend-happy with the team's more than $50 million in cap space.
The Colts are going to make moves, but Ballard spoke to the "fear" in free agency of making sure the right fit (scheme and locker room wise) comes when inking a contract.
Ballard used Frank Gore as the ideal example for the type of free agent he wants for the Colts.
Just because the Colts have the seventh most cap space of any NFL team this offseason, that doesn't equate to guaranteed spending.
It's going to be a very interesting next week or so to see how active the Colts are in re-signing their own, and also making move(s) on the open market.**
Youth And Speed**
Chuck Pagano's turn to meet the media at the Combine came last Thursday.
The head coach drew a parallel to last month's Super Bowl, handing out a compliment to how the Atlanta Falcons have been built.
Through contributing draft picks, and speed, the Falcons were minutes away from capturing Super Bowl LI last month.
Implementing youth and more speed is how Pagano believes the Colts need to go about the 2017 offseason, especially on defense.
A couple of other tidbits from Pagano and Ballard talking this past week:
-No public timeline for Andrew Luck's return to the field
-A starting offensive line beginning to emerge with OTAs next month?**
Draft Order Finalized**
More than 17,000 people tuned into the Colts' live stream of last Friday's coin toss to decide the team's draft order.
The Vikings won the toss, slotting the Colts in the 15th overall draft position for Round One.
Selecting 15th overall will be the second highest draft pick the Colts have had since 2002.
April's NFL Draft will see the Colts have seven total picks, including five in the first four rounds.
The official draft order for the Colts can be found here.**
Colts Like Draft Depth**
In listening to general managers talk throughout Combine week, the draft depth appears to match up with exactly what the Colts are looking for in 2017.
Heavy on defense and running back. Light on the offensive line.
A year after taking four offensive linemen with their eight draft picks, the Colts aren't really in the need for a bunch of bodies up front. That's good, because the GMs talking last week weren't too high on the trench draft depth for the O-line.
Defensively, particularly at outside linebacker and cornerback, is where the depth lies in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The running back group is another area where GMs were gushing last week.
Add it all up and its good news on the draft front for what the Colts will be trying to acquire come late April.**
Staying Home For Training Camp**
For the first time in Indianapolis team history, the Colts will be staying home for Training Camp.
The trend around the NFL has seen more and more teams elect to camp at home. Last year, 19 of 32 teams decided to stay home for camp.
The Colts are going to join that group in 2017, after 30-plus years in Terre Haute and Anderson.
Of the many pros for a team to stay at their own facility for camp, the ability to have practice indoors, during an unpredictable Indiana summer weather, is near the top of the list.
The Colts will hold two practices off-site, both open to the public.
Look for Training Camp to start in late July. The team's offseason program will begin on April 17.
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