INDIANAPOLIS – Mock Draft season is about to receive its first major shakeup of the offseason.
The NFL Combine starts next Tuesday. While the Combine is a major evaluation period for scouting departments all over the NFL, it means even more to the Colts this year.
At the Combine, the Colts will take part in a coin flip to see if they will pick in the No. 14 or No. 15 slot this April.
It's time for another installment of Mock Drafts, with the pundits looking for one particular running back heading to Indianapolis.
Here's a compilation of Mock Drafts:
Analysis: Dwight Freeney is long gone, but now so is Robert Mathis and his 123.5 career sacks. There is no question the Colts need to continue to work on the offensive line, but there simply isn't appropriate value at tackle at this spot in the draft. They also really need a pass-rusher, and McKinley is explosive off the edge.
Analysis: Protecting and supporting Andrew Luck is priority No. 1 for the Colts, but drafting more O-linemen (they picked four last year) isn't the only way to do that. Indy can't bank on RB Frank Gore, who turns 34 in May, to continue to defy the odds. Cook, the No. 8 player on our board, is an explosive runner and a weapon in the passing game. He loves the game, too.
Analysis: The buzz has quieted some on McDowell—he had a frustrating, injury-plagued year and wasn't eligible for the Senior Bowl. But it'll pick back up. He's still a highly mobile defensive lineman built for the mix-and-match fronts of the modern NFL.
Analysis*: *The Colts need an explosive running back; Cook would be a perfect fit with Andrew Luck.
Analysis: New general manager Chris Ballard comes from Kansas City and will instantly be tasked with giving Andrew Luck a supporting cast good enough to make a Super Bowl run. If recent history is any indicator of what works in the NFL, adding a pass-rusher who can scare opposing quarterbacks is first on the list of must-haves. Taco Charlton can be inconsistent, but when he turns his motor on all the way, it's an impressive sight to see. He's long, athletic and has the hips to turn the corner and create issues for offenses. He's more Chandler Jones than Von Miller in terms of body and strength, but at Michigan he has proved to be the type of force off the edge who can wreak havoc on passing downs. With needs across the board, Ballard and his staff could entertain a cornerback or running back here, but giving the defense their own leader and a player to build around should take precedent this offseason.
Analysis: For his first draft as the general manager in Indianapolis, Chris Ballard could go in several directions to improve the Colts. But adding a dynamic runner like Cook would help disguise several concerns on the roster.
Analysis: Some years of bad moves by now former general manager Ryan Grigson, like trading a first-round pick for Trent Richardson and blowing one on Bjoern Werner, are coming back to bite Indianapolis. The Colts have a ton of needs on their talent-deficient roster, including edge rusher, running back, cornerback, defensive line, and more offensive line talent. The defense is in horrible shape, so Indianapolis could take the best defensive player available regardless of position. Jones would make sense because he would upgrade the Colts' pass coverage immediately. In 2016, Jones recorded 39 tackles with six passes broken up, three interceptions and two forced fumbles. He was superb as a cover corner for the Huskies. The 6-foot, 180-pounder finished the year by shutting down Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Jones had an excellent 2015 season as one of the top cornerbacks in the nation. For the year, he had 10 passes broken up, four interceptions, 45 tackles and three forced fumbles. He also showed coverage skills as a freshman with five pass breakups and two picks. Jones is a good cover corner with the speed and athleticism to run with receivers and prevent separation.
Analysis: The Colts can go a number of ways in the middle of the first round, particularly with a variety of defensive options on the board, but they go with perhaps the best pure pass-rusher in the draft in Tim Williams. Williams has been a force off the edge for three years at Alabama, creating pressure on 26.1 percent of his rushes (NCAA average is 10.0 percent). While he has only 168 snaps to his name against the run over the last three years, Williams has shown the power to jack up blockers and hold his own on the edge when given the opportunity. At worst, he's a situational pass-rusher for a Colts' defense that is in desperate need of players who can affect the quarterback.
MOCK DRAFT TOTALS
In each installment of the mock draft looks we will total up all the positions pundits have pegged for the Colts throughout the draft process.
*Bowen's Analysis: How would Dalvin Cook look in a Colts' uniform? A trio of pundits in our second Mock Draft look have the dynamic, multi-purpose, back coming to Indianapolis. Cook's talent is rare. It's why virtually every Mock Draft has the running back from Florida State going in the first half of Round One. The other trend we see this week comes from the edge guys. From an immediate position need standpoint, this group far outweighs the running back bunch. A cornerback and a defensive lineman fill out the contingent. Corner is something that the Colts should be looking long and hard at. Remember, when Chris Ballard was in Kansas City, the Chiefs had a major overhaul of their secondary talent upon his arrival. With defensive line, that's another position group that Ballard is on the record saying he will always be looking to bolster.
The second mock draft look of 2017.
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.