INDIANAPOLIS – Readers of Colts.com may submit questions during the week and have a chance to have them answered during the middle of each week. Submit your question here.
Here are responses to some of the questions received recently. We thank you for your interest in the Colts.
PETER R. (from Baldwin Park, CA) Is Tyrann Mathieu on the Colts draft board? It would be a great pick if the Colts took him with their first pick, but since the draft is a science trading back to one of the top 2nd round picks would be a great decision.
A: I'm sure Mathieu is listed on one of the draft boards in our room, I just don't know which one. As Ryan Grigson has said, the team believes in second chances. I don't know if the type of second chance Mathieu needs is one we would do. He did work out relatively well at the combine, and he handled himself very well with the media. You want to believe he has put problems in the past. Trading down and still maintaining a slot that will yield a player you want is something that has been done here in the past. We traded first-round picks with the Giants in 2001, dropping eight slots and adding two picks, and we still landed Reggie Wayne. We traded with Pittsburgh in 2004, dropping six slots and adding a pick and still got Bob Sanders. Tony Dungy was confident we could pull that one off, but there were a few white knuckles in the room, if I remember correctly. We moved up in 2003 to get Robert Mathis and moved up last year to nab T.Y. Hilton. All of those were done on draft day, and it's fascinating to observe (though I was not present for last year's move). It's part of the reason why the draft pulls such television numbers. A couple of years back, draft coverage drew five times the viewers than watched two different NBA playoff games featuring the league's top teams.
RAY S. (from Santa Clarita, CA) Xavier Rhodes is drawing a lot of attention. He looks to be one of the best cornerbacks to come out in years. With his measurables and great combine, I doubt he will make it to our pick at #24. Is there any chance the Colts would consider trading up to get him?
A: See above. You never know what can happen when teams are on the clock, or just before. The phone calls into and out of a building are pretty active. Some are interesting, some are mundane. Rhodes does look to be a pretty good talent. I think whatever position we target, Ryan Grigson will do all he can to get his man.
ERIC M. (from Gouldsboro, ME) Is Bob Sanders still a free agent? If so, why doesn't the great coaching staff that we have take a look at him? During his time with the Colts he did some great things when he was healthy, and I personally enjoyed watching him play. That would bolster the secondary quite a bit I'd say.
A: We have not heard much from Bob lately. Bob did do some great things here, but I know he wishes, too, that his health issues had not been so debilitating. I don't know if he has filed his retirement papers after last playing for San Diego. Suffice to say, we wish him all the best and loved the physical presence he brought, but I think we're well along in another direction.
NATE T. (from Indianapolis) What's the chances of us picking up a larger Calvin Johnson type WR? We all know we're going to pick up someone to shore up the O-line, but our options at the fade are limited to our TEs mainly due to size. Considering that the average CB/SS are much shorter, finding a 6'3 type WR would benefit Reggie and the rest of the crew and make Luck's job so much easier.
A: Quarterbacks do like big targets, but a specimen like the one you mentioned is rare. A couple of our young free agents, Jeremy Kelley (6-6, 230) and Kris Adams (6-3, 194) are pretty good sized targets. Adams was with us last year, and Kelley played in the AFL. How we merge personnel in the new offense will be fun to watch. While he haven't matched size with a couple prominent receivers elsewhere, many teams have not accomplished what we have. I know where you're coming from, though.
CHAD S. (from Brownsburg) If the Buffalo Bills want to trade up to No. 24 to draft a QB they like, do you think (Ryan) Grigson will entertain a second- and third-rounder of the Bills for our No. 24?
A: I wouldn't put it past Ryan Grigson to pull any move he sees fit. Ryan is a grinder who knows his business and the talent available. He acts on conviction, and it may be that a team looking for a quarterback could target our spot. That slot could be in line for a quarterback in this draft, compared to the last two drafts. Your crystal ball could prove to be accurate. We currently have five picks in the draft, missing second- and fifth-round choices. We could be in line for a couple of compensatory picks for the losses of Pierre Garcon and Jeff Saturday. Adding to our pick arsenal would not be a bad thing.
COLTS FAN (from Pennsylvania) Lots of speculation about using the Pistol formation. Could the Colts use it for a read-option, with the only two options being hand-off vs. pass? It would almost be like play action, but the play fake would not be predetermined. The formation works because the QB faces forward and reads the play as it develops. As good as Andrew Luck is in reading defenses, this would be a novel way to use the Pistol. I don't like the third option of read-option -- Luck running and exposing himself to hits.
A: Don't know about the longevity of the read-option compared to the Pistol, or either of those with the history of how quarterbacks have played in this league for decades. I think you'll see defenses catch up a bit to those two offenses. When you have the passing talent and intelligence of Andrew Luck, I think you know what the right avenue is for us to take. He was sacked 41 times last year, hit an estimated 148 times last year and hurried on other occasions. We want a clean pocket with a view downfield. What you suggest affords that, too. Good question. I'm sure Pep Hamilton will have something productive and safe for Andrew up his sleeve.
DAVID M. (from Georgia) What are the chances the Colts will take a OG or OL with the 24th pick? Will they take a Jonathan Cooper if he's there, or will they just go defense. Because in the combine Cooper proved that he is possibly better than Chance Warmack.
A: Don't know what we will target, but I doubt either Cooper or Warmack would be around where we pick. They could be among the first few players putting on a hat on draft night. I think both will have great careers, but I think they will be somewhere else.
NICK R. (from Hanover, PA) NFL.com reports that Steven Jackson will void the final year of his contract with St. Louis and that the Colts would be a possible fit for him. Is this possible?
A: We can't account for rumors nor comment on other players in the league, but Ryan Grigson said the other day if you're looking to retool, rebuild, etc. at a certain position, that you have to be on the right side of 30 years of age. The running back position may be the most important in terms of what he was describing. Our backs fit the preferred age range, and I hope they get the first crack at things. If a decision is made to nab a veteran back for a short-term period, we'll talk about it at the right time.
GORDON L. (from Charleston, SC) Do you think the Colts will trade up to get Xavier Rhodes? He had a great showing at the combine. Face it, we need a cornerback 6-feet-plus. (It) seems like we have always had trouble with our smaller faster guys being out jumped by taller receivers. Then we use free agency to go after Jake Long, Dwayne Bowe and still pick up some still decent offensive line potential.
A: You've got your head in the game. Rhodes did test pretty well at the combine, and he was a physical press coverage player at Florida State. You don't want to fall in love with someone purely on measurables, but he did well. Rhodes seems like a good package, and it might be that he would be gone by 24th. Again, I'm not privy to our thinking and won't try to be, but it's good people like you check in with reasoned opinions. You won't be the last in the next six weeks to do so.
ERIC R. (from Miami, FL) What position is most likely the first pick for the Colts come draft day? And are the Colts looking at any big-name free agents?
A: It's a bit tougher to say at 24 than it was last year, that's obvious. There seems to be depth among linemen and defensive backs. We'll have about six more weeks to wonder. We keep information close to the vest for good reason. As far as free agents, that will come around much sooner, about a week from now. Our people have a good idea what they want to do, and there is some financial latitude this year that was not in existence last year. I see the names that you do being mentioned. We'll see soon how accurate that will be. Fiscal responsibility will be part of our M.O. We can't get ourselves back into the financial straits we did in the past. That said, I would bet there is some type of splash signing(s).
ED29-1659YARDS. (from Fort Worth, TX) I have high expectations for Jeremy Kelley. What's the status of he & Reggie Wayne's relationship?
A: You have to like Jeremy's size. I have not met him yet, and I am not aware of any bond between Reggie and him. Anything that does happen will be later this spring, and I hope Reggie is around like he was last year. As far as your ID above, I like it. Eric was tremendous that year in winning the rushing title. When you got to know him, he was a small-town Texas guy. He was a special talent, and I was with Eric in Miami when he got the news about being voted into the Hall of Fame. It was priceless to see his reaction.
JOSH M. (undisclosed) Have there ever been thoughts about McAfee becoming our everything kicker?
A: I don't know that we would go in that direction. There have not been many examples of that in this league. New Orleans tried it once with Russell Erxleben in the early 1980s, and it flopped. While it would be a way to save a roster spot, the downside of being nailed at two positions with a potential injury is pretty steep. Put it this way, if it were the soundest idea you would have seen it be more prevalent by now. Pat is talented and has a big leg. We've seen it on display before, but would you really want to take Adam Vinatieri out of the mix? Not me, but thanks for the letter.
JACK S. (from Portland, ME) Would the Colts ever take a running back with their first pick in the draft?
A: I'm not sure this would be the year, and this seems to be a position where good ones can come beyond the first round. We have done it in the first rounds other previous regimes, and I think we would now, too, if it were the best move to make. My hunch is we'll have to wait to test that in another draft.
ZACH S. (from Indianapolis) Why did we use our franchise tag on Pat McAfee?
A: Doing so kept us out of harm's way in free agency. Pat, as you know, has been a very effective player for us, and the hidden yards he helps provide with hang time, directional punting and touchbacks on kickoffs relate to points and victories. I have no quibble with it. We've done it with some key players in the past to allow time to get a long-term contract ironed out. Exposing him to unrestricted free agency may have been a big mistake.
JOE M. (from Indiana) The Colts traded away a couple picks from this year's draft, will the Colts consider a supplemental draft pick this year?
A: I'm sure if there were a player that merited it in the supplemental draft, we'd use it. There typically is not a whole lot available. The supplemental draft landed us Albert Bentley once. The year Seattle took The Boz, we were next in line. Whew!
JON S. (from Greensburg, Indiana) Are the Colts focusing on needs in this year's draft or just taking the best player available regardless of position or need?
A: I would guess the best player available. Reaching because of a position can spell trouble, not that any draft pick affords 100 percent security. At 24, the process will have to play out a bit more this year. Our fans, thankfully, have seen that happen before. Ask Bob Kravitz, usually the need-line intersects the talent-line.