INDIANAPOLIS – Each week, readers of Colts.com can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our Wednesday or Saturday mailbag.
With the abundance of questions in recent weeks, we will have two mailbags each week. This one comes via a weekend edition (here's the Wednesday version from this week).
James C. (Northwest, England)
Hi Kevin hope you are well.
All of the edge rushers in FA are now tagged apart from our very own Walden. With that being said, SURELY we go edge rusher in round one now????? Running back in R1 was fine- as long as we sort things out in the front 7 in FA. We can't sort out the edge rusher problem in FA so we have to do it in the draft and we need a day one starter- that has to be priority in round one, Barnett/Thomas/Williams/McKinley/Foster are the only options for me in round one because we won't find another quality edge rusher in FA. I think Cook is a brilliant player but dont you think it's time we stop this talk of a running back in round one because we need some defensive talent and edge talent from one of those guys listed will be there at 14/15 so don't you think we have to take one of them????? Also, which one of those guys named is your favourite??? Thanks for your time man really appreciated.
Bowen: In my mind, it's been time to stop talking running back in Round One for quite some time. I've always been a fan of the outside linebacker route in Round One and what's happened the past week only confirms that. The pass rusher group has really dried up. But I've also believed that getting younger, while upgrading the talent, was just as important at OLB. That means the draft, and the highest of picks addressing the need off the edge.
Daniel S. (Philadelphia)
Hello this is my first time asking a question on here. My question is about free agency and your thoughts on nose tackle. I personally think nose tackle needs an upgrade for us. I see alot of our fans talk about us getting poe which I wouldn't mind at all. What are thoughts on Bennie Logan? I don't here much talk about him and I think he would be a solid nose tackle and an upgrade for us. I think he is underrated. The guy is a great leader to in lsu they give number 18 to leaders which he had for 2 seasons. I think we need more players on defense Ike that. And he has played nose tackle befoe
Bowen: I do believe nose tackle could be upgraded this offseason. To do that, free agency is the likely route. With how the college football game has evolved, you don't see many rookie nose tackles coming in and playing from Day One. So this upgrade would have to come through free agency.
Phillip B. (Kansas)
What's the possibility of these moves happening in the off season and how effective would they be?
Re sign: Butler, Turbin, Doyle
Free agents: one LB: Hightower, Zach Brown or Nick Parry add one DT Poe or Williams and Micah Hyde or Bouye
Draft: Rd1:Solomon Thomas, Rd2:Tre'Davious White, Rd3:Tyus Bowser, Rd4: Mixon or Jamaal Williams and Elijah Lee
Addressing the front 7 in free agency as well as in the draft along with helping the secondary
Bowen: I think a ton of fans would love this offseason for the Colts. You are pretty much taking care of everything the Colts have from a needs standpoint in 2017. I'm not sure if all of that could occur in free agency with Chris Ballard using some caution in bringing in outside guys through FA.
Zach C. (Fort Dodge, IA)
I see the cowboys are looking to trade Alfred Morris. Do you think that this is a trade the Colts will look to do with the Cowboys since Morris is only 28 and could replace Gore in the future?
Bowen: Eh, I'd shy away from that. I think you need to get fully younger at running back, not just a little bit. Soon-to-be 30-year-old running backs isn't really achieving the goal of bringing in the true next feature back of the Colts.
James A. (Carlsbad, NM)
What are the odds the Colts can trade up in the draft to No.5 with 3 late round trades to get Leonard Fornette at 5 and a DE or LB at 14/15? Or a defensive player at 5 and Dalvin Cook at 14/15
Bowen: If you aren't giving up your first-round pick to move up to 5, you are giving up some MAJOR future picks and a combination of your best players. That's just not feasible. I see no way where the Colts trade up to the 5th overall pick and retain their other first-round selection.
Mark M. (Utah)
Hi Kevin, thanks again for the work you do, it really helps fans feel connected to the team. There are a few players in the NFL who come from a college basketball background, like Mo Alie-Cox for the Colts. What is it that scouts look for in these individuals? When I watch OG Anunoby play basketball for IU, all I see is a taller version of Kelvin Benjamin who could go up and catch anything. I'm not trying to start a rumor about him trying to to make it in the NFL, but I would like to know what scouts see in athletes like Swoope that they don't in other players. Are there more factors than weight and height? Thanks!
Bowen: Footwork and hands have to be the most important traits, particularly when looking for future tight ends. Swoope had the size (with a little added weight needed) and athleticism. But another huge part of Swoope was his work ethic. The guy had never played football in his life. A crazy work ethic, and some patience, were needed for Swoope to make this crazy jump.
Jacob A. (Bahrain)
Thank for all the insight you give us for our colts. It helps a lot while being in the middle east to be able to keep up. My question is do you know of any of the punter in this draft or do you see us going after one in free agency. Thank you
Bowen: Jacob, happy to have you from 10-ish time zones away. I must admit I've yet to scout any punters. But Tom McMahon, the Colts special teams coordinator, has a history of finding young kickers starting elsewhere (Cody Parkey-Eagles, Brandon McManus-Broncos). Trust McMahon to find a late-round guy or bring in an undrafted free agent.
John Y. (Franklin, TN)
Hello Kevin, first time I have written in for answers to my questions, love reading the mailbox every weds, and Sunday. Wondering if Ballard is still factoring in Alex Bazzle since Grigson was the one that brought him to the Colts.? With that said I still want the colts to get an edge rusher first. Been watching a lot of highlights and I believe Derek Barnett is the most NFL ready player. Just hope he is still there at 14. RB Mixon in the 4th round would be my other choice. Pick up Gilmore or Bouye in FA. Your thoughts!
Bowen: Alex Bazzie is still in the plans. He's on the roster so might as well give him a shot at what he can do in the offseason program/Training Camp. But having Bazzie shouldn't alter the importance of finding another outside linebacker (or two) this offseason. Derek Barnett is probably my favorite right now for the first round.
Justin C. (Tazewell, VA)
Hope things are going well for you this offseason. Always enjoy the mailbag and twitter posts through the BR app. I won't bother with FA scenarios since there are so many each week. My question is about our current WR and CB. I think we have good wideouts, even Dorsett. He runs great routes and although similar build to TY, he more reminds me of Tyreek Hill, can run through defenders, just stronger. I think our starting WRs next year in order will be TY, Moncrief, Dorsett, Rogers, Tevaun Smith. I am expecting big things from Rogers and may even take 3rd. Smith isn't shabby either. Do you agree with this, if not, what do you think the order will be. Onto CBs. I like Melvin and think he did well last year, do you think he will stick around and earn a spot? Also, do you believe Milton will be capable of earning a spot as well? I liked his skill set coming from GT and he played fairly will in his limited action last year. I would like to see him do well.
Bowen: Right now, Chester Rogers shouldn't be too far behind Jacoby Brissett. Rogers was pretty productive late last season and deserves some first-team consideration in 2017. I like your order at receiver. With cornerback, Rashaan Melvin is under contract and should compete for playing time. Chris Milton was a nice spark on special teams, but we need to see more defensive reps from him before crowning Milton a definite contributor on defense. I think finding a cornerback in the draft would be something the Colts should explore in 2017. It's a pretty deep corner group and a high pick is fine by me.
Jordan W. (Canada)
I've been reading a bunch of mock drafts and player evaluations and had a question for you: how do you evaluate individual players on successful college units? For example, the are a lot of defensive prospects expected to go early from Alabama, Lsu, and Florida, but playing on a good defence may have made them look better than they would otherwise. To that end, isn't it a little safer to go after productive players off less vaunted college units? Looking at top defensive players in the NFL, there are tons of schools represented rather than a few hotbeds.
Thanks for your time!
Bowen: This is a really good question. And it's a very tough dilemma for scouts to sift through. Are the edge rushers on Alabama getting more one-on-one matchups because of all the talent in the interior of their defense? Is a 12-sack guy for Purdue on the same level as a 6-sack guy for Alabama? That's what scouts need to decipher in the draft class. Of course, playing in the SEC is a pretty good competition level to what guys are going to see in the NFL. There's not a definite answer to this question. Everything is so case-by-case.
Ryan P. (California)
Hey Kevin, No matter how many times I play it over in my head, I can't see Indy drafting a RB in the first round. Do you think it would be safer to try to go after a vet in free agency, like AP or Charles for example
Bowen: No. We get into this question more later. It's time to get younger at running back.
Steve H. (Indianapolis)
With all the talk about the depth in this draft class at the Colts' positions of need, don't you think that trading down in the first round is something worth exploring? We might be able to land another second round pick if we find the right team looking to move up when the Colts are on the clock. Imagine potentially taking a guy like TJ Watt at the end of the first and using those two second round picks on another linebacker and cornerback. I think I prefer this scenario.
Bowen: A lot of trading down questions in this week's mailbag. Explore it? Yes. But you can't pass up the opportunity at a franchise-changing defender in Round One. The Colts don't have that. You have a premium pick in Round one this year. So don't pass up that chance, if it presents itself. The Colts have five picks in the first rounds this year. That's a pretty good amount of "top" picks.
Anthony T. (Florida)
With Josh Gordon applying to be reinstated, do you think he could be someone the Colts can look to for another weapon. Yes he has had a rocky past but I feel the atmosphere around the Colts locker room can help keep him focused. Also he is still young and has shown he can dominate with a below average offense. A bit risky yes but offer a decent salary plus incentives for games played. I think the risk here would be worth the reward. Imagine TY, Gordon, moncrief that would be a scary WR core.
Bowen: I honestly have no idea what the Colts would think of the Josh Gordon situation or how his reinstatement is going to work. Would Cleveland not have first rights to him? Every team is going to look into Gordon, his talent is rare, but I don't see the Colts needing to do anything extreme at a position with some young/developing pieces.
Eduardo C. (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
Now that Jack Doyle has expressed his intention of exploring the Fa market what are our chances of retaining him?? Will we be content with Erick Swooped going forward?? Will this add to our many pressing needs to be addressed during the draft?? What are your thoughts Kevin?? Thanks, as always for your great responses. GO COLTS!!!!
Bowen: A couple of things to keep in mind about Jack Doyle. One, there's a lot of time left until Doyle hits the free agency market. A handful of days is ample time when talking about deals coming together before a deadline. Two things that is going to make Doyle really attractive to other teams, and to the Colts: he's durable and a great teammate. The second part is what Chris Ballard touched on in explaining his free agency thoughts. The fit of a free agent must be seamless inside the locker room. Ballard wants players to see why the GM is paying what he would be for a free agent. Doyle has all the characteristics teams/personnel men are looking for inside the locker room. Let's not rule out Doyle returning to the Colts yet at all. Now, if Doyle leaves, I could see a later round tight end coming in 2017. This was a question that came up a couple of times in Saturday's mailbag. According to the pundits, the 2017 Draft Class is littered with tight end talent. The Colts might have to use that pool come April.
Austin S. (Connersville, IN)
Hey Kevin, thanks for answering my last question. My question this week is do you think Christian Mccaffrey or Joe Mixon will be available in the second round? I personally think Colts should address defense in the first round and hopefully draft Mixon in the second round. What do you think of this? Who could you see the Colts drafting at RB? Thanks KB for all you do, have a good one!
Bowen: I don't see Christian McCaffrey lasting until the 46th overall pick, when the Colts will pick in Round Two. McCaffrey was special in on-field running back drills at the Combine. It just confirmed the incredible career he had at Stanford. I don't think McCaffrey is going to be around when the Colts pick. With Joe Mixon, reports have three teams not even putting Mixon on their draft board due to his off-the-field issues. Mixon could go anywhere come April. I'd assume he's going to be available in the second round.
Steve R. (Moville, IA)
You've convinced me that the Colts should go for defensive players in this draft. Especially considering that our defensive needs are a strength of the draft. My original preference was to get a dynamic difference maker like Ezekial Elliot in the first round. This would help take the pressure of Andrew Luck and possibly prolong his career. It makes me cringe watching the beating he continually takes. I think part of our problems stem from several bad decisions in the first round of some recent drafts. Trading away a first round pick for RB Trent Richardson, drafting Bjoern Werner and Phillip Dorsett have all had a negative impact on increasing the quality of our team (I hope Dorsett makes me eat crow). Using your 20-20 hind sight who were the players still available we could've had instead of these guys that would've had a significant positive impact on our team?
Bowen: Hindsight is indeed 20-20. Let's keep that in mind when these questions come up. Remember, the Colts did trade up to get T.Y. Hilton in 2012. But with the 2013 draft, it honestly was a pretty weak first-round draft. Some names like CB-Xavier Rhodes (picked one spot after Werner) and DT-Kawann Short (taken early in the 2013 second round) went after Werner. With Dorsett, you had DT-Malcom Brown and S-Landon Collins go just a handful of picks after the Colts' selection of No. 29 overall in 2015.
Theis S. (Denmark)
I hope you are enjoying the combine these days!
1) I heard Chris ballade mentioning the stress about our own free agents, because of limited time. I fear We might miss out on our own because of it - your thoughts?
2) Just Saw the runningbacks at combine and saw a couple of highlights after, but thought of these guys for our colts:
-Jamaal Williams: wasnt too impressed with the combine, but i really like his highlights
-Samaje perine: looks like a Frank Gore clone in my eyes.
MJD kind of guy - caught my eye at combine
Maybe a pour man's Lesean Mccoy - really stood out personally for me as well at the combine
So i see perine and jamaal Williams go around the 3rd round and the other to a bit later.
Can you see the colts targeting one of these guys, and who did you prefer at the combine and of these 4 guys?
Hope everything is good with you!
Bowen: 1. I wouldn't necessarily say that. Chris Ballard is going to be cautious as he looks for the right fit inside the Colts locker room. Time isn't going to be an issue. The Colts have plenty of time left to re-sign their own before the open market comes calling next Thursday. 2. I like a lot of those names you mentioned. Perine and Williams were favorites of mine in watching college football this past season. And those names are likely to be closer to middle-round picks.
Stan C. (Minneapolis)
Hey, Kevin! Thanks as always for all your hard work. The FA picture has cleared up a lot recently, but I'll still wait a little while longer before diving into the weeds with you there. Sneak peak: Melvin Ingram's tag hurts, Nick Perry becomes much pricier, and I am quietly intrigued by the idea of bringing in Dontari Poe. Alas, I digress:
Looking over the roster, I think one of the most interesting questions is at ILB. The departure of D'Qwell Jackson left a hole in the defense, one that I am skeptical Edwin Jackson and Antonio Morrison can fill on their own. There were sparks of nice play from their rookie seasons, but I haven't seen anything that makes me think they can handle full-time scrutiny as a starting pair right now. Meanwhile, considering the needs at OLB, CB, and RB (as well as the draft's ILB talent tier placements), I don't know if the Colts can really address the position properly in the first 3 rounds if they can't get Reuben Foster. Foster, Zach Cunningham, Jarrad Davis, and Raekwon McMillan are the only ones I feel confident enough to "set and forget" without supplementing the position in FA, and frankly I don't know if we will be in a position to draft any of them.
Barring one of these players getting drafted by the Colts, how would you address the position? Throw significant FA dollars at a big name like Dont'a Hightower? Focus spending on a less-splashy veteran to hold the line for a few years, much like we did with D'Qwell in 2014? Take a 4th-6th round prospect and rely heavily on a rotation? Drink a beer sadly while lamenting the departure of Jerrell Freeman? Some combination therein? Would love to hear your thoughts. I don't want to spend huge FA money at that position considering the state of the roster, but I am very wary about the current stable of inside backers coupled with another mid-late round body. Rock and a hard place, am I right? What are your thoughts?
Bowen: If Hightower does indeed hit the open market, the Colts have to look long and hard at him. Finding an instant plug-in starter at inside linebacker is difficult. I would at least see what the market is for Hightower. In my mind, Hightower is much closer to his prime than D'Qwell Jackson was back in 2014. It's hard to draft an ILB and expect that guy to come in and start from Day One. The prospects you threw out there fit that mold, but they also will likely come with a premium pick in Round One or Two. With nose tackle and inside linebacker, I'd look at free agency first, before exploring the draft options next month.
Chris M. (Cannon AFB, NM)
I wrote a couple other questions prior to franchise tag moves taking place.
Thought I would revamp it a little.
Out of the following players yet to be franchised or otherwise, who could you see most likely in a Colts Uniform in 2017? Why?
Bowen: If I had to rank them, I'd go with Poe, Hightower, Gilmore and Zeitler. The front seven is where the changes really need to occur this offseason. Check out the rest of the mailbag for more on Hightower and Poe.
James S. (Sydney, Australia)
Thanks for answering my last question! With the way recent franchise tags have been shaping free agency, I was wondering your thoughts on a player I thought would've struck a long term deal by now; Donta' Hightower. What is your opinion on the colts signing him to solidify our gaping hole at inside linebacker, I feel he brings both youth and leadership to our team. Haven't seen much buzz about him going to the colts, your thoughts?
Bowen: With free agency less than a week away, the names Dontari Poe, Donta' Hightower and Nick Perry make the most sense in the defensive front. Hightower would give the Colts a centerpiece to their defense at inside linebacker. I don't think Edwin Jackson or Antonio Morrison are locked in starters at all for 2017, so an upgrade at inside linebacker could occur this offseason.
Nic R. (Venice Beach, CA)
Would like to see the colts pick up Danny Woodhead in FA. Haven't heard anything about him since his injury earlier this year Think he would be a good screen /3rd down passing back and info on if the colts are looking into him at all?
Bowen: When I look at the running back needs for 2017, a younger option is what I see for the off-season plan. If you bring back a guy like Robert Turbin, you have veteran options in Frank Gore and Turbin. It's time to look forward at the running back position and draft a reserve to eventually take over for Gore.
Jeffrey K. (Colquitt, GA)
Hey Kevin got some questions for you.
Do you think the colts would take the same approach in the draft and draft speed guys on defense? In the last two years they drafted well on defense and it led them to a superbowl and I think we could do the same thing we have some players to build around on defense Henrey Anderson,Hassan Ridgeway,Antonio Morrison,& TJ Green.
I think this year's draft can take care of the rest of our needs on defense.
Round 1.Tim Williams OLB
Round 2.Tyus Bowser OLB
Round 3.Rasul Douglas CB
Round 4.Anthony Walker ILB
Round 4.Kareem Hunt RB
Round 5.Kevin King CB
Round 7.Jamal Carter SS
I think we can take care all our needs with this draft class
Thanks for your time Kevin have a good one
Bowen: Yes. Yes. And yes. Speed is needed on this defense and both Chuck Pagano and Chris Ballard said that at the Combine. Your draft haul has a heavy emphasis on that attribute.
Stephen G. (Pasadena, CA)
Kevin you know your work is well appreciated to all Colts fans. I almost depend on reading a Kevin Bowen article or mail bag it's all great work and thank you. My questions are with the a new off the field issues with David Parry, do you believe the accusations will ultimately have him cut? And how does the organization feel about Hassin Ridgeway? Does Poe look even more appealing now that David Parry might be cut? Again Thanks Kevin for all you do for us Colts fans.
Bowen: Appreciate that, Stephen. Right now, it looks like Parry is going to be okay. Chris Ballard said this week past week that the Colts are still gathering details. So if some more information emerges, then that could possibly impact things with Parry. With Hassan Ridgeway, he's a rookie that hasn't received a ton of attention this offseason. I don't think he's needed to be a starter in 2017, but I do see him as a valuable backup at a position group that needs plenty of contributors. Even if Parry is kept around, Dontari Poe is somebody the Colts should explore in free agency.
Matt W. (Gaithersburg, MD)
Hi Mr.Bowen quick question could we see frank gore getting released and the possibility of the colts picking up Jamal Charles or Adrian Peterson? My only concern is Charles is injury prone and Peterson will want money so i kinda don't see it happening lol what's you're opinion? And thanks again Mr.Bowen. COLTS NATION!!!
Bowen: I don't see this happening at all. Chris Ballard spoke this past week at the Combine that he's evaluated Frank Gore on tape and sees enough in the tank for a 34-year-old season. You need to get younger at running back.
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