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Colts Mailbag Weekend Edition: How Should The Colts Replace Dwayne Allen?

Intro: In Saturday’s mailbag, readers inquire about losing Pat McAfee to retirement, if Alabama’s Jonathan Allen could fall to the Colts and how the team should address the inside linebacker position.


INDIANAPOLIS – Each week, readers of 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 S. (Australia)

Hi Kevin, 

What do you think of the reported Dwayne Allen trade? Personally, I think it's not bad for the Colts, considering how disappointed I was with his performance last season, but it is only for a 4th Round Pick from the Patriots, who I don't like dealing with. Plus, they have the tendency to take mediocre players and turn them into stars for a season.

Bowen: This article dives a bit deeper into the trade for Allen. You understand why Chris Ballard made the trade. He sees emerging talent in Jack Doyle and Erik Swoope. He sees a guy in Dwayne Allen who has really battled injuries and is making a substantial amount of money. He also knows the 2017 draft class is very deep at tight end. Also, a 4th rounder is actually a pretty good return get for the Colts. NFL trades are very difficult to gauge and almost always seem to surprise me in the level of pick a team gets for a certain player. Remember, last year the Titans moved back just 13 spots in Round 4 for DeMarco Murray. So, trading back 13 positions in a middle-round got them the NFL's third-leading rusher. Crazy.

Kaden E. (Westfield, IN)

Hi! Thanks for answering my question last week and I have another one for you today. 
Do you think the colts will go back to being Super Bowl contenders just like 2012-2014. If we are contenders how many do you think we can win with Luck and Hilton?

Bowen: Quite the loaded question here. For the Colts to get back to being true AFC contenders, the defense has to be virtually revamped. If Chris Ballard can hit on this year's draft with two-to-three impact guys on that side of the ball, it would go a long, long way in getting the Colts back into the AFC discussion. With Tom Brady still slinging it, it's going to take more than a Luck/Hilton duo to win a Super Bowl. If the defense can improve, the Colts should have a team in place to win multiple Super Bowl. That's not easy at all. Just ask a guy like Aaron Rodgers. But the talent should be there, if the defense catches up quickly.

Scott R. (Indianapolis)

Hey Kevin: As happy as I am for Pat McAfee and his wherewithal to walk away from the game on top, I quickly crashed back to earth as I pondered the future without him on the field when 4th down comes calling. How big of a blow is his retirement to not only the roster itself but to the locker room when a proven leader leaves the game? Also, where do you see the Colts addressing this new, pressing need? (free agency, draft, trade, begging Pat).

Bowen: McAfee is definitely a loss. This is a guy who was one of the most versatile and accomplished specialists in the NFL. I don't think the leadership void is too immense in him walking out though, compared to his on-field presence. It's not like McAfee, Adam Vinatieri, or Matt Overton are sitting in offense/defense meetings each week. That's just how the NFL works, special teams guys are a bit isolated when it comes to position meetings and that stuff. McAfee was a great pro though and really a rare breed when you look at what all he could do. To address this void, the Colts have agreed to terms with four-year vet Jeff Locke. In looking at Locke's stats, he looks to be more of a directional type of punter, compared to the booming leg of McAfee.

Victor M. (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Hi Kevin, as a Colts' fan, I think you're having a good week

I'm writing a feel hours after the Dwayne Allen trade. I think most fans are thinking the same thing as me: the pick we received on the trade probably will be used in another TE, right? My idea is:

1st Pass Rusher
2nd CB or ILB, best available of one of these positions 
3rd CB or ILB, the position not addressed in the past round 
4th RB, TE and best defensive player available 
5th OL or another defensive guy 

So where do you think the Colts are going to get that TE? 

And, with one more pick in round 4, I think there's the possibility of trading up in the second round to get another big time defender if the opportunity presents itself, what do you think about that?

Bowen: Victor, remember the Colts have three fourth-round picks now after the Dwayne Allen trade. I think spending one of those on a tight end would fit into how you try and replace Dwayne Allen. Of the big positions of depth in this year's draft, the tight end position has an abundance of talent, which hasn't been the case recently. And yes, with the Colts have seven picks in the first five rounds (six in the first four rounds), they have the ability to package a couple and move up come late April.

John E. (Ontario)

Hey there Kevin!

Greetings from Ontario, CA: the city where finding a Colts fan is like finding a gold needle in a haystack. 
My question is who do you like the Colts drafting at ILB in the 1st round (if they decide to go ILB)? Seeing as we lost our main contributors to FA, and that it's likely the top edge rushers could be taken by the time we pick. And also because the top projected ILB (Foster) has a fair amount of question marks on him. Thank you!

Bowen: Reuben Foster would probably be the ideal choice. If not Foster, I'm not sure if there's another inside linebacker worthy of the 15th overall pick. Temple's Hasson Reddick is probably the closest prospect to meriting that selection in the middle of Round One. Reddick is a fast riser on draft boards with some position flex, too. How the Colts address inside linebacker is going to be interesting to me because I don't know of a slam dunk answer.

Blake M. (Mt. Washington, KY)

Do you think it would be a possibility for the colts to pick up perine the Oklahoma running back with one of our fourth round picks or do you think he won't be there by that time I think he would be good for the colts because with our weaker o-line it wouldn't hurt to have a strong legged runner who can shake a few tackles and if not do you have any guesses of who the colts will pick at running back and when thank you

Bowen: The target range I've seen for Perine is right in the third/fourth round. So, I could see it happening. Maybe the Colts take care of the defense the first three rounds and then head down the running back/tight end route in Round Four?

Chuck F. (Fort Wayne, IN)

I'm not to happy with the training camp change for this year. I understand that things changed last year at Anderson! It wasn't as personal able as in years past. I enjoyed going not only for the players and the Colts City but for me it was the friendships that you built over the years . People that you see once a year and catch up on family's and life! Do you see or here anything about the coming years ?And is there going to be a minicamp day?

Bowen: Chuck, we haven't heard anything about the coming years or a minicamp day. The Colts have announced they will have two off-site Training Camp practices, which will be open to the public. Look for dates and times for those to be announced later. I think this is just the trend we are seeing around the NFL with more teams staying home. For the Colts, the unpredictable Indiana summer weather really can hinder things from a practice standpoint in Anderson or Terre Haute. At their own facility, they can practice indoors at anytime. To me, that's one of the biggest reasons why this move was made.

Palmer T. (Carmel, IN)


Hope all is well on your end.
I'm really interested in the running back class, but more so on the back end of the draft class. I'm most interested in Brian Hill, Kareem Hunt, and Wayne Gallman. The one negative I've noticed with a guy like gallman is he runs tall, not sure how good or bad that is. Overall, do you like these guys? What are the chances they go in rounds 3 or later? If you don't like those RBs, who are you high on?

Bowen: Palmer, good to hear from you! Hope life is treating you well. The three names you mentioned have been popular middle-round-ish fits for the Colts. Based off what I've seen, those guys are definitely in that Round 3-to-4 mix. Hill has some reported interest from the Colts. I liked the burst I saw from Gallman, but Hill and Hunt definitely were asked to do a little more in college, granted at a lesser level. When I look at the running back need for the Colts, I view it under two microscopes. Go out and get a back with lead back features, as a future replacement for Frank Gore. Or, go out and get a back with a true speed/change of pace trait. That's my thinking in drafting a running back in the middle rounds this April.

Matthew V. (Zionsville)

Hi Kevin,
As of now, I haven't heard a peep about Dontari Poe or Dont'a Hightower during free agency. Are the Colts interested? Is Ballard bringing them in for a visit? What's your thoughts and the odds of the Colts signing them? Thanks

Bowen: It sounds like the Colts will be bringing in Dontari Poe for a visit on Sunday. Right now, Dont'a Hightower and the Patriots look to be the pair. I haven't really seen Hightower's name linked anywhere else.

Aaron J. (Montreal)

Hi Kevin,
Colts fan from Montreal,Canada

I have 3 questions for you

What are your predictions on the Colts re-signing Darius Butler he's been a big factor on our secondary as well as a leader. It would be a shame, to let a versatile DB walk even though age is a factor. 

What is your take on the Dontari Poe meeting do you think he would land in Indy? Having Chris Ballard helps a lot in my opinion, he did factor in Poe's signing with the Chiefs. 

With Patrick Robinson cut after a disappointing first season and with a deep defensively loaded draft class, do we go after a CB with our 15th overall pick, since the linebacker vancancies were somewhat taken care of (Sheard,Simon, Mingo if he pans out)? CB first round and Edge second or vice-versa?

Thanks a lot and great job with the mailbags!!!

Bowen: 1. Based on reports, it sounds like Butler is going to test the free agency market. I was a little surprised that Butler was not retained (he could still come back). Obviously, the Colts want to get younger on defense, but Butler would give an ever-changing secondary some veteran presence at the safety position. Maybe the Colts and Butler can find a deal now that free agency is underway. 2. I love the Poe potential fit in Indy. That's the one position on this roster that the Colts are really lacking the prototypical body type for a 3-4 scheme. Poe is the wide body you would like on early downs eating up space. 3. We get into this question below.

Stan C. (Minneapolis)

Hey, Kevin! Thanks as always for all your hard work. Wow, has FA kicked off with a bang. I just scrapped my previously planned question because of the chaos. Instead, let's talk about how the first 2 days of FA have affected the Colts' draft plans.

With the release of Patrick Robinson and the signing of Jabaal Sheard and John Simon, do you believe CB will be the very likely selection in the first round? My only hesitation is that I see both Sheard and Simon as players in the mold of Erik Walden in terms of being "run/pass versatile, rugged" types but not necessarily your "pin your ears back and assassinate the QB" types. Plus, while Hasson Reddick's stock is rising, I think 15 may be just a little too rich for my blood. With few great pass rush option in that case, I could see the Colts getting a CB like Sidney Jones, Quincy Wilson, Jalen Tabor, or Tre'Davious White (preferably one of the Florida guys).

Do you find that likely? And if so, how do you feel about us playing the similar Sheard and Simon as our starters, using their 2nd rounder on an inside backer like Jarrad Davis or Raekwon McMillan? Or would you prefer the team grab a 2nd round T.J. Watt/Derek Rivers/Ryan Anderson/Carl Lawson type of rusher in the second (or Tim Williams, if Chris Ballard isn't scared away by his off-field concerns)? Curious to hear your thoughts as we go through this roller coaster of an offseason to kick off the Ballard era!

Bowen: I still don't think the moves over the last 48 hours rules moves edge rusher off my No. 1 need line. Cornerback has probably slid up to 1A. The Colts have added edge bodies here in free agency, but you still are searching for the pure pass rusher. Those traits aren't usually found in free agency. That has to come through the draft. That's why I view the draft as the area/chance to get such a player. Honestly, some combo OLB/CB in the first two rounds should be music to the ears of Colts fans come April.

Larry L. (Indianapolis)

Please help me understand why the Colts have signed John Simon for $13.5 Mil (3 years). That is a lot of money for someone who hasn't shown very much at all in terms of production.

Bowen: Welcome to free agency, where players that might have been buried a bit on the depth chart of a top NFL defense go out and gets paid to play a bigger role. That's what happened here with Simon. He's a guy with 8.5 sacks in 13 starts the last two seasons. You pay for pass rushers in the NFL and the Colts are trying to create competition as a position of group that needs bodies. This is not a significant deal at all in terms of hurting your cap long-term.

Chris N. (Orange County, CA)

Hi Mr. Bowen,

First off, I don't know how you put up with all of these at home GMs and their insane mock drafts this time of year. So I appluade you for that.

My question is about Phillip Dorsett. I've sent a few in about him in the past as well. In all honesty, Dorsett has done virtually nothing to benefit the team. Everybody continues to give him the benefit of the doubt because he was a first rounder.. But take a look at this year, he did NOTHING in Moncrief's absence. So do you forsee Dorsett remaining a Colt after his rookie contract?

Bowen: Chris, don't you love it! Haha, there are some pretty crazy Mock Drafts flooding into the mailbag each week. The 2017 season is huge for Dorsett. With first-round picks, they have four-year contracts with a fifth-year team option. That option must be exercised at the end of this season. Right now, Dorsett hasn't done enough to be a guaranteed fifth-year option guy. Dorsett has to show more consistency this season for the Colts to think that he's going to be a part of their long-term plans. I've said it before in this mailbag, but Chester Rogers really pushed Dorsett last year. If Dorsett can't make the jump in 2017, then the Colts are going to have a decision to make in looking at the future at receiver. T.Y. Hilton is locked up. Donte Moncrief is likely due for a second contract (he's in a contract year in 2017. That's where the Dorsett dilemma comes into play. Chris Ballard has no ties to Dorsett, so we will see if the clean slate in 2017 will be a benefit to the team's 2015 first-round pick.

Carac C. (Indianapolis)

Hi Kevin, I was just wondering what you thought of free agent devin Taylor from Detroit. I think he has talent and we could probably get him cheap...

Bowen: He would probably be a cheap fit. I do think the defensive line could use a body like his to add to the competition up front. I haven't seen Taylor's name really rumored anywhere of substance so far.

Isak A. (Los Angeles)

First time writing in here. Been reading for a long time, and been a Colts fan as long as I can remember (my first two jerseys were a youth Jim Harbaugh and Marshall Faulk). 

I know that Ballard has said he isn't going to build a team through free agency - and they have to fit into the team's mold - but with so many high end free agents flying off the boards (many to other AFC South teams), I would've have expected us to be a bit more active. 

We are letting 11 free agents test the market, which sounds more like a rebuild than a reload. Also, I feel like the pursuit of Hightower HAS to be number one priority now. It makes sense. We released our team leader at middle linebacker in D'Qwell. Hightower is a more dynamic, younger middle linebacker with well-known leadership skills. What's not to love? I know Poe and Williams are great options in the trenches, but we need an impact player in the front seven. We've got a couple of those guys in the secondary in Vontae and Clayton. Let's get a front seven guy who has the ability to affect the whole game in one play!

I know the Pats have a lot of cap space, too, but I think we need to go for big air on this one, despite Ballard's philosophy (which I also believe in, btw)

Thanks for everything! Go Colts!

Bowen: With Hightower, it seems like there's a very mutual effort with the Patriots to keep him in New England. I really haven't heard of any other teams having a serious chance at Hightower. It always seemed like something the Patriots and Hightower would get worked out, especially once they traded Jamie Collins away during the season. I do view inside linebacker as an area to upgrade this offseason.

Jeffrey K. (Colquitt, GA)

Hey Kevin how are you today... I like the Barkevious Mingo pickup he has good size and speed at 6'4 240 and runs 4.5 but what if he is not an edge guy.Do you think he would have some success as a 3-4 ILB? Think about it he has the size and speed to cover TE's and he could excel in that spot. Do you think we should still go after Dontari Poe and Jabaal Sheard? I think we should make at least one splash move and I know those two would improve our young defense.

Like always thanks for your time and have a great day

Bowen: I don't see Mingo moving to inside linebacker. He's been an edge guy in his four NFL seasons and I expect him to continue to do that with the Colts. Yes, I believe the Colts should pursue guys like Poe and Sheard. Both have been higher level defenders at positions of need for the Colts.

Jesse P. (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Hy Kevin.
Could Connor Barwin be one bargain to be a Colt ?

Bowen: Many believe Barwin is a guy better suited for a 3-4 scheme, versus a 4-3. Barwin had 14.5 sacks just two years ago in a 3-4. The last two years he's still combined for 12.0 sacks, a very respectable number off the edge. The 30-year-old Barwin was released by the Eagles earlier this week. With the pass rush group not having a bunch of depth in free agency, I'm a little surprised we haven't heard more on Barwin's name. Yes, he's 30, but he's had at least 5.0 sacks in each of the last four years.

Joseph K. (New York)

Hey Mr Bowen hope all is well
I'm from ny and surrounded by giants news etc so I keep up with the giants but I'm a colts fan primarily 
Jordan Ranaan of ESPN does Facebook live, instagram live, and twitter periscopes to do a live question and answer. My question is does any reporter for the colts do this? I think, besides your mail bag, is a great way to get colt fans involved. 
Would you ever consider doing this? If not you, Mike wells, Stephen holder, Zak keefer, if you're reading this, Please consider doing live QnA's
Thank you Mr Bowen as always

Bowen: It's something I've definitely thought about doing. I enjoy seeing them done in other sports/teams I follow. I think we will explore it more once the business of the offseason quiets down. I guess getting a time centered down would be the hardest part.

Dave L. (Colchester, VT)

Hi Kevin, this is my first writing. I have been a Colts fan for many years. Poor game day coaching cost us 3 games last year and I hope that does not repeat itself this year. One of the best things to see was how our O line ended the season, they started to look good and maybe our strongest area going into the 2017 year. So with that said I think we need to make sure it is our strongest area by taking Feeney or Dawkins in the 2nd round. Ballards best thought is to make things competitive between the players Freeney or Dawkins can make things very competitive all along a good O line. With all the defensive talent in the draft we should get a good O lineman early, your thoughts? Also a side note I would love to see the Colts take Qb Evans in the 7th round if he is still around.

Bowen: I'm just not a fan of spending that type of resource on a position that you feel pretty good about the top five or six guys. Offensive line depth is something that needs to be addressed this offseason. However, I wouldn't do it with a second-round pick. I still believe defense should be the early focus of the draft, when you look at how deep that group is in 2017. You need blue chip type defenders and those come from earlier draft picks.

Jeremy L. (Sheridan, NY)

Are you worried at all about Chris Ballard maybe being too conservative in free agency this year? I understand that the best way to build a locker room is through the draft but there is potentially some nice pieces that could really speed up the rebuilding of the defense. Players like Poe, Hightower and Calais Campbell don't come along too often in free agency and if they were able to land one or maybe even two of those players in some way I think that would be great. Seeing what Ballard has commented about free agency I'm worried he may be too conservative and try to not make a mistake instead of go for a home run and get a great player that could be a leader on the defense for years to come. Thoughts?

Bowen: With the patience the Colts showed to start free agency, this question was popular in Saturday's mailbag. I get your thought process here. First, there's got to be mutual interest between sides. Not every free agent wants to go just anywhere in the NFL. You also have to weigh contracts and if these guys fit into the Colts' budget. Ultimately, we really have no idea how serious Ballard was (or was not) in pursuing some of the names above. I don't think Ballard is too "conservative." The Colts were rumored with the likes of Alshon Jeffery and Nick Perry. Ballard made it clear at the Combine he wasn't just going to spend money, just to spend money. No matter what the Colts do in free agency, they are going to have hit come draft time for things to really shift defensively.

Alex H. (Stockton, CA)

Hey Kevin thanks for addressing my last question and all the news and updates. I find it quite awesome to see different colts fans views on the team. Last night the Colts inked a deal with Jack Doyle for 3 years. Thank goodness. I think Continuity is going to play a big part this season for the Colts. Today's question is on Christian McCaffrey fitting with the Colts. I most definitely think he's a great fit for the colts. I think Fournette is out of reach and would be foolish to trade up for with our needs on defense, and I think McCaffrey has a slight edge over Dalvin Cook right now due to McCaffrey's stock rising during the combine. He was already a top rb coming into the combine. The combine just cemented his value. I believe the only way the Colts would be able to get McCaffrey would be to trade down and take him  in the first. Someone will take him in the first. If everyone passes on him he'll just end up in New England. With that, how far down could/would the Colts trade down to? And. What could they get back for trading down. As far as draft picks? Thank you Kevin. Keeping the mailbag coming.

Bowen: At this rate, I'd be surprised if McCaffrey made it to the second round. The Colts would likely have to trade back into the 20s and with that they would receive another pick in the second-to-third round range, plus probably a later round choice, depending on how far back they moved. The problem with that is, under such a scenario, you are letting around 40-ish picks go by before taking a defender. Can the Colts afford to do that? I don't think so.

Nick V. (Shafter, CA)

Do you see jonanthan Allen dropping to pick 15 because of his shoulders? And if so would you see the colts drafting him? He's very good

Bowen: Allen's shoulder is probably one of the bigger injury questions facing this draft class. I don't think the Alabama interior defensive lineman will drop all the way to the middle of Round One. This is a guy with top-five talent. But it's something to monitor. If he does start to fall, the Colts should definitely explore making such a selection. It's going to come down to the medical though for Allen.

John Y. (Franklin, TN)

Hi Kevin, Just a quick question. How much money does it add to our salary cap with the retirements of Pat and Joe? Thanks

Bowen: If my math is right, these moves should add right around $5 million for the Colts. Retirements can be a little tricky in seeing how much money a team "gets back" from those contracts. But I believe right around $5 million.

Joshua B. (Little Point, IN)

Hello again Mr. Bowen. As everyone else, I thank you for you efforts and insights on here. Has this offseason been crazy or what? Surprise retirements. A not quite so surprising (and slightly overdue) firing. And draft "expert" after "expert" mock drafting Dalvin Cook (whom I love as a player, but not needed at that spot), and OL (of various names). I think I need a mock draft booster shot lol. They are, honestly, one of the most futile acts on the planet. There are 32 organizations involved, not one man is even going to get close. Yes, they relieve some boredom, but they got so old and redundant. Anyway, my soapbox has broken under me, on to my questions. First, why the Patriots? I'm mostly kidding. But seriously we basically gave DA away. I know moving up for yet another 4th rounder but we also sent a 6th rounder. Just flabbergasted. Second, how does someone get into scouting or scouting department for an NFL team? What are the ground floor jobs? Just a curiosity. Have a great weekend!

Bowen: I'd be lying to you if I expected this much activity in the offseason. Love the entertainment though. We talk a lot about Dwayne Allen in this mailbag, so let's concentrate on your other question here. There's not a cookie-cutter route to get into scouting. The early years are typically a lot of entry-level work. Maybe it's editing film for higher level scouts, assembling specific reports on a player, or picking up prospects from the airport. You see teams with interns inside their building. If they make an impression, maybe they grow to another position within the building, or even hit the road as an area scout. To me, it's a very ladder stepping gig to get to the top of the scouting rung.

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