Colts Mailbag

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Colts Mailbag Weekend Edition: Should The Colts Go Running Back Or Defense In Round One?

Intro: In Saturday’s mailbag, readers inquire about Andrew Luck’s right shoulder surgery, the 2017 outlook for Curt Maggitt and how the salary cap situation looks for the upcoming offseason.

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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).

Eli D. (Del Rey, CA)

Quick question,

I just got the news that Andrew Luck just recovered from his surgery.

Do you think this surgery will have an impact on his throwing/accuracy?

Bowen: I wouldn't think so. Look, anytime a quarterback has right shoulder surgery, it's less than ideal. That's like a kicker having surgery on his kicking leg or a pitcher having surgery on his throwing elbow. But Luck showed no signs of the shoulder affecting him this past year. I can't recall a throw where I thought to myself, "Wow, his shoulder must be hindering him." Sure, there were some Luck decisions that left you scratching your head, but I don't think any were physical related where the throw didn't have enough mustard on it. Luck had the second best season of his career despite dealing with a right shoulder injury on every injury report. Again, this isn't ideal, but if it eliminates any lingering issues for the long-term, that's a success.

Murray J. (Warsaw, NC)

Kevin, like this forum cause we get to see several thoughts and ideals.

My question is this, why do you think a defensive player should be taken with the first pick instead of a running back? I feel that running back is our biggest need, the reason is our offense is one sided (passing) teams know stop the pass stop the colts. what made Peyton's colts so deadly was when we drafted James. yes gore is a good back but doesn't scare defenses. we have to get a high quality back. it solves more problems than a lb or cb.

second question why dont we go back to a 4-3 defense instead of 3-4? all of the colts worst defenses have been in the 3-4. it doesn't work. if it did everyone would use it.

thanks hope to see your answeres

Bowen: The Colts defense just finished 30th in the NFL. They lack game-changers on that side of the ball that kept them down in the takeaway category last season. You have to address that early on in the draft. Look at past drafts, you can find running backs later on. Of the NFL's top 10 rushers last season only one was taken in the first 46 picks of a draft. You can wait on running back. You can't afford to wait on defense.

Eric S. (West Palm Beach, FL)

Hello Kevin,

Happy New Year to you!! I have a "Cap Space" question for you. I'm hearing the Colts will have anywhere from 40-55 million in cap space. I am also hearing a lot about the Colts not having much room to bring in top tier talent. Do teams typically want to reserve a portion of their cap for rookies or save some to carry over until the next season?

I know a portion will be allocated for current players to be resigned. When you break it down it seems like they could potentially resign multiple players and still have room to work with. Let's say the Colts resign Doyle, Butler, and Walden. Let's estimate an annual salary of 3 million for Doyle, 2.5 for Butler, and 6 for Walden. We will throw in an additional 2 million for Cole, Adams, or depth. That totals 13.5 million with roughly 36 million to spend.

What are the other variables to consider with the cap space? I'm assuming that we can spend 36 million on free agents? If that were the case we could easily afford a Melvin Ingram projected at around 12 million a year? We could afford a few play makers like Ingram at that rate.

I'm also hearing that Moncrief & Mewhort extensions should also be considered. How would that effect the cap space this year?

Bowen: Eric, teams always want to have a little left over, especially if they have some longer-term deals that need to be taken care of in the following offseason. In my opinion, you have a pretty good grasp of where the Colts are at cap wise and how the breakdown could evolve in the coming months. I see room for a starting caliber player or two via free agency. That should leave plenty of room for your rookies and still have enough in the bank for the second contracts of Donte Moncrief and Jack Mewhort.

Martin G. (Topolcany, Slovakia)

Hi Kevin,

thank you for your brilliant work. I would like to ask you some questions about Austin Blythe and Curt Maggitt. Do you think they could be more impact players in their 2nd season? Also do you think that we could resign Akeem Ayers for the next season? And lastly, we know that next draft will be about drafting impact players on defence and in middle rounds some promising RB so I would like to know if we prefer to draft bigger and physical RB or smaller and faster RB? Which type of RB fits better to our offense?

Thank you for your answers. Good luck in your work.

Bowen: 1. Unless injuries happen, I don't see Austin Blythe cracking the lineup. The Colts look to have found their interior guys (LG-Jack Mewhort, C-Ryan Kelly, RG-Joe Haeg). With Curt Maggitt, he's got a serious chance to make an impression next season. There will be plenty of chances for a fully healthy Maggitt to seize the open outside linebacker reps coming next season. 2. Akeem Ayers is under contract for 2017. 3. This is a good question. If you're going for an immediate fit at running back, I tend to think a quicker/shiftier option would be better. But if you are looking long-term, a more durable/complete back makes sense.

Andres R. (Bogota, Colombia)

Hi Kevin,

This is my first mail send to the mailbag, I really appreciate you take the time to read all of our questions.

My questions are

  • What are your thoughts in the deep CB class for this upcoming draft?
  • Which one you'd like to be the guy that the team draft?

I really like the team draft a brand new CB in the 2nd round It will be an upgrade of a pretty banged up secondary, being realistic a player who could be available in the middle 2nd round my guy would be Kevin King from Washington has a really good physical presence outside (different of Vontae and Patrick) fitting the way our 3-4 defense performs.

Best regards from Colombia

Bowen: We had a few cornerback related questions in this week's mailbag. This is a deep cornerback draft. I've seen a few big boards from draft pundits having around a handful of corners going in the first 20-ish picks. I haven't seen all the corners, so I'm going to hold off on singling one out. But I am not opposed at all to taking one the first or second round.

Todd S. (Collinsville, IL)

Hey Kevin, I would like to thank you for doing this for us fans of sports. Do you feel Edwin Jackson, although there were concerns at the end of the season, is good enough to start as our 2nd ILB next season? Yes Edwin Jackson did not look great near the end of the season but expecting him to play perfect as a rookie on a bad defense is a lot.

Alongside another decent ILB whether it is D'Qwell Jackon, a free agent pick up, or a high picked player in the draft I feel Edwin Jackson can fill that hole we have at linebacker to the point we do not need to worry about it an extreme amount.

I feel in no way that he is a locked in starter, I just feel if we were to get someone in free agency or D'Qwell plays some good football that we can just rotate him, Antonio Morrison, and (if we do draft one) our ILB picked later in the draft.

Bowen: This is a question I don't have a real good grasp on heading into the offseason. I'm not sure how the Colts view the inside linebacker position. Edwin Jackson plays with tremendous passion and is always around the ball. But the run game struggles with Jackson starting cannot be ignored. Would an offseason of Jackson knowing he's the starter help calm down the problems we saw on the ground late in the year? I think Jackson and Antonio Morrison have starter qualities, but I need to see a little more before crowning them definite starters.

Scott M. (Pateros, WA)

Hey kevin, I was thinking that if in the second round, I think it would be a better thing to draft a WR to help T.Y Hilton and Moncrief like a Gabe Marks of Washington State. He would bring a deadly mix with the two. Do you think?

Bowen: You will not find me agreeing with this decision. The Colts HAVE to use their draft capitol on defense and a running back. You have T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Jacoby Brissett and Chester Rogers under contract. You bring back Jack Doyle and your pass catchers are in tact for next season. The Colts simply don't have enough resources to bring in another receiver with that high of a draft pick.

J.D. H. (Forest City, NC)

HI Kevin

I do enjoy mailbag a great deal. In my humble opinion, the Colts should try to trade Phillip Dorsett they might get lucky and get a 3rd or 4th round pick, not very likely but maybe at least a 4th or 5th round pick. The gain might be greater than the lose. I would be interested in your thougts on this option. GO COLTS!!Trainers

Bowen: I don't think you would be getting a 3rd or 4th round pick for Phillip Dorsett. Maybe I'm wrong, but I couldn't see that happening. This article was posted last week about how important of a season the 2017 campaign will be for Dorsett. We've yet to see Dorsett really take off, but I think giving him another season to prove that has to happen.

Will V. (Zionsville, IN)

Hey Kevin! I've been a fan of the Colts since the Harbour days. As of now, I know the blue horseshoe is going through a rough patch. But I was wondering? The Colts need to get younger and talented on D. What do think of the following players: Desmond King, Charles Harris, DJ Calhoun, Jarrad Davis, Solomon Thomas, and Derek Barnett?

Bowen: Calhoun (Arizona State) and Davis (Florida) are probably the biggest unknowns among the group you mentioned. Both are a little undersized and that's why you aren't seeing them at the same level as the others on your list. We've seen a couple of mocks already that have King (Iowa cornerback) and Barnett (Tennessee outside linebacker) going to the Colts. I'm a fan of those guys for sure. Thomas (Stanford defensive end/outside linebacker) is really intriguing to me. He was so dominant in big games this past season. Can he be a stand-up 3-4 outside linebacker at the NFL level?

Zach M. (Rochester, NY)

Hello Kevin as always enjoying the articles and mailbag. I have a quick question when do you think the colts will start negotiating with their soon to be free agent players? Also a comment more than a question but you seem to be forgetting another free agent linebacker to be for us who I think is a guy we should consider bringing back in Akeem Ayers I thought he was a free agent but in the free agent watch you seem to neglect him is he not a free agent or a restricted one? As always thank you for your time!

Bowen: Those negotiations are probably ongoing right now. They will really pick up steam the closer we get to March. Remember, the Combine is a few days later this year (Feb. 28-March 6) and falls just a couple of days short of free agency beginning. That means negotiations and re-signings of free agents might take a little longer as the Combine is normally a spot for plenty of face-to-face interaction between agents and personnel people. Akeem Ayers is under contract, so no worries on him returning.

Anthony B. (Fairland, IN)

Hey Kevin thanks for the mailbag I read it religiously. I cannot remember a draft in a long time that has had this much defensive talent. Which is great for the colts who could use a star at almost every level of defense. I believe we have a bright future with our offensive and defensive line and all the young talent. I also think Geathers, Morrison are going to be great players for the colts. It seems like the main focus in the draft should be on DB, ILB, & OLB'S. The draft is full of those 3 position. There may also be a couple game changing safeties when we pick. Do you think we will take the best player off the board or trade down to fill more positions of need with more picks because of the value in this particular draft. What would you like to see?

Bowen: Ah, the old debate of taking the "best player available." Last year it was clear the Colts had one eye squarely on their needs while also taking what their board was telling them. Teams just don't spend half their draft picks on the offensive line and don't select a skill player in the entire draft. I think the Colts will take a similar approach this year of knowing their needs and then selecting the best player available for those needs when the Colts get on the clock. I never rule out trading down in a draft. However, the Colts know the top half of Round One provides a terrific opportunity at drafting an impact defender.

Tyler V. (Mont Alto, PA)

Hey  I was wondering if the Colts should think about taking a CB with the First Round Pick? Maybe pick up a nice CB to help out Davis on the other side I know we have Robinson on the other side of Davis but another good CB wouldn't hurt since Davis & Robinson have been facing a lot of injurys.

Bowen: Yes. They should definitely explore that idea. Cornerback is a need for this team. If an elite cornerback is sitting there with the Colts on the clock, you should not turn your head at such a pick.

Dave C. (New Castle, IN)

Quan Bray was on his way to becoming a special punt and kick-off return specialist. How is his ankle and rehab coming along? Do you think he has permanently been replaced by Chester Rogers or will be back on the active roster next year?

Bowen: This is a storyline (definitely not the most important one) to watch in 2017. There's been no real update on Bray. We saw him watching practice several times late in the season. I would think the Colts should have room for a fifth receiver on the active roster. If Rogers takes more of a role offensively, then the Colts might want just a return guy (like Bray). When healthy, Bray was a very dynamic return man. At the same time, the Colts could have some flexibility in using their return spots. Running back Jordan Todman finished the year as the team's return guy, but he now enters free agency. I could see Bray returning, but the Colts should have some other options if they want to take a different route with their No. 5 receiver position.

Jay E. (Raleigh, NC)

I've always get a little annoyed with the missed tackles we've seen the past 2 seasons. What I don't understand is, with a defensive minded coach like Pagano, we are we having such a small problem with a football fundamental? I can't say much much because I'm not in the NFL but why haven't we tried simply wrapping a man up in the open field instead of throwing our bodies at their legs or upper body? My other question is, with notice of Andrew luck getting hit and sacked why don't we switch up the scheme to short passes. Not completely abandon the deep pass but increase the usage of short yardage pass plays? Sorta on how the Chiefs use Alex Smith

Bowen: I wish I had an answer as to why the Colts struggled with their tackling this season. Outside of Clayton Geathers, it seemed like every other defender had moments in not being able to wrap up. In fac,t both of these questions we've had throughout mailbags this year. It's hard to pinpoint why the Colts didn't rely more on underneath stuff in 2016. The Colts had some of the fewest yards after catch of any team in the league last year.

Lenny P. (Hilton, NY)

I see pass rusher as one of our most important needs. Putting pressure on a qb will definitely help out the secondary. Do you see anyone out there in free agency that the Colts may attempt to sign. Thanks.

Bowen: I know the name of Melvin Ingram (Chargers) has been thrown around quite a few times in this mailbag. There aren't a bevy of pass rushers hitting the open market. Actually, Erik Walden had easily one of the most productive seasons of any pending '17 free agent. You have guys like Chandler Jones (Cardinals) Nick Perry (Packers), Jarvis Jones (Steelers) all who were talented guys coming out of college. I do think the Colts will be in line to ink a starting caliber edge guy in March.

Deon B. (Indianapolis)

What's up Kev, I just wanted you to review my 3 round mock draft. I have us taking Derek Barnett (OLB) TENN in round 1. Round 2 I would take Desmond King (CB)IOWA. ROUND 3 I would take Jerrod Davis (MLB) FLORIDA. Also, I see a lot of people predicting a (RB) early. In that case what do think of D'onta Foreman (RB) Texas going to the Colts, I would probably pick him over Fournette.

Bowen: My first thought: is Desmond King falling that far? I've seen some mocks having King going as high as the Colts in Round One. I think it's a very solid haul for the Colts and achieves the main objective for this draft---getting better on defense at linebacker and cornerback.

Jeff P. (Bristol, CT)

Hi Kevin,

Fans like to speculate about the draft. it is very hard to decide who you take in each round before you know who you sign via free agency. With that being said I would like to see the Colts move back into the first round getting an extra second round pick and somehow drafting McCaffrey in the second round. He is the only running back I would draft. I'm not saying he's better than the other first-round running backs what I am saying is he would be a perfect fit for Andrew Luck. What he would bring to the table out of the backfield and on special teams would be unbelievable.

I also love the kid Jackson from the University of Southern California. Athletically I think he's a freak and I believe he should be drafted by the Colts. All other players drafted I believe are the best player available on defense and would not be opposed drafting a offensive tackle if a good one is available. But again all this depends on who we sign in free agency. If we do not sign some linebackers, taking McCaffrey in the second round will not help the Colts. What are your thoughts on this?

Bowen: I think Christian McCaffrey is a terrific talent, but let's not undermine the other running back prospects in this draft class. There are other runners who have traits to impact the game out of the backfield. If the board doesn't fall with elite defensive prospects still there in Round One, I'm fine with trading back and acquiring more picks. McCaffrey would be a great fit. But again, other positions are at a higher need on the off-season check list. And those can be taken care of in both free agency and the draft.

Al O. (Ocala, FL)

Hi Kevin,

A hypothetical situation. The kicking team kicks off from the 35 yard line, the ball travels to the receiving teams' 45 yard line and the kicking team recovers before anyone on the receiving team touches the ball.

Much like an on side kick. If the ball travels 10 yards and the kicking team recovers it is theirs. However if the ball travels all the way down to the receiving team's 5 yard line and is downed by the kicking team the ball belongs to the receiving team. I guess my question is how far can the ball travel before it can no longer be recovered by the kicking team even if they recover the ball first?

Bowen: I'm confused. As long as the ball travels five yards, it's free game. The kicking team can recover the kicked ball at its own 45-yard line, all the way through the end zone.

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.*

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