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.**Submit your question here**
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).Monty T. (Indianapolis)
Shoring up the interior of the offensive line to me is more important than right tackle. If Conklin isn't there at 18 when the Colts pick they could turn to Decker and end up with a player that might not be an upgrade from Good or Rietz. The center position has been a mess since Jeff Saturday departed and I belive is a big key to both the run and pass for the Colts to sustain offensive drives. I know that centers rarely go in the 1st round but you have a guy in Ryan Kelly that (according to all the experts has all pro potential) and most likely will be available when the Colts pick at 18. There is no cap room to go after a top center like Mack (if he becomes available) but there is room to lock up a rookie for the next 4-5 years and not have to worry about that position. The 1st round is all about getting players that make your roster better immediately and for the future. There would be no bust with this kid and we could stop hearing from fans every year how we need to sign Mack.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Bowen: I certainly see the thought process behind such a move. It makes sense on many levels. My only reason I'm not entirely sold on Ryan Kelly at pick No. 18, is that I think you could trade back and still get him. With how centers are viewed as first-round picks (not too frequently), that should allow for the Colts to move back into the 20s, still get Kelly, and then add to their six-pick total in 2016. This would be a great first-round result to me, if the Colts really think Kelly is the center of the future. If the Colts trade back 5-to-10 spots, they are going to get an extra pick or two. That's a route I like.
Luke R. (Rochester, NY)
As this year's combine at Indianapolis comes to a close, the Colts along with all the other team's questions have been answered for the most part. However, with all the 40 times, 20 shuttle, bench presses and others considered, along with all the film during their careers considered, which prospect stood out to you the most that would not only fit Indy the best, but be available for us at pick #18 and why?
Bowen: Luke, if you've read past mailbags, you know that I'm a fan of finding a long-term cornerback this offseason. I was really impressed with what I saw from Clemson's Mackensie Alexander and Ohio State's Eli Apple at last week's Combine. Both guys seem like they could be realistic options for the Colts at No. 18 (Alexander might go a littler higher). Ryan Grigson said it best at the Combine. When the Colts' corners are playing well, that's when this defense has been at its best. I think Alexander or Apple would give the Colts a reliable starter opposite Vontae Davis.
Adam H. (Ithaca, NY)
So today I was looking at the news and I noticed that the Buffalo Bills released their star defensive end Mario Williams...I think he is a phenomenal player, and I was wondering if you think we have enough money in our budget to look into him in the offseason...thank you so much, and I am a huge fan of you guys! Go colts!
Bowen: With all the recent cuts we've seen of veteran from around the NFL, the money issue is my first worry. Then of course you have to weigh performance and fit. Jim Irsay has talked about getting younger. Ryan Grigson has talked about the tighter cap this year for the Colts. Those two things don't add up to Mario Williams coming to Indianapolis.
Eric M. (Orland, ME)
I see pretty much every mock draft calling for the colts to pick an offensive lineman with the 18th pick. What about picking a running back? Frank gore can't run forever and last year he was "alright" but not what everyone expected. I think Ezekiel Elliott would be a great choice. The colts have enough bodies to throw in front of Andrew Luck for the time being. Or take one later on in the draft. Having an actual threat in the running game would take some heat off as well.
Bowen: Andddddd the Ezekiel Elliott question is here! Before you read my usual comments on Elliott, we are starting to see him really rise. There's talk of Elliott climbing into the top 10 of the draft after he performed very well at the Combine. Now, if Elliott is there at 18, I have the needs more pressing elsewhere. If there are comparable defenders/offensive linemen on the board when the Colts pick at No. 18, I don't see them pulling the trigger on Elliott. Running back is a need at some point in the draft, but I think Round One is much too high to address that spot.
Jeff P. (Bristol, CT)
Bjorn Werner. Any chance new DC will will try Werner at ILB ? I feel this would be better fit for his size. He looks like a run stopper! I would hate for him to be the next Jerry Hughes and go off with a new team!
Bowen: I can't see Bjoern Werner switching to inside linebacker. There's been no prior talk of that. Remember, Werner came into the NFL having to switch from a down lineman to a stand-up position in the 3-4. I don't foresee him making another position switch.
Mark C. (Abingdon, VA)
I was wondering if the nfl combine results would change draft broads and if we could c an old (2015) teams draft broad that would be real cool.thanks for all your time and resouces in answering our questions.
Bowen: Mark, Ryan Grigson has said before that the Combine doesn't fluctuate things too much on a team's draft board. Slight adjustments could occur, but at the end of the day, the tape is still the most important thing in evaluation. Unfortunately, I don't think teams are releasing past draft boards anytime soon. Trust me, I would love to see the board. Yet, with guys being released all over the NFL, teams aren't going to reveal who they still might think highly of if they hit the open market.
Trenton R. (Greenfield, IN)
Hey Kevin! Never one to back down from a challenge, I am back with a list of the top three pass rushers that could be available at pick 18! (To the readers; keep in mind these are my favorites at these positions and all research is my own! If you disagree with any of these prospects, feel free to let me know in the comments on this mailbag. Thanks!) So lets get started!
1) Noah Spence, Defensive End, EKU
While off field issues plagued his early college career, Spence cleaned up his act at EKU. Finishing last season with 11.5 sacks, 22.5 tackles for a loss, 63 total tackles, 15 QB hurries, and 3 forced fumbles, Spence is a definite wild card in the draft. While EKU isn't the best university to see true football skills, his 8 sacks and 14.5 tackles for a loss at Ohio State during his first season prove that he is more than capable against even the best of teams. I believe that he has turned his act around and would be the best bet for a Colts defense in need of a pass rush!
2) Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
Already accustomed to the 3-4 scheme from his time at Georgia, Floyd is an extremely reliable pass rusher, racking up 17 sacks over his 3 years at Georgia. While his slippery ability to get to the backfield is reminiscent of Robert Mathis, his explosiveness at the snap is similar to the Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. While still underdeveloped, he has the skill set to become a strong pass rushing LB in the NFL.
3) Kevin Dodd, Defensive End, Clemson
The overlooked DE at Clemson, Dodd quietly dominated as Shaq Lawson got all the attention. He had 12 sacks during his last season, and while he benefited from less double teams due to Lawson's presence opposite him, Dodd is still very raw and could become a great pass rusher for the Colts defense for years to come. His capabilities at right end would perfectly complement ROLB Robert Mathis, leaving them either both with only one blocker or one drawing the double team while the other screams in at the QB. He is a great prospect with all the skills to fit in our defense!
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think of these pass rushers and what position you want me to send in for the next edition! Thanks and GO BLUE!!
Bowen: Once again, terrific work by Trenton. He addresses a position Colts' fans all have their eyes on. It doesn't look to be a particularly deep edge class in 2016 though. We see Spence as a likely first-round pick. Floyd could hear his name called on Thursday night of the draft, too, with Dodd more of a question mark to go in the top 31 picks. It's going to come down to the character questions for Spence. I thought he handled his Combine media session well. If Spence did the same in interviews with teams, I can't see him sliding outside of the top 15-20. He's clearly the best pure edge guy in 2016. I expect Floyd to go in Round One, however you are right Trenton about the Georgia product's frame. When I saw Floyd at the Combine, he looked like a tall quarterback. He definitely has weight to put on in order to thrive as an every down linebacker being able to set the edge on run downs. My question on Dodd is can he be a 3-4 outside linebacker? That's really a question for him and Shaq Lawson. At No. 18, do those guys make sense if there are major question marks regarding their adjustment to being a 3-4 stand up guy? I'm definitely in limbo to see how the Colts go about the pass rush need come draft time. If Spence clears the red flag issues, he makes the most sense to me. Trenton, I'll let you pick the next position group. Can't wait.
Jordan M. (Canada)
Hey I appreciate you answering my question(s). It's going to be a 2 parter. First off the secondary - chances are we are going to part ways with Toler and is D'Joun Smith our next #2 beside Vontae? Or do we look for other options? Next, what are some realistic free agent targets the colts could get this offseason? I feel that Grigson is going to target offensive line and (most of the positions) on defence
Bowen: If Greg Toler doesn't return, I would be very surprised if the Colts didn't bring in a potential starting cornerback through free agency or the draft. Smith should factor into that race, if healthy, but we don't know where he's at after playing just 20 defensive snaps last season. I reiterate that interior offensive line and cornerback are my positions I believe have a good chance of being pursued in free agency.
Rob B. (Canada)
Hey from Canada! What's the deal with this news that Luck's shoulder is a concern. As a fan and committed follower of the team and a believer that Luck will be one of if not the best qb in the league in a few years. Should we be worried? Thanks.
Bowen: The last update we had on Andrew Luck came from Chuck Pagano at last week's Combine. Luck’s expected to be full go when the Colts start their offseason program on April 18.
Matthew R. (Texas)I may be thinking a little far fetched here, which is something I do a lot when it comes to the game. What about internal adjustments? Maybe switching Clayton Geathers to a hybrid linebacker, which may help the middle of the field and possibly a pass rush with sending him on some blitzes, while keeping Dwight Lowrey for safety? It's far fetched but might help with the cap room in saving money, might change the defense a little bit, but it could help in the long run.
Bowen: Matthew, I think this is something we saw on third-downs last season. I don't see it happening in base settings because you have to take care of the run first. I'm more interested in seeing if Lowery returns next season. Do the Colts view Geathers as a full-time starter? Lowery is a free agent. Ryan Grigson knows the importance of more and more speed on the field come third-down and Geathers will factor into that. Geathers could also be the guy on early downs, too.
Nolan H. (Albany, IN)
Hey Kevin, I have two questions. Do think Jaylon Smith will be what Laell Collins end up becoming? Which offensive tackle do you like the most? I think really highly of Taylor Decker, but what are your thoughts?
Bowen: I don't think you can compare Smith and Collins at all. Smith is coming off a horrific knee injury that has his rookie season in serious jeopardy. Collins was healthy and just had the immediate off the field concern that was in limbo. Of course, Laremy Tunsil is *the *tackle to like in this draft. I do think Taylor Decker has nice potential. My only question with tackle is if the Colts feel set at the edge, does a rookie tackle need to have guard potential to be drafted by Indianapolis? Decker would be a 6-7 guard.
Tony K. (Sunman, IN)
Food question. What are the odds we could go after "Pot Roast" or "Snacks" to shore up that D line?
Bowen: Ahhh, now I'm hungry. Thanks, Tony. For NFL fans that aren't familiar with these awesome nicknames they are as followed: DT-Terrance Knighton ("Pot Roast") and DT-Damon Harrison ("Snacks"). As you can imagine, these two are wide bodies known for their space eating. I think the Colts could be in the market for such a body type, depending on what Ted Monachino desires in a nose tackle. Is he looking for more of a David Parry body-type? Or does he want that true 330-pound-ish guy in the middle? I do think Harrison is going to warrant quite the contract.
Dustin P. (Virginia)
I've been reading all the mail bags for the past couple weeks. I have a couple questions for you!
- Even thought we don't have too much money there are some free agency signings that would be a game changer I personally think. Those three players are Courtney Upshaw, Nick Perry, and Prince Amakura. All there won't be too much to sign and could come in and make a huge difference!!! Do you think that there is chance to sign those three players?
- Grigson and the coaching staff have talked highly of Denzlle Good. I think that with new coach Philbin he could potentially become a premier right tackle. So my question is with him securing right tackle how much of a posibitly is for it is to trade down a couple draft spaces and draft Ryan Kelly in the first and Josh Garnett in the second and have multiple later round picks to draft defense? I definitely think a starting line of Constanzo and Mewhort holding down the left side Garnett and Good on the right and Kelly in the middle could be a top 10 line!!!
- I noticed that at the combine we interviewed David Lacesto the running back from cal. It's hard to not notice he ran 4.4 40 and Excelled at every other event! Do you think that there could be a late round pick spent on him or someone from Paul Perkins from ucla? We need to find a good running back number two!!
Thank you for the time!!
Bowen: Dustin, I do think the Colts would be more in the market for the names you mentioned above. They all seem to be just a tier below the top one at their position in free agency, aka much more reasonable for what the Colts are working with cap wise. Next question, let's not put Denzelle Good at right tackle down in sharpie just yet. Joe Reitz played pretty well there in 2015. Ryan Grigson has mentioned that Good has some guard potential, too. I do like your idea of a Garnett/Kelly duo though. I'm sure fans would be all about two interior guys that could be mainstays in the interior for years to come. Lastly, I do think the Colts will look for a running back in the draft. There's more of a history at running back to find impact guys in the latter rounds.
Matt B. (Parlin, NJ)
Hey Kevin, this is my first time asking you a question on here and I'm hopin you can answer this for me.
So, do you think that Chuck Pagano, Ryan Grigson, and Jim Irsay can talk to Alex Mack about taking a smaller pay to be on a team who will hopefully win more than the Browns?
I know that we don't have a lot of money to work with but how do you think they can work around this is Mack agrees to take less money?
Bowen: The Mack questions were flying into this week's mailbag after news broke of him being a free agent. For Mack to come here, it's very likely he will have to take some sort of discount compared to what other teams can offer him. Based off what Mack was making in Cleveland, the Colts aren't going to be able to go toe-to-toe with some team having ample cap space. For Mack and Indy to work, the veteran center is going to have take a pay cut. You have to think a winning team is something the 30-year-old center is seeking.
Dustin K. (Fort Wayne, IN)
If we can get some solid o line players in fa do u think we would go all defense in the draft and if we get a rb what round do u think we would pick one.
Bowen: The Colts are never going to pick strictly off position. You just don't see teams do that in the draft. I'd bet my life savings the Colts don't go "all" defense in the draft, even if they address the offensive line in free agency. As far as running back, I look towards the middle rounds to take care of that need.
Jeff P. (Bristol, CT)
Hi Kevin, love the mailbag you do a great job. Question do you have a list of players that might follow our new coaching staff? With all the new hirings, do you believe there are any players that would follow this new coaching staff to Indianapolis?
And I want to make this point, if the Colts can sign some Offensive lineman I would love to see Reggie Ragland at #18. He would be a upgrade in the run stopping game!
Bowen: There aren't a bunch of NFL connections from the coaches the Colts brought in. New defensive backs coach Greg Williams has a history in San Diego. Joe Philbin, the new offensive line coach, has spent time in Miami the past four years and then Green Bay prior. Defensive coordinator Ted Monachino has been in Baltimore for the last handful of seasons. So I guess the players from those teams would be the ones to watch in free agency. The other coaches pretty much all came from the collegiate ranks.
Amy H. (Rineyville, KY)
With the Jaylon Smith dilemma,what round will you think he will end up?
Bowen: Amy, this is the question of the draft. If anyone tells you they know an exact range Smith will be going, they are lying. If Smith can play this season (major if), I can't see him lasting past the first 10-15 picks. If Smith can't play in 2016, that's where things get dicey. I could see him sliding a bit to a team that can afford to wait an entire year on his impact. Maybe even to the latter stages of Round One. It's just so hard to predict with all the medical questions still up in the air.
Thomas D. (Richmond, VA)
What are your thoughts on Donte Moncrief and his future with the team. I think he has extreme potential and him and TY could end up being the deadliest duo in the NFL
Bowen: I would agree with this and I think the Colts feel the same way. Moncrief is under contract for another two seasons. If the Colts can sign Moncrief to a second contract, a duo of him and Hilton would be quite potent for Andrew Luck. I think in 2015 we saw Moncrief show more and more flashes of his potential, despite all the changes at quarterback. Going forward, this young tandem should be right up there with any receiving duo in the NFL.
Diogo B. (Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil)
Hi Kevin, I think the Colts should sign Brandon Brooks and Mitchell Schwartz in free-agent market and pick a good pass rusher like Noah Spence, Shaq Lawson or Leonard Floyd in draft, beacause in this FA market looks like more affordable to sign a offensive linemen than a pass rusher. What do you think?
And what are chances of the Alabama center Ryan Kelly be available for the Colts in 2nd round?
Bowen: Diogo, I tend to agree with this approach. The Colts really need to find a young pass rusher, behind the vets they have already at that position. I think you can supplant the offensive line needs with a free agency addition, plus a draftee. Ryan Grigson has mentioned the offensive line depth in the draft. You know that's appealing when evaluating where to place the offseason resources.
Nicholas T. (North Carolina)
Do you think the colts need to get an offense of line or a good defense
Bowen: Well, I think they could use both. The Colts' brass has talked about the need to address both of those in the offseason. Getting younger on defense is a major importance with so many potential starters approaching the age of 30, or north of that number. The Colts are planning to take steps to both sides of the ball this offseason.
Stan C. (Minneapolis, MN)
Hey Kevin, appreciate your work. I have a question about the OC position. A lot of people are buzzing about the Browns' star lineman Alex Mack, who just voided the final 3 years of his contract with Cleveland. Mack has been one of the best and most consistent linemen in the league for years. However, I have doubts that the Colts can afford him. With so many roster holes to fill this offseason and so little cap space available, it would take some serious contract negotiations from GM Ryan Grigson in order to bring Mack to Indianapolis without crippling the roster.
Rather than the splashy move of Mack, I wanted to get your thoughts on Jaguars center Stefen Wisniewski. I was a proponent for the Colts to bring him in from Oakland last offseason. He ended up signing a one year contract with the Jags for a song and is now set to hit the market once more. Rather than spend $8 million a year on Mack, the team could get a younger, solid lineman for a contract in the realm of $8-12 million across 3-4 years and save their limited resources. Thoughts on Wisniewski and the FA OL pool as a whole?
Bowen: Stan, I think you are onto something here especially when you consider the Colts' funds. The market for Alex Mack is likely going to be wide ranging, with teams ready to spend. The Colts just can't compete with those suitors. A guy like Wisniewski is much more in a realistic range. I think the Colts should have the cap room to go out and compete for a couple of additions this offseason. Finding a starting offensive lineman in free agency, plus another starter-type through the draft would be a very, very solid offseason up front for the Colts.
Aaron S. (Baltimore, MD)
I've been a fan since Unitas first threw the pigskin. Looking at a bunch of mock drafts, I see some of them taking Cody Whitehair in the first round then Ryan Kelly in the second. Grigson did mention that they would rebuild the o-line through the draft. What do you think of this?
Bowen: Back-to-back interior picks would answer the question of that offseason need. I could see this coming to fruition as we are starting to see Cody Whitehair (Kansas State) in more mocks for the Colts at No. 18. I don't know if Kelly (Alabama) would last until the second-round pick for the Colts, but he could. I'm still a believer that a defender needs to be in the cards early in the draft, but I'm not going to question this sort of haul up front (if it play out like this).
Aaron A. (Louisville)
With the release of Andre could the Colts sign a relatively cheap veteran reciever?
Bowen: If the reports of Johnson's release does happen, the Colts are definitely going to be in the market for another wide receiver. Jacoby Brissett is going to take a bulk of Johnson's playing time, but there's still a lot to be had. Johnson played 65 percent of the offensive snaps last season so the Colts would likely be looking to add at least another wideout this offseason.
Joey K. (New York)
Something I see a lot is the question of a 4-3. end being capable of standing up in the 3-4. I know the difference in the formation but can you explain why it's such a complication to make the switch? and if it's so difficult why do the Colts like 3-4 so much? I feel like most college players are more comfortable with a 4-3
Bowen: The NFL uses the 3-4 much, much more than what we see in college. That's been the trend growing in recent years. I think the biggest complication is just the foreign nature of not having your hand in the ground all the time. Playing in a stand up role means you will likely have some pass coverage responsibility. That's a major flip from a guy that is exclusively going up field. Now, the player must be able to move side-to-side, back pedal, etc. I think that's the worry teams have when trying to project 4-3 ends into 3-4 linebackers.
Rico W. (Tulsa, OK)
Kevin, How can someone impersonate the HC Chuck Pagano? Is that legal? Does the HC know about this? I have tweeted a few times with positive messages, but I am perplexed that this could actually happen!
Thanks, Colt Strong 2016
Bowen: It's a fake account. It says such in the profile information. Therefore, Twitter allows it. There's zero merit or impersonation. I don't think Chuck Pagano is too worried about this.