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Colts Mailbag Weekend Edition: Who Is The AFC South Favorite For 2017?

Intro: In Saturday’s mailbag, readers inquire about the right side of the offensive line, if the Colts should draft Michigan defender Jabrill Peppers and what happened with Dontari Poe.


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).

Yash T. (Denver, CO)

Hello KB,

Long time no see, been keeping up with your stuff this off season and I just want to say Thank you. You and Matt are the reason us fans get through the OS. I have a 2 part question regarding the state of our division.

1) With all the upgrades each team is making, I am starting to worry about maintaining our grip on the AFC South. Even though the Jags aren't getting a huge return on investment, they could click at anytime. My questions are What are your thoughts on the AFC South and are the Colts going to get back into Playoff contention this year?

Thanks for everything, a huge fan From Broncos territory - YT

PS: How's Andrews and Langfords recovery going?

Bowen: I think the AFC South will be one of the more competitive divisions in 2017. Jacksonville has made some splashes (again) in the month of March. But I still don't see the Jags going from a three-win team to threatening for a playoff spot the very next season. Houston still has a strong defense, but remains in a quarterback quandary and is now without their top cornerback. The Titans seem to be everybody's pick, however let's not forget they haven't beaten the Colts in Andrew Luck's career. I really think the division is going to up for grabs in 2017, similar to what we saw last year. The Colts should be in the mix especially if they can get back to controlling home field. No updates yet on Luck and Langford. I did see Luck was out of his sling. We probably won't see updates on these guys until next month's offseason program begins.

Dave S. (Williamsville, NY)

Hi Kevin, 
Love the site. I would like to get your opinion regarding using one of our 4th round picks on Sidney Jones if he is still available. Of course it is a thought for the future, but to get a bona fide first round corner for a 4 would seem to me to be a steal. He obviously needs to recover, but guys come back all the time from achilles injuries.

Bowen: I would probably be okay with a fourth rounder on Jones. I'm just not sure if he will last that long. I'd expect a team to take Jones, who will pretty much have a redshirt year next season, in the third round. That's too early for the Colts.

James S. (West Australia)

Hi Kevin, thank you for answering my previous question. Today I wanted to ask a couple of things.
1) What do you think the right side of the offensive line will look like. Who do you thin fills the Guard and Tackle spots on that side?
2) What do you think of Curt Maggit? Do you think he could eventually develop into a starter?

Bowen: 1. Despite the signing of Brian Schwenke, I don't think this will alter how the Colts handle the right side of their offensive line. I still believe Joe Haeg at right guard and Le'Raven Clark at right tackle are the favorites to start. Denzelle Good is a fine backup as a swing tackle/guard. And then Schwenke is a veteran reserve for the interior. 2. I'm anxious to watch Maggitt this offseason. The hip injury should be completely healed and his training right now isn't in rehab mode, like he was last year due to the hip problem. Will a healthier Maggitt lead to more of the impressive pass rushing numbers we saw during his junior season at Tennessee. If Maggitt can show the 11-sack season he had in the SEC, he's going to find his way onto the field.

Grant L. (Jasper, IN)

Thanks for answering everyone's questions and keeping us up to date. My question involves the colts offensive line. Luck has been getting killed nearly every game, and has been repeatedly injured because of it. So why haven't they put much into the line so far this offseason, with the exception of Brian Schwenke. Are there any quality players left in free agency or names to watch for in the draft. Thanks.

Bowen: I would not expect the Colts to spend any more extensive resources on the offensive line. You drafted four offensive linemen last year. It's time to let those guys develop. With three rookies in the starting lineup late last year, the unit protected Andrew Luck much better. You have to see if that can carry over into 2017.

Sammy W. (Ohio)

Thanks Kevin for the amazing work you do.

My question is, what is the confidence level for the O-Line as presently constructed? The reason behind this question is because before free agency I thought going D early made the most sense but after the moves the jags made on D it looks like (on paper) there are two really good Ds in the division and I'm starting to think maybe O-Line help early in the draft? What are your thoughts.

Bowen: This falls in line with the question above. I still wouldn't go down the offensive line path that early in the draft. It's supposed to be a much weaker offensive line draft class. Couple that with the reasons above, and I believe the defensive focus should be addressed early in the draft.

Jacob B. (Connersville, IN)

Hey Kevin, what do you think about trey Hendrickson from FAU and Tim Williams from Alabama? Trey had an amazing East-West game and I think he is under the radar. If he falls to Indy in round 3 would you take him? Also with Williams I know he has the character issues but the dude is a freak and in my opinion could develop into one of the best pass rushers in this draft. With that being said Ballard tenure at KC took some risks with character issue guys. If he is there at 15 do you think Indy pulls the trigger?

Bowen: Both guys are in the mold of what the Colts should be looking for when the draft gets here. The thing with Williams is the off-the-field concerns must be checked off and the lack of production during Alabama's playoff games has to be explained. Williams has a lot of dominant pass rushing moments and that appears to be his best trait. If the Colts can sift through the concerns on Williams, I do think the pass rushing element of his game is enough to make a selection at No. 15 overall.

Corey T. (Greensboro, NC)

Hi you do great job with mailbag! Ballard is an intelligent GM. He signed Doyle,Sheard,Simon,Mingo,Hunt and offensive lineman schwenke. He has let go off almost everyone we had on defense and start loading the front seven with player's who have competitiveness and a hunger to win . I believe if and when Poe signs one year prove it contract with Colts that will be excellent. Maybe after that Nose tackler Hankins will load the front seven more(maybe try to lure Malcolm butler or Claiborne too).
In the draft do you think we should draft RB McCaffrey 15th then in second round LB TJ Watt? If so that will be awesome and will energize our Defense as well solidify our offense. That way we have five picks to address more depth at Linebacker (ILB Ben Boulware Clemson) Secondary(S Josh Jones NC State,
S Marcus Williams Utah) Offensive line( OT Garrett Billed Utah) then Tight End (Evan Engram Ole Miss) What do you think about that? Thank you!

Bowen: I don't think running back is the route to go at No. 15. If I was running the draft (isn't that scary?), the best defender on the board (preferably outside linebacker/cornerback) would be coming to the Colts. That's how I would handle Round One. I would wait on selecting a running back.

Michael Q. (Indianapolis)

Hello Kevin, good to be back again. I love what I am seeing from Chris Ballard so far. Sticking to his guns and backing up what he has been saying from the beginning and creating competition where we need it the most. Seeing as how we have focused on the front 7 so far on Defense, I think our chances of going DB or OL in the first round have increased dramatically. What are your thoughts on that especially if Jabrill Peppers is still there at 15. Can you imagine Peppers and Geathers on the back end? That would be scary. Also, any idea how Ballard will view TY Mcgill? I love that guy, I think he is a play maker, it seems like every time I saw him in the game, he was making some kind of disruption to the rhythm of the offense. Do you see him as more of a rotational guy as he progresses or do you see him becoming a bonafide starter? Thanks for your time!

Bowen: With Peppers, I'm not sure he has a defined position to the point where the 15th pick would be worth it. What are you doing with T.J. Green in your scenario? I would probably pass on Peppers unless the Colts feel they can create a role to best utilize him. Does Peppers have the coverage skills to be a safety? T.Y. McGill should not be forgotten in the defensive line shuffle. McGill has that interior pass rushing presence, which is needed even more so than it used to be in the NFL. I still look at McGill as having some backup role with the Colts. Does Zach Kerr's departure this offseason mean more playing time coming for McGill?

Jay B. (Atlanta)

Good morning, hope all is well. I have a couple of quick question(s) I was surprised to see the Colts go after Alshon Jefferey(if that report was true). I know the new GM's deal is competition, which makes perfect sense. Do you see the Colts looking for another receiver? When it comes to free agency, what's the process like? Is it like the draft boards that I've seen? Where there's a bunch of players and positions of need, with a dollar amount allotted? Finally, with all the news of Dontari Poe visiting other teams what are the chances of landing someone in the draft, if he or Johnathan Hankins get picked up? Thanks for the consideration and your hard work answering our questions.

Bowen: The Jeffrey rumor certainly turned some heads. Does this mean the Colts were looking to upgrade from Donte Moncrief or Jacoby Brissett? Does this mean Chris Ballard just wanted to add another (big time) weapon for Andrew Luck? From a true need standpoint, wide receiver isn't very high up on the list for the Colts. But the Jeffery rumor was intriguing. Free agency is chaotic. It's so much different than the draft because everyone is on the clock at the same time. Players can choose where they want to go and always say no. You have to have so many contingency plans in place. As far as the nose tackle, it looks like the Colts will roll with veteran Al Woods as the free agency addition.

Jeffrey P. (Bristol, CT)

Hi Kevin.

  1. Wondering if all the Colts fans that were saying "Ballard was to conservative after day one" are saying now? I have a great recipe for crow! Smiling!
  1. I agree with the person from the last mailbag that asked about Mingo playing inside linebacker. Got great speed and size. I agree with him/her. Has Pagano/Ballard talked about this possibility?
  1. My realistic draft board for the 15th pick. Foster, Reddick, Peppers or Obi Malifonwu. All game changers. I am aware I have no CB. Feel we can draft a good CB later.
  1. What are your thoughts on signing Michael Floyd as our 3rd/4th Wr? He would add competition to the wide receiver position. I like his size and pedigree!
  1. What a great job Ballard has done so far! Team is already Faster/Younger/Better then last year and we did not even draft yet!

PS, I love the kid from Uconn at SS/FS.

Go Colts!

Bowen: 2. Ballard hasn't mentioned anything specifically about Mingo sliding inside. Mingo is listed as an outside linebacker on the roster, so I don't see that happening. 4. Hmm, never really thought about this. Michael Floyd does have the body frame the Colts would probably be looking to add. Floyd will be an interesting case to monitor once the legal process ends for him and he can have his own mini free agency.

Laurence F. (Bedford, TX)

Hay Kevin,

With all the free agent signings,
what does our cap look like now?

Bowen: Per Over the Cap, the Colts have a little north of $30 million in cap space. A couple of things to remember: the Colts would probably like to keep some money to roll over for 2018 and then you need around $7 million for your 2017 draft picks.

Curt H. (Fort Wayne, IN)

As a Colts fan I've been watching the free agency signings around the league and hoping we would be able to pick up an impact player or two. I have not been very impressed with the players we've signed in free agency, but hope they play well. With Poe signing a deal with the Falcons is there any chance we explore Jonathan Hankins? I read he's asking for an annual salary of 8 million a year. It doesn't seem like a lot for quality Nose Tackle. At this rate we're going to be left with plenty of cap space and no real impact player. I know we hope to get one or two in the draft but that's not a guarantee like some of the proven free agents that have been signed like Calais Campbell and others. Just looking for a little hope because I feel like we're standing in quicksand and still slowly sinking compared to the rest of the league. Thanks for your time.

Bowen: The rumored money on Hankins is north of $10 million per year. That's a whole chunk of change that the Colts have shied away from dishing out in free agency. Does the signing of Al Woods end any more interior defensive line moves for the Colts in 2017? It's clear Chris Ballard's approach in free agency was/is to bring in quantity over serious high end quality. He wanted to address competition at several spots and not just spend his budget on a guy or two. The days of truly spending a lot of money on a nose tackle seem to be dwindling with teams going to more and more sub packages. We will see if the Colts feel the need to continue to bolster their DL depth.

Anthony O. (Springfield, MO)

Hey Kevin I hope your off-season is going well. I'm sure you, like many others, would like it to go by faster and get back to game days haha. So as of right now Poe signed with the Falcons on a one year deal for 8mill, why is it the Colts wouldn't bring him in on one year for that low of a price tag? Also, I've heard Zach Brown having visits with the Colts and also Hankins being tied as a good fit for the Colts as well, any news or your thoughts on if the Colts could grab them? Thanks for your time and hope all is well.

Bowen: Remember, this is free agency. The player can pick where he wants to go, too. There are reports of the Colts offering Poe a significant long-term deal, and a one-year contract as well. If your Poe, teaming up with the defending NFC Champions, who had a clear interior defensive line need, isn't too crazy. The other questions are answered throughout the mailbag.

Dominic W. (Virginia)

Hey Kevin, do you think the Colts would draft Desmond King in the 2nd or 3rd round? I think he has a lot of potential being a safety or a zone cornerback.

Bowen: If the Colts don't go cornerback in Round One, I could see King being in play at some point. A lot of it will depend on how the Colts view King directly for their scheme. Man-to-man ability is something the Colts have coveted strongly in the past for their corners.

Max B. (Indiana)

I believe that Frank Gore has a few more years and we should wait a year or two to get a running back to take over. I do believe in Kareem Hunt in one of are fourth round picks I have seen film and he looks good thoughts. Also could we trade back to get Charles Harris what do you think.

Bowen: Some people have Charles Harris squarely in the middle of the first round. Trading back for him might be too risky. I say this because pass rushers usually start coming off the board earlier than other positions. That might be playing with fire in trying to trade back for the Missouri pass rusher.

Phil M. (Manistique, MI)

Hello Kevin, Appreciate what you do to help us Colt fans stay tuned in. My question is actually about the punter we signed from Minnesota. Now I believe in giving every player a shot. But this guy's numbers are just simply bad. Granted we were spoiled with McAfee and finding another punter like him may not be easy. But this guy was just terrible last year and there is no reason to think that being a year older is going to improve those numbers. I wish the Colts had taken some more time to evaluate what's out there as far as punters go. Whether it's via the draft or Free Agency. Many games can be won or lost with special teams play. I can only hope that our new punter has some competition this spring. Because I don't hold out a lot of hope with his track record to date. Any thoughts ?

Bowen: In looking at Jeff Locke's numbers, he clearly doesn't have the leg that Pat McAfee had. Locke is more of a directional punter, controlling the return game with trying to pin opponents back inside the 20-yard line. Locke did have a team-record 34 punts inside the 20 last year. Locke was a former fifth-round pick, a very high selection for a punter. I'm not going to fret too much over how the Colts handled Pat McAfee's replacement. The free agency class didn't offer much. Who knows what the draft class looks like. Special teams coordinator Tom McMahon has history finding kickers that have gone on to kick elsewhere, so it's probably best to trust him in bringing Locke to Indianapolis.

Pedro K. (Belo Horizonte, Brazil)

Hey Kevin, how are you doing?
Big fan of the mailbag but it's been a long time since I've last written. Looks like D. Poe is most likely to sign with the Falcons, so I was wondering what do you think are the chances of us going after J. Hankins instead? Plus, do you think we could still sign a FA ILB (K. Minted or Z. Brown) and re-sign D. Butler? In my opinion these 3 moves could set us up pretty well for the draft where we could add an OLB and a CB in the first 2 rounds and then add depth to the defense (ILB, S, maybe another CB) and get a RB in the 4th round to groom behind F. Gore. What do you think?
Thanks and GO COLTS!!

Bowen: Pedro, we get into a lot of your inquiries throughout the mailbag. I agree whole heartedly with your thoughts on the draft in terms of positions. I also still believe the Colts could find an inside linebacker in free agency. As of now, only 12 career starts return at the inside linebacker position.

Adam S. (Lafayette, IN)

In order to spare you from yet another mock draft, I've instead prioritized the positions of need. 7 positions of need, 1 for each pick we have in the draft.

1A: OLB (I like Sheard & Simon but we need a pure pass rusher.)
1B: CB (I could see the Colts taking two CBs in this draft.)
2: LB (I thought Morrison & Jackson played ok, but our run defense needs all the help it can get.)
3: S (Lack of depth, especially without Adams and possibly Butler.)
4: RB (Lack of depth/need for next year.)
5: NT (We don't have a true NT on the roster.)
6. OL (You can never have enough good lineman.)

Surprisingly after looking at the roster, I think having another Safety is a need. Last year, Geathers got injured and Green was inconsistent. Both guys showed flashes and could end up as one of the better Safety tandems in the league. I personally don't see Geathers moving to LB, which would leave us in even worse shape at Safety. I'd like to see us bring back Butler. If that doesn't happen, then Safety would jump LB for the second spot. I have RB at 4 because I think we'll be fine with Gore and Turbin this year. Most positions need a year to get settled, outside of RB's. Look what Elliot did last year. That's why I think we could wait and look to our future RB next year. What are your thoughts on my list?

Bowen: This would be just fine for me come late April. You have safety maybe a little higher than I would, although I think you sent this in before Butler was re-signed.

Tim G. (Oxford, MA)

Hey Kevin, kinda a weird question but how come you don't see college kids come into the NFL with new positions. I mean it happens all the time from high school to college. Running backs becoming lbs or safeties. Wide receiver turned corner. Sometimes even throughout their collegiate career they switch up. So realistically my question is how come coaches don't really try turning players into new roles, an example, why not turn outside linebackers into middle linebackers? Is the transition really that difficult in the pros? I just think it would help in terms of having more speed on the field. What are your thoughts?

Bowen: This is a good question. I think it's because body types are so raw when players exit high school and head into a college program (strength and conditioning being a huge point). Plus, in college you can have a redshirt year and a developmental season. That's not the case in the pros really. Time is ticking in the professional game.

Dave L. (Colchester, VT)

HI Kevin. I like reading the mailbag My QUESTIONS for the week are about the offense (surprised). Did Andrew Luck get picked to the pro bowl team last year? Did Luck have a good season last year? What does he need to do to improve his play? What do the Colts need to do to help him and the offense improve? How high do you rank our offense 1-32 prior to the draft? Thank for your time.

Bowen: Andrew Luck was chosen as an alternate, but did not participate in the game. I thought Luck's 2016 season was probably the second best of his career. He improved his efficiency and had a career-high completion percentage. The offense and Luck can improve through overall consistency (limit the turnovers, better line protection, etc.). I see the offense having the potential to be a definite top-10 unit.

Trey D. (Indiana)

What do you think of drafting a corner in round one at fifteen and trading are second round pick and Two fourth round picks to trade into the 25-30 range and get an elite pass rusher. Then we would get someone to line up opposite to Vontae Davis and get a pass rusher for the future. Thoughts?

Bowen: I understand where you're coming from with this, but you are gouging the rest of your draft haul with this trade. I think the Colts have more than just two needs in the draft. Yes, you are taking care of the biggest needs, but I wouldn't want to do that to a draft with so many picks in the first four rounds. This is a deep enough outside linebacker/cornerback draft to take your time and get quality in the following rounds.

Carter J. (Indiana)

After what happened at the combine how far do you think Reuben Foster will fall. If he fell that far should b=we pull the trigger. Did Ballard give any info on how Andrew is doing.

Bowen: I do not think Foster will fall all the way to No. 15. He's way too talented to drop that far. No update on Andrew Luck. The franchise quarterback is out of his sling. We will find out next month just how much the Colts will have Luck during the team's offseason program.

Kade M. (Texas)

Could you see Clayton Geathers being able to play an OLB position?

Bowen: Outside linebacker? I can't see a move there. Maybe some reps at the inside position on passing downs though. That's where I can see Geathers more used in sub packages.

Jordan C. (Washington, D.C.)

How you doing Kevin

I wanted to know what do you think of this draft if we sign MLB

Round 1 we trade Washington for the 17 and second round pick we draft :Tim Williams 
Round 2:Kevin king
Round 2:(wsh trade) Ryan Anderson
Round3: Evan Ingram
Round4: Jamal Williams
Round4:Eddie Jackson
Round4: darreus rodgers

Bowen: If you are trading just two spots back in the first round, I don't think you're getting an additional second-round pick. That's just not happening.

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