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Colts Mailbag

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Colts Mailbag Weekend Edition: Will The Colts Add A Taller Wide Receiver This Offseason?

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).

Justin R. (Haymarket, VA)

Hey Kevin, I was wondering if you had any updates on how everyone is doing in their rehab process? Haven't heard anything on Geathers or Mewhort.

Bowen: Justin, hopefully those will come next week. Chris Ballard will meet the media down at the Combine on Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. Chuck Pagano will follow on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. It would be nice to get some updates on Clayton Geathers, Jack Mewhort and even a timetable for Andrew Luck this offseason.

Nick V. (Shafter, CA)

Hi Kevin, my question this week is why do you think the colts should pass up on Dalvin Cook for us if he's there? I know we preach getting defense in the draft, but look at it this way. We sign a FA OL, maybe a FA LB or DT, and then from rounds 2-7 we go defense in the draft. A first round defensive player can be good for us, but you have to think we're not going to be SB contenders next year. Getting Dalvin and maybe signing Turbin can do a lot for us offensively to where we won't even have to focus on Offense next year (besides re-signing Mewhort and Moncrief) what're your thoughts? Thank you once again! GO COLTS

Bowen: There are questions on Cook. He’s not a slam dunk. Off-the-field issues, injuries and some fumbling problems are questions on the Florida State running back. Why I keep on saying defense over running back comes from looking at draft history. Of the NFL’s top ten rushers last season, only one was taken in the first 47 picks of the draft. Past history shows that you can find immediate running back contributors without spending a first-round pick. At wideout, of the top ten receivers last year, only two weren’t selected in the first or second round. More often than not, you can find productive backs in the latter rounds. That’s not the case at other positions. The same risk can’t be taken on defense. You have very few building pieces on defense right now. That needs to change. One of the easier ways to do it is by spending high draft capitol on that side of the ball.

Rob D. (Fremont, IN)

Kevin,
Thanks for the time and effort you put into taking/answering our questions!
My question pertains to the age old philosophy “need or best available”.
I laughed last year when many of the local “experts”, said that the Colts did the right thing by choosing a pressing need instead of choosing the best player available (not implying it was you). I distinctly remember watching a show the night before the draft on ESPN with members of each team’s local press each picking the player they thought their team would pick. In this show, Bill Polian kept saying “Ryan Kelley is a player that has not been selected that I have as a top 8 talent”. It was then that I felt, wow this might be one of those exceptionally rare years where the stars align and need plus best player available perfectly fall into place.
The longer I watch the NFL, the more I lean towards “best player available”. Of course nothing is quite as black and white as that statement is, and that is where my question stems from.
With their 1st round pick, I believe the Colts need to trust their Scouting and choose between “impact defensive playmaker” (regardless of position) and a “transcendent talent” at the running back (i.e. Zeke Elliot) position (of course providing they feel one of these are available). My reasoning here is in line with writers that say “Andrew Luck’s play has covered up many of the Colt’s flaws”. With Football being the consummate team sport, a true “playmaker” on either side of the ball can elevate the level of their teammates and make up for many other player’s weaknesses. When I look at our defense, there is not a single position / player without question marks. Clayton Geathers (Health/games missed), Vonte Davis (Health/age), Henry Anderson (Knee), with the others either play not being to the level needed or just being old.
Beyond the first round, obviously the chance of hitting on a true playmaker is very slim (just being lucky). Because the chance of hitting on a playmaker becomes slim at this point, this is where you may “lean” a little more towards need. For instance, our scouting has 2 players graded very close to the same. Player “A” is graded ever so slightly higher than player “B”. Player “B” happens to be at the position of greatest need on our team and player “A” plays a position that has several solid players on the team. With all else being equal or close to it, I say you go with the need (player “B”). It all depends on the degree of separation you have between the players and what you are comfortable with.
What are your thoughts on need vs best available?

Bowen: Ahh, it’s been a while since we’ve had the whole “need vs. best player available” question. We could talk about this for years. My thinking is this. On your board, you list the prospects 1-to-undraftable. You also have your positional needs ranked. When you’re on the clock, you look at the BPA list and combine that with your needs to take the “best player available at a position of need.” That’s the philosophy I would go with. If you have a quarterback as the highest ranked player in Round One and he’s still there when the Colts are on the clock, there’s no way you are picking him. So that’s kind of my thinking.

Esteban S. (San Jose, Costa Rica)

Hello Kevin. I know this days a lot of questions are related to the NFL draft. But free agency is around the corner. My question is how aggressive will be the new GM is the open market? Considering the team may resign Jack Doyle and Darious Butler. That will leave enough cap room to take one high profile player like Donta Hightower

Bowen: This is a great question. We honestly don’t know how aggressive Chris Ballard is going to be. I do think there’s reasonable cap space available to add a couple of starting caliber pieces. Ballard doesn’t want to go on a spending spree in free agency, but he has to realize that upgrades are needed.

Mike D. (Atlanta)

Why aren't the colts investing in taller receivers that can go up and get the ball. This will help Luck have more success in completion and less interception. As a fan watching the game I can see that luck's ball placement cause be a issue do to the short receiving core. The Colts need taller receivers to help Luck

Bowen: Isn’t Donte Moncrief tall/physical enough? Moncrief is a red-zone weapon for this team and has used his size to make plays inside the 10-yard line. I just don’t see where in the off-season plan the Colts have room to go acquire a taller receiver, via free agency or through the draft. Maybe Chris Ballard can find a way, but it’s not an obvious one.

Alex H. (Stockton, CA)

Kevin thank you for answering back to back questions for me. I apologize for being unclear at the end of my last question. To clarify I know Ballard preaches defense and that you "cannot" buy a locker room. But with so many issues to be addressed do you think during this first offseason of his he will attempt one big player in FA just to jump start us back into playoff contention?

I think D'Qwell Jackson was cut mostly due to his age. He's still a tackling machine and could help another team, but his speed has regressed. Ballard said he wants to be younger on defense. I don't think he will be the last to be cut either. Once they figure out what to do at the safety position I think they will be able to take that next step with which players to look at via free agency and the draft. I think Art Jones could be on his way out. Big contract, injury plagued, and barely any production. Do you think Colts could cut their ties with Adam's and have Darius Butler take over and have him start alongside Geathers while also drafting a safety in later rounds maybe John Johnson out of Boston College?

Thanks Kevin. BTW I really like the double mailbag!

Bowen: I don’t think Ballard is going to completely ignore free agency. You have too many needs just to pass on FA. In looking at the safety future for 2017, I do think Darius Butler could be a starter here. Butler is 30 years old in 2017, but he’s much younger than Adams. We saw Butler get a lot of run at safety last season and the reviews were pretty good on that experiment. With Butler starting back there, you would have a nice veteran presence playing alongside Clayton Geathers.

Jacob R. (Zionsville, IN)

Kevin What are your thoughts of possibly drafting a Cam Robinson or a similar player to start at RT in round 2? I think for first round we should definitely go for ILB such as Foster or OLB McKinley/Williams.
I also think we should go after a big NT later on such as Tupou. Thanks for answering!

Bowen: When looking at offensive linemen in the draft, I think the Colts can wait until the final day to find a development type guy. You took Le’Raven Clark in Round Three. Shouldn’t it be time to give him the reigns at right tackle, after he showed some promise there last year? That’s my thinking, while you focus the draft primarily on the defense.

Bruce C. (East Hampton, NY)

As we all eagerly await draft picks and free agency moves orchestrated by our new GM - It's the time of year I digest many speculative articles - many are based on position needs. On the subject of TE - most saying J. Doyle performance last year will make it tough for COLTS to afford him. I guess its a given the COLTS will keep D. ALLEN? - I have pulled for and believe has great skills- but he just hasn't performed- Injuries + key drops have plagued him. Getting to the point of my email - Why is Mo Alie-Cox not being considered more seriously by the pundits? and i guess my question is ultimately where do the COLTS value him? Also - how do the three of these players contracts compare (signed through) - is dropping D. ALLEN an option? and would it allow colts to keep doyle AND swoope? and is swoope far enough along in his football development for this type of responsibility?I thought he showed some real potential last year. SORRY FOR THE LONG WINDED QUESTION!

Bowen: This is a question we’ve seen a few times in various mailbags. Your counter questions answer why I don’t think releasing Dwayne Allen is something that will happen. Erik Swoope had a really nice 2016. I still think it’s a little early to all of a sudden give Swoope the keys to the car. He’s still so young in his football experience. Rob Chudzinski wants to use two tight ends a lot, so having three talented guys is probably needed. I just don’t think the Colts are in that big of a cap issue to need to cut money via Allen’s contract.

Steve I. (Ohio)

Hello Mr. Bowen! I read your mailbags every chance I get and I am extremely grateful for them. 

My question centers (pun intended) on the o-line. It seems as if other fans are panicking about our line, asking to move Castonzo or picking up a big name in free agency for the right side of the line. We have 8 linemen rarin' to go with consistent competition at all positions. Am I missing something? I know we have young guys but I feel like we should give them and Philbin a chance to develop rather than give up, especially with the improvement in sacks (if not in hits on Luck) in the second half of the season. 

Thank you!

Bowen: I don’t think your missing anything, Steve. We are of the same belief when it comes to the assessment of the offensive line. Let. Those. Guys. Grow. I’d be fine with an offensive lineman being taken on the final day of the draft in an effort to try and grab another Joe Haeg/swing tackle option. That’s how I look at the offensive line this offseason with Haeg and Le’Raven Clark having the leg up on the open right side starting spots.

Brett H. (Aledo, TX)

Great job Kevin, and much thanks for answering our Colts' questions. I'm a long time Colts fan from Ft. Worth Texas (since Johnny U.) My question is about player motivation, as I watch New England year after year get the job done with many unknown or unproven players who suddenly become great while playing for the Pats. I know Bill Belichick must have some amazing secret of how to get all his players to put in their very best effort, and become great while playing for him. In your opinion, how does he do it, and why cant other teams duplicate his success? Also, if Dalvin Cook were still available at the Colts' pick, wouldn't you at least give him a look? It seems to me a great back that could move the chains could do much to take some pressure off our sad D. I know we need just about everything on this side of the ball, still he would be hard to pass on. Look what happened to the Cowboys after taking Elliott in round 1.

Bowen: I was reading an article earlier this week that touched on this sort of question. One thing they lined out about New England’s philosophy was how they do a great job of scouting inside/out. They find players that match exactly what they are looking for. To answer why other teams can’t do it, I’ve got nothing. If I did, I’d probably have a far more important job. With Cook, you definitely give him a look and your normal background check. I just think the pros far outweigh the cons if the right type of defender is there, along with Cook.

Kole N. (Ontario, Canada)

Hey Kevin! First timer here . I've read a lot of these mailbags and would like to thank you for letting us Colts fans unload our Fandom on to you, and keeping it professional and honest.

I want to talk about Ryan Kelly 
One thing that stood out to me through out his rookie season is his discipline .
I can only recall one false start penalty. Maybe you could clarify exactly how many penalties Ryan received? because I know it wasn't many. I hate watching great plays and seeing them called back for holding which happened to us so often before Ryan specially in the run game. Does pff take discipline into account when grading offensive linemen ? 
I also noticed that when jack mewhort was in he would be slapping Ryans leg pre snap . Would this be the snap count to help the rookie ? It was only jack no other linemen when jack got hurt. So i'm wondering if you could explain what that is . 
Just say a bunch of good things about Ryan Kelly lol.

Thanks ! Let's see if this question makes the cut

Bowen: Kole, thanks for checking in. Glad you enjoy it. Per Pro Football Focus, Ryan Kelly was whistled for three penalties in 1,018 snaps. PFF does take that into account when grading a player. Seeing the left guard hit the center to signal the snap is something we see all around the NFL, especially in road environments. I don’t think the rookie aspect of Kelly has anything to do with the snap count pat of the leg. When Jon Harrison was in there, maybe he didn’t have the left guard experience to take on that part of the role.

Jeffrey K. (Colquitt, GA)

Hey Kevin I got some more questions and ideas for you. Over the years I've noticed Coach Pagano try to build our defense similar to the old Ravens team he was on and it failed miserably due to poor drafting,free agent busts,lack of discipline etc but it wasn't all his fault former GM Ryan Grigson was at major fault as well. Now that we have a new GM and he comes from one of the best divisions in the NFL. Do you think that he will build our defense similar to the ones in the AFC WEST or do you think he will just start over and convince Pagano to switch schemes? Dont get me wrong the 3-4 scheme is useful but we lack key playmakers to run a good 3-4 defense. We lack a dominant NT,Pass Rushers,Coverage LB's and a solid #2 CB. I think we should switch back to a 4-3 defense We won a Superbowl with that scheme why not swich back to it? We have some players who could possibly thrive in a 4-3 here are some of my ideas.

1.Draft DE Derek Barnett in the 1st round.
2.Move Clayton Geathers to OLB.
3.Move TJ Green to SS.
4.Draft Tim Williams/TJ Watt/Jared Davis if one falls to the 2nd round and play OLB.
5.Start Antonio Morrison at MIKE LB.
6. Sign NT Johnathan Hankins/Dontari Poe and CB Stephon Gilmore/AJ Bouye in free agency if either one is available and at right price.
7.Draft DE Daeshon Hall.
8.Re-sign CB/S Darius Butler
9.Draft another tall rangy FS.
10.Release Mike Adams,Arthur Jones,Trent Cole and Erik Walden. 

I know my list is long but I know if we can at least do half of that we can be successful. The free agents I've named are still young and can be part of the rebuild for our defense and can get one or two at a bargain price.

Thanks for your time Kevin have a great day.

Bowen: There’s been zero indication of this defense changing systems. The GM isn’t going to make a scheme change. That’s on the coaches and the 3-4 background is still going to be used in Indianapolis. While the 3-4 personnel currently on the roster needs some tweaks, you would hit a big restart button to switch to the 4-3 in 2017. If the Colts can find a more consistent pass rush and secure the middle of their defense, it should see quicker improvements compared to a complete scheme overhaul.

Howard M. (Kendallville, IN)

Hi Kevin

I was really excited to renew my season tickets today! I think this year is where we head in the right direction. I know that hopefully we can get some new players that will be giving their all for 4 quarters of football. It has been really disappointing to watch us come out of the tunnel excited then shut it down when we start playing. I know there is not an easy answer, but what causes us to play flat in the first half?

Bowen: Howard, I wish I had an answer for you. It’s so difficult to pinpoint why the Colts have struggled with sluggish starts. Just a general lack of execution leads to the slow starts. The Colts actually outscored their opponents 84-66 in the first quarter this past season. They averaged 5.2 points in the first quarter, which was good for 11th in the league. So, while the inconsistency has been there, the Colts aren’t in the bottom half of the league in points during the opening quarter.

Zac N. (Indiana)

Kevin, I hope you're enjoying this weather! I have two questions. #1: Can the Colts afford to sign Jack Doyle to a new contract? By afford I mean would it be in the best interest of the team. I know he had a great year last year and I love watching him play. He is the epitome of a Colt, but is it smart to pay him to a decent-sized deal with him backing up Dwayne Allen? That's my big red flag. #2: If Melvin Ingram, Chandler Jones, and the other top edge rushers get the franchise tag, should the Colts risk signing guys like Nick Perry from Green Bay, or Jason Pierre Paul from the Giants in free agency? Or, should they spend their money elsewhere? Much thanks. Have a nice weekend!

Bowen: 1. I think they can. Doyle could be highly sought after in free agency and the Colts already have Dwayne Allen on a big contract at tight end. I get the “red flag” thinking, but the Colts should have enough room in cap space to bring Doyle back to his hometown. 2. Perry would make a lot of sense for what the Colts need. You have to be smart in free agency. Yet you can’t ignore the need to upgrade the talent at outside linebacker.

Terry W. (Ocklawaha, FL)

With Luck's shoulder a question mark, what do you think about picking up Nick Foles? He would be a vast improvement over what we have now and much needed if Luck can't go for an extended period of time. Also if the Colts were to pick a free agent DT, who do you think would be the best available at that position?

Bowen: You don’t have the resources to make such a move. I thought Scott Tolzien was more than adequate in his one game of action last season. Plus, Tolzien knows this offense very well. Foles is going to be pricey with Tolzien still under contract. Brandon Williams and Dontari Poe are two interesting names to me on the free agent market.

Buck H. (Iowa)

My question is do you thin Ridgeway did enough to consider a starting role this year

Bowen: Hassan Ridgeway. Talk about a name we haven’t really analyzed too much this offseason. Ridgeway is a definite potential piece of the defensive future and a starter at some point. When healthy, I think Henry Anderson and Kendall Langford are your starters up front, with the nose tackle David Parry. Ridgeway is still going to have a role up front. I thought Ridgeway showed some flashes late in the season to being a starter in the NFL. We will see if more of it arises in his second NFL season.

Thomas G. (Tucson, AZ)

How are you doing today Mr Bowen? I have a few questions I'm not big on making my own mock draft. I know In round 1 we need a guy who can come in and make an impact. We have good rb threw out the draft. My main question is about Kareem hunt I know he's not a first round pick. I'm thinking he'll call maybe 2-4 like I said I'm not so good at mock drafts. But what's the chances of him falling too us. He looks good from the highlights and films I've seen. and my second question is Melvin Ingram I think the Colts take a chance on him and Poe. I think that's all we should really go after. I know we have cap room but I also know the Colts think ahead to upcoming contracts. Whats your take on those 3 players? Thank you for your time Mr Bowen. I hope you have have good rest of your week and weekend. Thank you

Bowen: I’m good, Thomas. Thanks for asking. You could make plenty of pros for all of those guys joining the Colts. Let’s focus on Dontari Poe with this question. When looking at the defensive personnel for the Colts, one of the most differing aspects of the 3-4 look in Indianapolis is the size of the nose tackle. David Parry is listed (perhaps generously?) at 6-2 and 310 pounds. Most 3-4 nose tackles are closer to Poe’s size (6-3 and 346 pounds). Does that lead Ballard to wanting to get a bigger body for the middle of his defensive front?

Adam H. (Lafayette, IN)

I’m curious to get your opinion on my take of what an ideal Colt’s free agency would look like.

  1. Resign Doyle, Turbin & Butler. I think Butler is too versatile not to bring back. On re-signing Doyle, Irsay has preached about re-signing “home grown talent” to their 2nd contract.

  2. It’s time to cut Arthur Jones and save another $5 million in Cap space. We’d then have $60 million to work with.

  3. Ballard should land a good young OLB like Ingram or Hightower in free agency. Grigson’s cheap free agents on 2 year deals often didn’t pan out. This year we need a defensive difference maker in free agency and we’ll likely have to pay for it.

  4. If we can’t land an OLB then we need to land Williams or Poe at NT. If we can’t land a NT then going after a top CB would be the next best thing. We’d also then need to either re-sign Walden or sign Perry. We can’t go through free agency without adding at least one capable pass rusher. 

  5. If we have the funds left I think Calais Campbell would be a good signing. I now he’s over 30 but I think pairing him with Langford & Parry would make for a disruptive DL. I also think adding a solid young WR like Kendal Wright would make a lot of sense. He’d be a good 3rd option if Dorsett doesn’t develop.

Bowen: Numbers two and five are my big questions. Unless something changes in the next week or so, Art Jones looks to be returning. His body type is more in the mold of a 3-4, compared to some other defensive linemen on the roster. Does Ballard want to give Jones another chance to have a healthy season, with the team not really cap strung? With the last point, I’d be very weary of bringing in any free agents around the age of 30. This defense has to get younger and spending a lot of outside money on guys of that age would be polar opposite in that thinking.

Andrew E. (Lafayette, IN)

Hey kevin havent written in for a while, want to say I appreciate the mail bag especially this time of year. Ahhh mock draft season, it all seems a lip silly to speculate before the combine but what else can we do. I dont wanna waste your time asking the same questions over and over that we read every week, so im goin to pose a question in a different way. I am with you where I see pass rush as our biggest need, that being said these mock drafts with cook going to is seem awful tempting. My first question is what would have to happen in free agency and predraft, pre first round moves for you to feel comfortable taking dalvin cook with our first pick rather than an olb or de? Second question is I see people submit mock drafts with a compensatory pick in there, do we know for sure how many we will get and in what rounds yet, or are people just guessing only one extra pick around fourth round? Thanks for the time in reading this and thanks for the mail bag.

Bowen: Welcome back, Andrew. Okay, a different way in asking the Dalvin Cook question. Honestly, I don’t see what could be done in free agency to where you address the defense enough, via talent upgrade and getting younger. Free agency just doesn’t offer that. It’s a complicated process of adding talent for a reason. The draft is a better option financially and age wise. Throughout this mailbag, I’ve mentioned various reasons as to why I think defense is the smarter play in Round One. With the compensatory pick, I’m sure you saw it on Friday. The Colts have been granted one in Round Four, a big piece to the off-season puzzle.

Michael Q. (Indianapolis)

It's been a while since I've written. I feel as though many people are sleeping on the colts and for good reason, I get it, but I do not believe we are that far from contending again and I would go as far to say that I believe that we can contend this year. Our Offensive line showed a lot of growth toward the end of the year. I'm excited about the potential of Clark and Haeg who will only get better. If we make the right moves on defense through the draft with some free agency sprinkled in, we will be right back in the mix. 25-0 when the colts D holds the opponents under 19 points in the Andrew Luck era is amazing. What I want to know is how far away do YOU feel we are as an organization to be considered Super Bowl contenders again? Thanks for listening. I always enjoy the weekly mailbag.

Bowen: It’s going to take a couple of impact defenders and just more consistent offensive line play before this team can truly be considered a Super Bowl contender. Can the Colts get that in one offseason? How quickly can the Colts jump from the 30th ranked defense into a middle of the pack unit? The offense isn’t far away. At all. But the defense needs some big changes before the Colts can compete with the Patriots for the AFC crown.

Ben O. (Martin, TN)

Hi Kevin,
I have made 2 different scenarios for the Colts offseason. I would love to hear how you feel about both scenarios. Also, I would love to know which scenario you would prefer to happen. In both scenarios I left enough room in our cap to be able to sign Moncrief and Mewhort next season. Depending on if we cut Arthur Jones or make him restructure his contract we still might have enough money to go after a big name corner like Stephon Gilmore (possible $14.6M cap hit) but I just don’t see Ballard going that heavy into free agency with the scenarios that I have made. Thanks for doing the mail bag twice a week it always makes me excited on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s to see your responses! As always, GO COLTS!!!
Scenario 1:
Resign: Jack Doyle and Darius Butler
Zach brown- 4yr- $18M- $4.5M cap hit
Melvin Ingram- 5yr- $86.4M- $17.3 M cap hit
1st round- Dalvin Cook
2nd round- Ryan Anderson
3rd Round- Eddie Jackson/ Best CB available
Scenario 2
Zack Brown- 4 yr - $18M- $4.5M cap hit
Kawann Short- 5 yr- $87M- $17.4M cap hit / Dontari Poe 5yr- $60.6M-$12.1M cap hit
Resign: Jack Doyle and Darius Butler and possibly Erik Walden if the price doesn’t get to high

1st round- trade back in the 1st round to late 20s for additional 2nd round pick and select Derek Barnett/ Tim Williams
2nd round- D'Onta Foreman
2nd round- Ryan Anderson
3rd Round- Eddie Jackson/ Best CB available

Bowen: Ben, I really enjoy the mailbag and love your dedication each week. Both enticing scenarios with some pros and cons. I’d probably lean more towards the second. You really bolster your defensive interior through free agency and then address the edge during the draft. That second scenario is very intriguing to me. With the first one, I see pluses to it, but, as you read the mailbag, you know my general thoughts on taking Dalvin Cook in Round One. You still have a pretty good defensive group around him though. Nice work.

Michael M. (Indianapolis)

Hi, Kevin. I hope you've enjoyed this beautiful weather recently. 

I just read an article about potential breakout candidates at the Combine and it mentioned Utah runningback Joe Williams. I loved his story with taking a break from football for mental health reasons and coming back to finish the season at a high level. My question is, what round would you expect someone like him fall to in the draft given his shortened career and do you think he could make a difference with a team like the Colts?

As always, I appreciate your answers in the mailbag even when they're not directed to my question!

Bowen: Good news, the weather is looking to get back into the 60s next week as the NFL descends upon Indianapolis for the Combine. I loved watching Williams during Utah’s bowl win over IU. I think he would fit exactly what I’m thinking the Colts should do with a running back. He’s projected to be more of a middle-round guy and has the attributes of a lead back at the next level.

Scott G. (Iowa)

I'll keep my question short this week. I was listening to SiriusXM NFL radio and the had A.J. Klein from the Panthers is a free agent. He says he prefers to play inside linebacker, so is he a guy that Ballard may look at as a free agency pick up? I know he doesn't have many starts, but it's hard to when you play behind one of the best in the league.

Bowen: You would think Klein is going to be looking for a chance to compete for a starting job. The Colts should have that sort of opportunity. Now, it’s up to Chris Ballard and company to deem if Klein is that guy. It would be a cheaper option and allow for the Colts to spend bigger dollar elsewhere.

Roberto S. (San Francisco)

Hello Kevin, A question came to thought that caught my attention and I thought I'd ask you. 

Before the draft, several teams seem to hold private workouts with players they are interested in. My question is can a current player on the Colts help with the workout? For example: can a guy like Castonzo go head to head with a pass rusher to see if he is capable of succeeding in the NFL or is that not allowed?

Bowen: He cannot. The CBA doesn’t allow for that. Everything is voluntary during the offseason outside of a three-day minicamp and then Training Camp.

Tyler T. (New Castle, IN)

Hey Kevin. How's it going? Draft question(of course). I know that you are 100% on drafting a 1st round pass rusher. I am the same way. Let's say Ballard is wanting a corner though. In a perfect world, and every single corner is still on the board who is your favorite and why? Jones? Teez? Personally, I'm and huge Tabor fan and think he fits the mold for a long, physical guy. Thanks again!

Bowen: Probably one of the Florida guys. I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent set on outside linebacker. Cornerback would be up there, just not as high. With a corner, you help the pass rush, while also easing the transition for the future at that position. I’d be okay with a cornerback in Round One.

Tyler S. (Coggon, IA)

If we go defense in the draft come April, im thinking we trade down to mid twenties (like trade with the Giants) then take Takkarist McKinley with that pick. I had just had this idea and wanted your opinion on it.

Have a great week.

Bowen: I could get behind this sort of trade down. As long as you think McKinley can come in and make an immediate impact. His potential shoulder surgery timeframe of 5-to-6 months has to be a concern though. My only worry with trading down is that you run the risk of passing up a Day One contributor on defense. But if the board is a bit barren when the Colts get on the clock, then trading back is one way to address several needs.

Matthew V. (Indianapolis)

Hi Kevin, I have a couple questions for you. 1. What do you think the Colts will do with Art Jones and Hugh Thornton? Cut them, sign them, rework contracts?
2. How would you approach the effort to find a punter/holder/KO specialist?
Thanks.

Bowen: 1. As of right now, it looks like Art Jones (who is under contract through 2018) will be back. I don’t see where Hugh Thornton’s puzzle piece can slide into the offensive line makeup. A combination of injuries and inconsistent play isn’t a good recipe for Thornton entering free agency. 2. I’d be fine with them going either free agency or a seventh-round pick to find a multi-faceted punter.

Austin S. (Connersville, IN)

Hi Kevin, it's always a pleasure reading your responses to questions. Sorry but these questions may be a little long but I would really love your input.
1. Free agency can tremendously help the Colts. Colts must resign Doyle. He is too valuable to let go. Also, what do you think about Colts signing Bouye and Ingram? These two can really help structure the defense.
2. I also believe the Colts must resign Butler. What do you think about Colts moving him to a safety alongside Geathers? We saw flashes of brilliance with him at safety against the Packers. Another wild scenario I thought of was moving Geathers to a LB and having TJ Green, or resigning Adams to play alongside Butler at safety. I see Geathers of having the ability to play the LB position quite well with his covering and tackling skills.
3. My last question is what in the world are the Colts going to do in the first round? More than half the mock drafts I have viewed projected Colts drafting Cook. Though Colts do need more help on the defensive side of the ball, they can benefit from drafting a running back of Cook's caliber. As I see it, having someone like Cook can take the pressure off Luck and can reduce the amount of hits he takes (Honestly the Colts biggest concern is Luck's health). Sort of what Edgerrin James did for Peyton. On top of that, I believe Cook could be a great running back for the Colts years to come. Colts also can address defense needs in free agency to make the Cook pick happen.

Bowen: 1. I think Ingram is more likely than Bouye. When looking at Bouye, he could be in for a major pay day as probably the top corner hitting the open market. Both are going to take quite the pay day to lure them to Indianapolis. I just see Ingram has more of a fit. 2. I like that idea. I think Butler has a chance to be a permeant starter at safety and gives you a high football IQ player facing the quarterback on every snap. T.J. Green’s development still needs to take some steps and I believe he can be involved in sub packages to get his speed on the field. 3. Nothing like another “Dalvin Cook first-round pick” question. When talking about improving the defense, you need to do it with some youth. The Colts have drafted 35 defenders since 2007. Only one defender has made it to his second contract with the Colts. That has to change. It means hitting on defensive draft picks.

Sam S. (Shelbyville, TN)

If you got to listen to Pats' podcast this week why did you think of it?

Bowen: When I saw a nearly three-hour podcast, I must admit I was a little surprised. It took me two days, but I did listen to it. About what I expected. I’ve seen McAfee perform before and have listened to him on Bob and Tom several times. He’s a great storyteller and is so quick on his feet. I’m curious to see how the podcast evolves going forward and the types of guests he will bring in.

  • 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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