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).Stan C. (Minneapolis)
Hey, Kevin! Thanks as always for all your hard work. More specifically, I've got to thank you for the GM candidate profiles you cranked out. Not all fans are familiar with those names, so it was really great of you to get all of those out promptly so people can have some context for the names they hear. As for my question, I was going to ask about FA, but the GM search got me curious about something.
Many people inside and outside the Colts community thought that the personnel management of Ryan Grigson was very hit-or-miss, both in FA and the draft. However (even before Grigson's firing), our now-interim GM Jimmy Raye III had been targeted by other franchises as a potential GM candidate (being asked to interview for the SF opening, for example), despite the checkered results of the team's talent acquisition efforts. While the GM/VP of football operations-types are often the ones in the front office spotlight, how much do other teams know who really pulls the strings in terms of talent evaluation (as opposed to the final "pull the trigger" or "my way or the highway" actions of GM's)?
Similarly, there are a ton of people in NFL franchises that work on scouting, salary cap management, etc. And yet, teams always seem to know which specific individuals within franchises are the hot names to take the next step. How does that work? There has to be more to it than simply saying "the Vikings have been assembling a talented roster, take any upper member of their staff". Why does George Paton stick out as opposed to any other critical member? I feel like egos would get in the way of saying "THIS guy is the one who REALLY works the engine room", and teams that want to keep talented folks in-house wouldn't call up teams to say "the GM is great, but THIS guy is his secret weapon". Take Raye, for example. He is regarded as a big factor in the UDFA signings of years past, while Grigson has also been widely associated with similar fringe signings. How do other teams get a feel for the true internal team dynamics? How do the Colts know who has the most transferable tools between directors of player personnel, football operations, pro personnel, associate GM's, etc l. of other franchises? Are teams really transparent about who controls what in their war rooms? Because everyone seems to know who is GM material and who is just an important role player in the front office. Thanks so much for any potential insight you may have!
Bowen: The sun rises from the east and Stan asks a very detailed question. The gist of this question is what I think makes it so difficult to find a successful GM and sift through the candidates. In scanning the list of general manager interviews for the Colts, I see some clear positives. You have guys that have turned down other interviews elsewhere, which is a good sign for how the Colts' gig is viewed around the NFL. This isn't a rebuild, like most GM openings. It's a reload with a franchise quarterback already in place. The other positive you see is the vast majority of these candidates have a rich history in working for organizations with draft success, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Now, you have no one with past GM experience, so that's probably the biggest drawback. It's virtually impossible to know just how much these guys are involved with their current organizations. Structures within various teams differ. Does the assistant GM in Indianapolis do the same thing as the assistant GM in Chicago? Probably not. You don't know how the responsibilities are divided up within a given organization. Does the GM handle the draft, salary cap and 53-man roster? Does the assistant have more say in a combination of those? Those are all questions the Colts must try and find some answers to in narrowing down the candidates. I wish I could give a better answer, but I would be lying if I said "there's a clear" candidate above the rest.
Karl W. (Kouts, IN)With the Super Bowl being a few days away, I started to think back to Super Bowl XLI, which we won during the 2006 season.
With the recent retirement of Robert Mathis, is Adam Vinatieri the only Colt still on the roster from that Super Bowl-winning team? Are there even any other players on the Colts roster that were in the league in the 2006 season?
Bowen: Yep. Adam Vinatieri is the lone remaining Colt from the 2006 Super Bowl team. In fact, Vinatieri, Pat McAfee, Anthony Castonzo and Joe Reitz are the only Colts left over from the pre-Chuck Pagano era. As far as other guys that were in the league in 2006, but playing elsewhere, Frank Gore, Trent Cole were both youngsters early in their NFL careers.
Evan P. (New Philly, OH)
Hey Kevin, I've got a mock draft here for you,
Round 1 - Derek Barnett, OLB, Tennessee
Round 2 - Adoree Jackson, CB, USC
Round 3 - Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson
Round 4 - Kendell Beckwith, ILB, LSU
Round 4 - Montravius Adams, NT, Auburn
Round 5 - Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama
Round 6 - Jehu Chesson, WR, Michigan
What do you think of this? Anything you would change? Thanks and of course, Go Colts!
Bowen: You've got some rather big names on this list. This would be quite the draft class for the Colts, taking care of several off-season needs with some of college football's best players. I must say, I'm not sure all these guys will drop to the round/position you have them going to in this mock. But I think a lot of fans could get behind this draft class.
Bill H. (Connecticut)
Do you think we should target Zach Brown in free agency, he was second in leading tackles in the NFL and is a great middle linebacker in coverage. Also what about targeting Bengals OG or, T Ricky Wagner because if you think the line is set it's not and adding to the right side would protect Andrew luck.
Bowen: I could see Zach Brown being a free agent name to watch for the Colts. Inside linebacker is a heavily debated position for what the Colts should do there in the offseason. An upgrade there is not out of the question at all, in my opinion. I still don't view offensive line as a major free agent need. Let the young guys grow up front, and concentrate your main off-season resources on defense.
Joe L. (Indiana)
What do you think we can if we trade Vontae Davis and Dwayne Allen together ? Second or third even if you don't agree tho they both got grades below 50 in pff and would free up around 15 mil in cap space.
Bowen: I just don't see that many positives in trading these guys. Did they have their ups and downs in 2016? Yes. But where would this defense be without Vontae Davis? All of a sudden the cornerback position would skyrocket up the off-season needs this. It's no guarantee the draft picks you are hoping to trade for would come in here and be immediate impact guys.
Joshua L. (Fort Still, OK)
What do you think the chances are that we draft Jabrill Peppers or Desmond King? And potentially a RB and Safety in the deeper rounds? I like Eddie Jackson from Alabama. Interested in your thoughts.
Bowen: I'd say King more than Peppers. King is more of a natural cornerback with Peppers not really having an exact position at the next level. Running back should come in the middle rounds. With safety, that's one I'm not too sure on in 2017. The Colts have so many safety specific questions to address in free agency (Mike Adams and Darius Butler are both free agents). This staff also must decide on how they will handle Clayton Geathers (a move to linebacker?) and T.J. Green (is he ready to start?) next season. I tend to think safety isn't a big need come draft time, but that's not a concrete answer.
John O. (Indianapolis)
Picking at 15,what are the chances of packaging moncreif and our second round pick to move up and get another quality defensive player in the first round?
Bowen: I'd be shocked if this happens. I look at Donte Moncrief as a key future piece for this team. If you did that, you would be putting a lot on Jacoby Brissett's shoulders. When Moncrief was out for a big chunk of last season, Dorsett surprisingly did not see his production rise. This offense needs Moncrief. You can still find a quality defender standing pat at No. 14 or No. 15 (where the Colts will exactly pick in April will be decided at the Combine).
Patrick T. (Germany)
And a quick follow up regarding free agency.
I know we are usually more conservative when it comes to FA signings – I'm not a big fan of throwing money around either. But I would like the Colts to invest into an OLB. Think about a Melvin Ingram (if he gets to FA) on the one side and our first round OLB on the other side… Sounds really got to me. :) But what do you (and more importantly the Colts Personnel Department) think about 10 million for one, but young and outstanding free agent?
Bowen: Well, this is a question that will be decided by one of the six general manager candidates being interviewed. I do think the Colts have the cap room to sign two starting caliber defenders through free agency. Again, we just don't know what the exact approach is going to be for the next general manager. But there should be enough in the bank to bring back the key in-house free agents, while also going out on the free market and signing a starter or two.
Omer H. (Indiana)
If Ruben Foster and Derek Barnett are gone when the colts pick do you believe we should take Dalvin Cook or trade down to the bottom of the draft and select Demarcus Walker or a Corner because they would most likely be there and the corner class is deep and taking one in the first round would be a good idea, giving us more picks in the second and third by trading down for help feel needs basing off this deep draft class
Bowen: It's hard to just leave it at "if two players aren't there, what should the Colts do?" What if one of the top cornerbacks in the draft is still there in Round One for the Colts? Having Foster/Barnett gone when the Colts pick would not be ideal, but it's too hard to give a definite answer on if the Colts should trade back without seeing the entire board.
Matt W. (Gaithersburg, MD)
Hi Mr. Bowen quick question why don't the colts try out WR boehringer and RB beckham. Boehringer is big and fast and could learn from ty and beckham is strong and fast and could learn from gore for atleast 1 year plus cheap and young . What's you're take on this? As always thanks Mr. Bowen. Colts nation!!!
Bowen: I feel like these questions were answered last year? There's clearly a reason why Odell Beckham's younger brother (Terron) hasn't made it in the NFL. This is a guy that has very, very little football experience. Also, Moritz Bohringer is on the Vikings roster.