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Colts Mailbag: Where Does Safety Fall On The Offseason Priority List?

Intro: This week, mailbag readers inquire about the future of Matt Hasselbeck, trading draft picks and offseason workouts for Andrew Luck and his wide receivers.


INDIANAPOLIS – Each week, readers of can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our Wednesday mailbag.

Here is this week's collection:Eric Van Gucht (Bloomington, IN)

This is purely a hypothetical situation, but let's say that hypothetically, Matt Hasselbeck decides not to re-sign or to retire. Do you have anybody who would be a backup in that situation? Would it make more sense to try via free agency or the draft?

Bowen: Eric, this is a tough one. Whether it was Drew Stanton in 2012 or Hasselbeck the last two years, the Colts have clearly wanted a veteran behind Andrew Luck. I think some veteran quarterback would once again be the route to take, if Hasselbeck doesn't return in 2015. The Colts have had Chandler Harnish on the practice squad for much of the first three seasons but right now Luck is the only quarterback under contract for 2015. Hasselbeck showed in 2014 that he's more than capable of handling his role, even at the age of 39.

Cory Caldwell (Abingdon, VA)

the colts had a great season and made it to the AFC championship game. i think they are a good team overall. sadly, they cut FS Laron Landry. with that, i think they need a saftey to replace him. what is your opinion on this?

Bowen: Cory, safety is definitely a major priority going into the offseason. With Mike Adams and Sergio Brown entering free agency, the Colts have no returning starting safeties currently under contract for 2015. Re-signing either, or both, of those players would alleviate some of that need but certainly not completely. Whether it's the draft or through free agency another safety has to be added to this roster, preferably one that can make an immediate impact. One thing to keep in mind is that this draft doesn't appear to be very deep at the safety position, with many mock drafts having no more than one safety going in the first round.

Earl Hamilton (Fort Wayne)

Given the Colts draft position in 2015, could you see them possibly making a deal to get out of the 1st rd for multiple picks in later rounds?

Bowen: Earl, I would never rule out a trade come draft time. The hardest thing to predict is who exactly will fall to you at pick No. 29. For example, let's say the Colts are in love with seven prospects, and four of those are there when the Colts are on the clock at No. 29. Do you feel comfortable moving back 5-10 spots, getting another pick in the mid-rounds, and hopefully still having one of the four guys that you liked back at No. 29? The Colts have been willing to move within the draft before but it's just impossible to know if moving back in Round One is an option until the selections reach into the 20s on April 30.

Raul Vicente Alonso (Mexico City, Mexico)

I've been reading the mailbag for a while but I had no idea it was so easy to ask a question. So, I heard there is this "regional combine" in Arizona coming soon and I heard Octavio Gonzalez, a fellow mexican who happens to be the best mexican player from the last years, is going there. He recently said that his biggest dream was to play for the Indianapolis Colts and I know Ryan Grigson likes scouting in foreign leagues because he is the type of GM who knows the horizon is really far from just NFL scouting. I imagine some colts scout will go to this event. Is there any chance players like this are checked out for training camp?

Bowen: If history is any indication, the Colts will definitely be represented at these combines in the offseason. Ryan Grigson and his staff have pursued these events over the past few years and come away with players they ended up signing to their 90-man roster. Last year, fullbacks in Stephen Campbell and Cameron White were two regional combine participants who eventually signed with the Colts. More than 100 players who have participated in these combines (Regional and/or Super Regional) the last three years have gone on to make team's Training Camps. Long snapper Matt Overton was also a product of a regional combine.

Austin S (Connersville)

Colts need both a linebacker and a solid running back mostly so do you think Colts will try for a LB in free agency and draft a RB or vice versa?

Bowen: Austin, that's a great question. Both of those positions look to be areas of need heading into the offseason. By all accounts, the running back position heading into the draft is the deepest the position has been in years. There are guys that are warranting first round attention (remember, no running back has been drafted in the first round the last two years), along with plenty of mid-round guys that put up impressive numbers in college. The linebacker route will probably not come in a starting role for whoever the Colts nab at that position this offseason. Unless the Colts truly hit a home run in free agency, the starting linebacker group is pretty set with lead guys already on the roster. I tend to think a young linebacker in the draft is a better option to develop behind the veterans already on the team. Running back I could see either avenue being used, but it's hard to look past the talented 2015 group of backs coming out this year.

Marcus Tygart (Connecticut)

Do you think the Colts will use their 1st round pick to get an Inside LB? It seems necessary given that D`Qwell Jackson is already up there in age.

Bowen: Marcus, we've had some questions regarding inside linebacker the last few weeks. While inside linebacker depth is certainly a need in the offseason, I don't think the first round is the time to address that. Jackson and Jerrell Freeman are your starters. Do you really want to "waste" a first-round pick on a player who is probably going to play less than a dozen defensive snaps per game as a rookie? The needs, IMO, are greater at other areas of the defense. It would not surprise me at all if an inside linebacker was taken though at some point in the draft.

Austin McFarland (Greenwood)

Do you like the odds of Grigson signing a defensive back early in the draft or a high UFA considering that we are losing a good portion of our DB's and we struggled against elite qb's? Also, what is the word on Jeff Demps? Being the fastest player in the NFL, you think we'd find a way to get him the ball somehow.

Bowen: The defensive back position could probably be broken down specifically to the safety position. At corner, Darius Butler and Josh Gordy are unrestricted free agents so there is a need for another young cover guy (even if you re-sign both of those players). Ryan Grigson has said before that corner is a position where the transition from college to the NFL isn't as difficult because it's such an instinctual position. So maybe lean towards drafting a corner where as the safety fill could happen through free agency and/or the draft. As far as Demps, he was signed to a reserve/future contract and will get a chance to impress in a more expanded role during OTAs.

Gregory Young (Burlington, Kentucky)

Hi, Kevin! ;) Gotta couple of "Qs" for you concerning the status of some Colts players in the offseason. I have been curious for some years now on offseason conditioning of QBs and WRs workouts. Can you shed some light on this as far as Andrew Luck and his core of receivers? Do they get together at some points? If so, what is the routine? I know Peyton, Marvin, and Reggie would do this from time to time. Thanks for the answer.

Bowen: Yes, they will definitely be getting together at some point this offseason. Luck has said on several occasions that he usually ramps up his workload around the start of March with OTAs starting in late April. Wide receivers T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Duron Carter have already exchanged tweets about meeting up this offseason. I would expect the routine is some sort of route tree that replicates the Colts playbook with Luck obviously directing traffic.

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