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.
Here is the collection of Wednesday questions:Jonathan L. (Los Angeles)
I've been a colts fan for a decade now. I would be lying if I said it hasn't been fun. But for so long I've watched our offense soar high and our defense maintain mediocrity. Sure we have Vontae Davis. But honestly, he doesn't take over games. We haven't had a defensive player that puts the defense on his back since Robert Mathis recorded 19.5 sacks a couple years back. And I get we haven't had early first round draft picks. But this year we have a decent selection. I know OL is priority, but where do you think we could use a difference maker on the defensive side of the ball, when we select at 18?
Bowen: Jonathan, I get into the avenues at No. 18 more below with Stan's question. Here, I'll address some of your other comments. First, I think it's really difficult for a cornerback to "take over a game." Sometimes they get a ball thrown their way less than four-to-five times a game. Where Davis can take over a game is by eliminating a single receiver or his side of the field. That's where his true impact comes. When fans think of defenders that truly "take over games" they usually come in the front seven with sacks/turnovers. That's why I believe trying to find such a player at No. 18 should be a focus come April.
Ayden A. (Indiana)
Do you have any ideas on how much the colts are willing to offer Andrew Luck when they resign him?
Bowen: While this number can fluctuate in the coming weeks, all signs point to Andrew Luck's contract being north of 20 million per year. Jim Irsay talked a little bit more about Luck’s number a few weeks back, saying it would be "shocking." What Irsay did reiterate several times was the need to structure the deal properly to obviously take care of Luck first, but also be able to construct a championship level team around No. 12.
Michelle M. (Fort Wayne, IN)
Hi kevin I know this may be a silly question probably one that I should know the answer to, but I know Reggie Wayne retired but it never said anything about him retiring as a colt. Did he? Also is there any chance that he may come back in the Colts organization and coach?
Bowen: Michelle, the latest on Reggie Wayne and his “retirement” came a few weeks back. Check out that piece for the answers. To sum it up, Wayne has not signed the retirement papers, just yet.
Matthew S. (Muncie, IN)
Is there anyway that the colts can obtain more draft picks in this years draft so that we can snag up some more players? If so that would be awesome.
Thanks a million Kevin. Keep doing a great job.
Bowen: Right now, the Colts have six picks for April's three-day draft. The Colts' sixth-round pick is now in the hands of the Raiders after the Sio Moore trade last year, before the start of the regular season. You rarely see pre-draft trades in the terms of acquiring picks. The action ramps up once the board starts to fall and picks are dealt frequently. The Colts have done a little of both under Ryan Grigson, from moving up to moving back. With the Colts having more than just one glaring need, moving up in the draft isn't something that intrigues me too much because that would obviously hinder you in other spots.
Mike N. (Arkansas)
Hey Kevin! My question this week is this: Is there any chance Ezekiel Elliot falls to #18 so we can take him? If not, is there a possibility we could trade up to get him? I know we have other needs (corner, defensive line, offensive line) but I think he'd be a great addition to our offense
Bowen: It wouldn't be a mailbag without Ezekiel Elliott's name in it. I don't think I have seen really any Mock Drafts with Elliott higher than the teens range. Todd Gurley, who went No. 10 overall last year, seems to be in a different class than Elliott. I've said it once, and I'll say it again, I think Elliott is a tremendous talent. I believe he'll be an impact guy in the NFL. However, the Colts have more important needs than taking a running back so high.
Maurice B. (Muncie, IN)
Has there ever been a coach and player put in the HOF together before Dungy and Harrison
Bowen: Maurice, there's been several. Just to name a few: San Francisco-Bill Walsh and Steve Young, Miami-Don Shula and Dan Marino. Oakland-John Madden and Ken Stabler. Dallas-Tom Landry and Tony Dorsett, Pittsburgh-Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw, Chicago-George Halas and Dick Butkus.
Patrick T. (Germany)
after hearing Mr. Irsay talking about Peyton retiring as a Colt, a crazy thought crossed my mind: How about Peyton Manning as back-up QB next season? Just hypothetical and not related to the outcome of Super Bowl 50 and weather he retires or not.
I don't know about the relationship between Luck and Manning. Neither do I know if it's possible to have the old and new face of the Colts on one roster (regarding the ego of QBs). The one setting the records and the other one about to break many of those.
But the thought of Peyton Manning mentoring Andrew Luck has a ring to it, don't you think?
Bowen: I see a slim, slim chance of this happening. We actually received a couple of these inquiries this week. I can't see Peyton Manning immediately becoming a coach/consultant in his first years of retirement, let alone a backup quarterback. What Manning will do when he does decide to hang it up, is anyone's guess. I just don't see him jumping right back into the long hours of being a coach or a glorified backup. His kids are four years old and I'd imagine he would like to spend more time with them. Plus, you have to think about having Manning around Luck and just the type of pressure that comes with it. Sure, Luck isn't a guy who seems too consumed by "filling the shoes of Peyton" but it would be different having that guy inside the building on a daily basis. Just a few things to think about when trying to gauge what Manning might do when he retires.
Mike C. (Pulaski, VA)
Been a colts fan since Unitas days. Seen plenty of great qb play during that time,Morrall,Jones,Harbaugh,Manning and Luck,but very little great defense. Not since the late sixtys. I assume Coach Pagano was brought in to remedy this. My question is how long has he got to produce a championship caliber defense?
Bowen: These next few years are going to be important for this defense. The Colts had a roster upheaval back in 2012 and the defense took on a totally different system, one that was a far cry from the small-ish 4-3 scheme they previously ran. The Colts defense needs to begin to take the necessary steps to being a championship caliber unit. That's why I've said throughout this mailbag the importance of finding more quality pieces on that side of the ball. Can new coordinator Ted Monachino implement the type of style and results Pagano has been searching for?
Ron W. (Indianapolis)
YOUR TALKING ABOUT AN EDGE RUSHER WHICH I KNOW WE NEED. BUT ARE YOU GOING GET SOMEONE PLAYERS THAT CAN PROTECT THE QB?
Bowen: Add this question, to the variety of ways we've heard "the offensive line needs help" plea from Colts fans this offseason. I could easily see the Colts looking for new bodies up front through free agency and the draft. There's not currently a crazy amount of money to spend in free agency, but enough to get a potential starter or two.
Josh S. (Ohio)
What is the likelihood of getting a good free agent offensive lineman like 6 time pro bowler Jahri Evans who was just released by the saints? Getting a good free agent for the offensive line could save draft picks for younger talent on defense and possibly a good backup RB. Thoughts? Thanks.
Bowen: The veteran cuts have started across the NFL. This is the time of year where some unexpected names pop up into the free agent market. The Colts have found success with a guy like D'Qwell Jackson, after he was cut in February of 2014. Todd Herremans, who the Eagles released last February, is the other side of the equation when it comes to bringing in veteran cuts. I think there's a pretty good chance of the Colts signing a starting caliber free agent offensive lineman.
Stan C. (Minneapolis)
Hey Kevin! Great to see Peyton get that Super Bowl victory. He was my idol growing up and the reason this Minnesota kid became a Colts fan in the first place.
Looking away from the past and towards the future, I thought I'd try something fun. I'm putting YOU in the GM's shoes. You're sitting at the 18th overall pick in the draft, and know that you want one of the best players available while also addressing a position of need (I don't care where Josh Doctson and Corey Coleman are on your board, you're not spending a 1st round draft pick on a 4th string WR. Who do you think you are, Ryan Grigson?).
With that scenario in mind, which players are your cutoffs for first round prospects in the major position groups of need? Considering draft depth, player talent, and team needs, which players straddle the line from "worth it" to "reaches" (i.e., are any of the OL prospects deserving of your pick? Does the uncertainty of D'Joun Smith and impeding departure of Greg Toler make Kyle Fuller and Eli Apple worth it at 18? Are NT's like A'Shaun Robinson big enough talents that you look past their position's depth in the next few rounds of the draft and take them in the first? Do the age of D'Qwell Jackson and contract of Jerrell Freeman make Reggie Ragland targetable)?
I'll give you OL, CB, OLB, ILB, and NT as position groups of interest. Feel free to talk about whoever you find relevant. You ARE the GM, after all!
Bowen: Talk about some pressure here, Stan. I've tried to convey this in past mailbags, but I'll say it again: I'm of the belief that an impact defender is needed. I don't want to put all the stock into what we saw at the Super Bowl, but it's hard to ignore. Playmakers on the defensive side of the ball are a must. For me, that boils down to the Colts taking a hard, hard look at cornerback and linebacker. You mentioned Eli Apple and Kyle Fuller. I think if either Mackensie Alexander or Vernon Hargreaves III start to fall in the first round (unlikely), you jump all over them. Finding a shutdown cornerback opposite Vontae Davis would give the Colts quite the starting duo at corner. At linebacker, Reggie Ragland, Noah Spence, Darron Lee; or even if Myles Jack or Jaylon Smith were to fall, those guys would be the type of linebackers you build around. I'm not a guy who thinks inside or outside is of a greater need right now. Those two positions groups are the ones I keep coming back to for this team to find a game changer on the defensive side of the ball.
Isak H. (Mexico City)
Hi Kevin. So I see the colts don't have a new TE coach yet. Any info on that? On the other hand, is there any word on Matt Hasselbeck staying or retiring?
Bowen: We haven't had an update on a new tight ends coach. The Colts did fill several openings on Tuesday. You can find those here. We haven't heard anything from Matt Hasselbeck. Again, like I said during Hasselbeck’s free agent watch, I get the vibe that he wants to play another season. This next month is when we should start to hear about the Colts re-signing some of their own unrestricted free agents.
Blake M. (Mt. Washington, KY)
I was a big fan of the color rush jerseys is there any chance of the colts doing a full blue jersey
Bowen: We haven't heard of any alternate jerseys for the Colts in the coming year. I don't think we would hear any sort of an announcement, if there was even one, until the schedule comes out in late April.
William T. (North Haven, CT)
What do you think of drafting the Off linemen in front of the best rushing team in the NCAA.. NOT the rushers?
Bowen: Well, I think this a pretty good start. I think one of the more difficult things in evaluating offensive linemen is this sort of situation though. Take Alabama for example. We've seen some of their individual linemen struggle at the next level, and some succeed. The same can be said for their running back position. You, of course, have other linemen who weren't a part of great rushing teams, but can still play professionally. Just because Player A is blocking for Ezekiel Elliott doesn't directly correlate to NFL success.