Colts Mailbag

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Colts Wednesday Mailbag: Is Andrew Luck Healthy?

Intro: This Wednesday, mailbag readers inquire about D’Joun Smith’s production, the pros and cons of draft day trades and Peyton Manning retiring.

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – 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:Gary C. (Florida)

When exactly did Luck hurt his shoulder last season? Did it happen in the pre season. Also when Luck really got hurt against Denver. It had nothing to do with the O line. He got hurt running the ball. My point is I hope Chuck and Ryan watched the Super Bowl very closely. We need a Defense. I have been a colts fan since 1969. We have not had a killer Defense since we drafted Peyton. My point is draft defense with five of our six picks. What do you think Kevin?

Bowen: The first time Andrew Luck appeared on the injury report last season was following the Week Three win in Tennessee. Luck would go on to miss the next two weeks due to a "shoulder injury." Trying to speculate if Luck was having an ailment in the preseason is nearly impossible when you consider his final workload in that Week Three comeback over the Titans. Luck was 11-of-13 for 144 yards and two touchdowns to complete the comeback in Nashville. That's why the injury/effect of it is so hard to pinpoint. As for Luck's health, Jim Irsay said this week in Florida that No. 12 is "completely healthy." To your second point, on paper, I'm sure many fans would love to have five defensive players over the course of the six picks in April. I could see it happening, but also don't rule out a couple of offensive linemen or even a skill guy at running back/receiver/tight end.

Doug B. (Indiana)

Kevin I am like any other diehard Colt fan. I have tried to predict who the Colts will draft in all seven rounds for many years. So far I have only gotten one right and that was Andrew Luck the NO BRAINER. For the last few years now we have heard how important it is to protect Luck. It seems to me that Mailbag fans seem to be leaning toward defense lately in the first round. So my question is this if you HAD to make the first three draft choices offensive lineman who do you think they might be. I know that is not going to happen but that would clearly protect our 125 million dollar future. Feel free to pass this on because we all know how we (Colts) competed with the likes of Denver, Carolina and the RATS last year with AL on the field.

Bowen: I don't think I'm taking three offensive linemen in a row under any circumstance. I can't imagine any team in NFL history has spent three consecutive picks on one specific position. There's a clear need to improve the offensive line, mainly the interior, as Chuck Pagano said at the Combine and again this week in Florida. Yet, let's not ignore a desire to continue to build the defense. The Colts are starting to get younger on that side of the ball and another solid draft there would be a nice foundation for new coordinator Ted Monachino. Look at last year's Super Bowl. Those impact defenders often come from premium type draft picks. That's why the Colts can't totally turn their head to the offensive line when the draft comes around next month.

Dustin P. (Virginia)

Hey Kevin,

I have question on what I think that the offseason could finish as a win

I think we should sign Ilb Zach Brown (26) and build everything else through the draft.

I think we shoul make a trade to get two round two picks we need a few more picks anyway because six isn't going to cut it.

Draft : 1. Mackensie Alexander CB Clemson

Round 2 Josh Garnett G Standord

Round 2 Shilique Callouhn Olb/De Michigan State

Round 3 Scooby Wright Ilb Arizona

Round 4 Jack Allen C Michigan State

Round 5 David Lacseco Rb Cal

What do you think about that and the chances of that happening might be? I would love for that to happen!!!

Thank you for your time!!!

Go Colts!

Bowen: Well, Dustin I'd be curious to know what you are giving up for that additional second-round pick. It's going to come at a decently priced package. Now, the draft itself you have mapped out looks just fine. You've addressed several needs with some serious quality. But again, just acquiring picks like you are hoping to do isn't as easy as it sounds.

Leonardo B. (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Hi, Kevin. I've seen you say that frachises don't usually take a leap from a season to another, thats for sure. But AFC South teams have locked 4 promissing young QBs. Is that a that promisse of maybe 10 years of epic games and a lot of fun for all fans?

Bowen: Haha, well I guess you could look at it like that. Most Colts' fans are a little nervous about the division starting to become much more balanced with each team having some makeup of a potential playoff team. You are looking at it from an entertainment standpoint. As a fan of the game, I like that. Under your thinking, the division should be much, much more competitive in the coming years with every team having their future at quarterback locked up (once Andrew Luck is re-signed).

Clyde B. (Winona Lake, IN)

Could you see the colts trading back the 18th overall pick to pick up more draft picks since they have so much they could use?

Bowen: I could definitely see this happening. Now, as with all draft trades, it's hard to tell if it's actually going to take place until the board starts falling in Round One. But trading back could certainly make sense for the Colts. You mention the six picks number. If the Colts are there at 18 and no one is jumping off the board, moving back could keep the Colts in Round One and still give them a few more picks in the middle rounds. The Colts have had some draft success in trades becoming first-year contributors (i.e. T.Y. Hilton and David Parry).

Bruce L. (Indianapolis)

Hi Mr. Bowen,

Thanks for answering all of our questions. I have seen that you like the idea of trading down the 1st round pick. What about trading down twice?

Here is my idea: Trade the no. 18 pick to a team lower in the first round such as Green Bay at no. 26, in exchange for that no. 26 pick and their 3rd round pick (no. 88). Then trade that no. 26 pick to a team high in the second round such as Dallas at no. 34, in exchange for that no. 34 pick and their 4th round pick (approx. no. 100).

The result would be the Colts owning the following draft picks:

34, 48, 82, 88 and 100.

The first round pick would be essentially converted into picks in Rounds 2, 3 and 4. The Colts would have 5 players in the top 100, instead of only 3.

Most of the players that I have seen as possible top selections (such as Ryan Kelly and Joshua Garnett) seem to be worthy of the 2nd round, and from what I have read this seems to be deep draft. So this year seems to be a good time to trade down twice. I also looked at a website with a draft values chart, and the value numbers seem to roughly work out. Also this would allow the Colts to get younger, and have new players at several positions (such as OG, RB, LB, CB for example). The Colts have also done very well drafting in rounds 3 and 4 (TY Hilton pick 92, Henry Anderson pick 93, Donte Moncrief pick 90, Clayton Geathers pick 109) so two picks in those rounds would be great.

Anyways, what do you think about trading down twice? If once is good, then twice must be better! :) Keep up the good work!

Bowen: It's a trade happy Colts Mailbag this week with the draft a little more than a month away. I know fans wouldn't like such patience shown, but count me as a fan. You mentioned the four picks in the 90-109 range, a place the Colts have found success in. There's clearly some serious quality in that range. If the Colts could turn those five picks in your scenario to four guys who can play right away, that's a very, very successful draft.

Dave C. (New Castle, IN)

Kevin: You do a great job, and I think it's great that the Colts recognize that the fans are extremely interested in the "off season". We truly want to learn how the team reviews draft choices and free agents, in short we want to know about the "team building process".

That said, I'm a pretty simple math guy. It seems to me that a $100mil. 5/yr. contract would result in 5 years of $20 mil cap hit. But I know there are ways clubs deal with that through incentives, roster bonuses, etc. Could you give some explanation of this?

Thanks, Dave

Bowen: A lot of it comes down to how a deal is structured and what money is guaranteed in the deal. Just because a deal is five years, $100 million doesn't break down proportionally. This helps teams handle cap situations. It's hard to explain it in this format. So I'll send you here to take a look at Dwayne Allen's recently signed four-year extension. That should make some sense how a four year, $29.4 million dollar deal (or any contract) can be broken down.

Collin C. (Solingen, Germany)

Hey! My question refers to the conversation about the need of cornerbacks. Clearly with the poor performance of Greg Toler as the number two option, who besides is also a free agent, the need is absolutely there. But how do you evaluate last years second draft choice D'Joun Smith? Guys like Anderson, Perry and Geathers showed more than flashes and he was drafted even higher. So can he be a solid starter opposite Vontae Davis or is he more a nickel-corner type of a guy?

Thanks a lot for your great work with this mailbag, always nice to get deeper information of whats going on around the Colts, especially for a fan living overseas.

Bowen: Collin, thanks for sending in a question (and reading) from over in Germany. Hopefully you can make it to Wembley in October. To your question, this is probably one of the hardest to project for 2016, yet could have a significant influence on this year's team. D'Joun Smith played 20 defensive snaps as a rookie. That's basically a little more than a quarter of game action for an entire season. He was banged up at different times throughout the offseason so it's impossible to know exactly what he can bring to the NFL level. The Colts are high on Smith, but even the coaches know they have to see more of him in game settings before they have a true evaluation. If he can fill a starting role, then that would allow for the offseason needs to be focused more on the linebackers/offensive line. If not, then cornerback remains high on the priority list heading into 2016.

Ignatius H. (Plains, GA)

I just read Josh Wilson writing about the colts having interest in Isaac Seumalo. He'd be a good guard for the team, and if the team drafts both him and Ryan Kelly, a lot would be solved. What do you think? Any updates on Colt Anderson? It's super weird that he has not been brought back, he's had two very good seasons at ST. Thanks

Bowen: A two-man haul in the offensive interior with those two would be pretty solid for the Colts. A center/guard combination would give the Colts two options at positions where the starter hasn't been settled on in recent years. There's no update on Colt Anderson but Chuck Pagano did mention his possible return down at the League's Annual Meetings on Tuesday. The veteran safety/special teamer remains an unrestricted free agent. If Anderson isn't brought back, the Colts are going to have to find some young, core special teamers to add to the likes of a Winston Guy.

Jerry G. (Florence, AL)

Hey Kevin, I have been reading for a long time but first time question. First let me say thanks for all the answers you have provided. My question is brief. Do we have an estimated schedule for when the Manning statue will be completed or unveiled? Thanks so much. Go COLTS!

Bowen: I appreciate it, Jerry. There's no target date, as of now, but I'd expect it to be done at some point during the season. I'm sure the Colts would love for it to be completed with the potential of a Super Bowl reunion/Ring of Honor ceremony on the schedule at some point in 2016.

Rico W. (Tulsa, OK)

Mr. Bowen,

Is it true that Mr. Manning decided not to sign a 1 day contract with the Colts and retire as a Colt? After all he did say, "I will always be a Colt"!

Thanks, Colt Strong 2016

Bowen: Rico, Peyton Manning is on the Broncos' retired/reserve list, therefore he couldn't have signed a one-day contract with the Colts. I think a bit much is being made by signing such a deal. If I'm Manning, I'm probably not looking to take sides here. He won a Super Bowl in Denver in his final game, so there's no reason to all of a sudden tell the Broncos he wants to sign with the Colts for a day. Manning did the right thing---two separate press conferences and two very appreciative fan bases for what he meant to their respective organizations.

Elisha M. (Greencastle, IN)

Who are your top 5 favorite players in the draft that might be available for our 1st or 2nd round picks? I really like Jaylon Smith,Kendall Fuller,Jack Conklin,Mackensie Alexander,and Leonard Floyd.

Bowen: Those are some intriguing names right there. If healthy, I love Smith. Let's go with Smith and Alexander for my first two. I also see potential in maybe Eli Apple as a cornerback option from Ohio State. I don't think Darron Lee is the most ideal looking 3-4 linebacker, but he could be a guy in this new age of the NFL that you just need to have on the field to defend so many offenses wanting to spread you out. If Noah Spence can clear the red flags, he has to be on here as arguably the top pure edge rusher.

Matt W. (Plant City, FL)

HI Mr. Bowen u answered my question last week on ur order of picks in the draft based on positions and my question is why would u think to pick a running back up considering colts just signed 2 ok back ups instead of goin with a diffrent position at 6 round? Not tryin to question your judgment im just curious Mr. Bowen. I mean do u think there will be better rbs by the 6 rd instead of other players in diffrent positions by then or better potential rbs then the 2 we just signed instead of goin more defense or offensive line?

Bowen: Matt, I definitely understand what you are saying here. There are hidden gems at the running back position and recent history has proven that. Look at Thomas Rawls from Seattle. He went undrafted last year. When Marshawn Lynch went down, Rawls produced like the All-Pro he was filling in for. Robert Turbin signed a one-year deal so he still has to prove himself as a long-term option. Frank Gore isn't going to be running forever (although if anybody can do it right now in the NFL it might be him). You have to think about the future at that position, where attrition can happen quickly. Two years ago it was Zurlon Tipton getting Week 17 reps. Last year it was Trey Williams. Those two guys weren't even on the roster for the entire seasons. If a running back is there later (and you feel good about your other needs having been addressed), I still wouldn't ignore that position. Ryan Grigson said as such on Tuesday at the Annual Meetings.

Nicolai K. (Denmark)

Hi Kevin

Thanks for the insights and entertainment for us football hungry fans in a game day shortage time

I was wondering about the mock drafts where the Colts are taking a CB in the 1st round.

In the case we get a CB across from Vontae, can D'jounn Smith play as the Nickel Corner and in that case would he be an upgrade over Darius Butler? Or will we simply give up our early 3rd round pick from the last year and let him become a backup for the foreseeable future?

Bowen: This is a very good question and something the Colts will have to find out in 2016. When D'Joun Smith was healthy last season, the Colts moved him around their defense in an effort to expose him to the outside/nickel. The Colts feel that Smith can play some nickel, but his health didn't allow for really any game evaluation there as a rookie. You don't think of versatility as a real trait of the cornerback situation but this day and age of the NFL calls for it. The Colts are definitely going to give Smith an opportunity this offseason. There's no doubt about that.

Luke R. (Rochester, NY)

Hey Kevin,

As usual, all the hype of the draft is focused on the polished products coming out of colleges, AKA the first round. However, I'm a believer in later-round stars, such as Denzell Good, who showed slight potential this past season. Who could the Colts pick up in the 3rd round and beyond, even if it does mean they will need to be worked on to shine?

Bowen: Luke, I'm not even going to try and guess on names/fits for the Colts come Saturday of the draft. Me predicting Rounds 4-7 of the draft would be a waste of your (and my) time. Last year Denzelle Good worked out for one team, the Colts, yet now he's a potential starter in 2016. I still go back to running back as a position teams have found success on in latter rounds.

Cameron P. (Indianapolis)

Hello,

Long time reader first time questioner. Shouldn't we be putting more effort into the o-liNE and d-line? We seem to be focusing a lot on the RBs and that isn't what we need right now. I feel like the o-line and d-line is where we should really be focusing right now, we already have Robert Turbin and Josh Todman but now they're talking about bringing in someone similiar to Darren Sproles. I'm not sure it seems like we're not putting nearly enough attention into the o-line and d-line.

Bowen: I don't think the defensive line is too much of a worry. If Henry Anderson and Arthur Jones can return to health up front, the Colts have a bunch of quality bodies in the defensive trenches. The offensive line remains a focus and the entire Colts' brass touched on that again this week in Florida. Both Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson like the depth across the line in the 2016 draft class. Let's not ignore running back as a need this offseason. With Ahmad Bradshaw, Boom Herron and Josh Robinson no longer on the roster, the Colts needed bodies behind Frank Gore.

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