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Colts Wednesday Mailbag: Is Christian McCaffrey A Fit For The Colts?

Intro: This Wednesday, mailbag readers inquire about Chris Ballard’s approach to free agency, pursuing Dontari Poe and if a big name wide receiver is in the cards for the Colts this coming offseason.


INDIANAPOLIS – Each week, readers of 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:

Cameron S. (Ohio)

Hey Kevin how's it going? We need Edge players and a linebacker so how do you feel about Haason Reddick? He's great in coverage and even with his hand in the dirt. I think he can even play in a 3-4 and a 4-3. Thanks for you time have a great day.

Bowen: Reddick is a very interesting prospect in my eyes. He seems to be rising and he feels he has flexibility to play inside or outside at the next level. Is it enough to merit the Colts looking into him at 15 overall? That's probably the main question with Reddick. He's a unique linebacker coming out of Temple.

Andre W. (South Bend)

I been wondering since the Colts hired new GM will the offense go more to a running attack and stop throwing the ball 40-50 times a game. That's what Chis Ballard is coming from(his days in Kansas City)

Bowen: Just because Chris Ballard is the new GM doesn't mean the offensive philosophy and play calling is going to change. That's why you have a coaching staff. Rob Chudzinski is still the offensive coordinator. The Colts attempted an average of 36.5 passes per game last season, good for 12th in the NFL. A GM isn't going to dictate play calling.

Jeffrey K. (Colquitt, GA)

Hey Kevin how are things going? Should we trade down in the 1st round and get TJ Watt or stay at fifteen and draft Tim Williams, Takk McKinley, or Derek Barnett either one is fine with me but personally I'll trade down we can use an extra 2nd round pick especially if we don't make any moves in free agency.

Thanks for your time Kevin have a great day

Bowen: If this scenario happens, I'd jump at Derek Barnett. I get more into the debate of trading later in the mailbag. But here, Barnett is the choice for me.

Ulrich R. (Austria)

Hi Kevin!

Big Colts fan from Austria here with a draft question. I think OLB is the biggest need this offseason. So I think, Garrett, Thomas and also Barnett probably will be gone when we make our pick at No.15. So in this scenario the option left would be Taco Charlton, Takkrist McKinley and Tim Williams. McKinley has shoulder surgery after the combine, Williams has off-field issues and Charlton doesn't like the weight room too much and is probably the worst coverage guy of these three.

Who would you pick in this scenario? Do you think McKinleys shoulder surgery could be an issue going forward? Would Charlton fit in to the Colts System?

Thanks for the time to answer all our questions! Go Colts!!!

Bowen: Welcome, Ulrich. This is a really good question. One that probably needs a little more research if such an opportunity comes in April. I'd give the slight lean to Charlton in the hope that the Colts could tap into the potential many see in his 6-6 frame. McKinley's injury situation is one of the bigger ones for the 2017 draft class. The Colts really need an impact guy from Day One. Can McKinley be ready and 100 percent for September? This is a really good question. Under this scenario, maybe one of the top cornerbacks have fallen to the Colts.

German C. (North Hills, CA)

Hey Kevin I got a couple questions 
1) what do you think of signing Jamal Charles 
2) what are the possibilities of Foster falling down to 15th, and should we draft him despite his incident at the combine
3)what do you think of trading back in the draft like with the giants who are in need of a RB (cook) and getting a guy like Tim Williams and maybe an extra 2nd or 3rd pick and going after an Ilb and cb or another pass rusher and cb and signing Hightower and powe, that would upgrade our D for sure .
4)I think we should look at D Jackson at WR teaming him up with moncrief on the outside and use Hilton in the slot would be very effective as we saw a glimpse of that this year.

Bowen: 1. I say too old. I think the Colts have to get younger at running back. 2. I can't see Foster falling that far. As long as nothing else comes out of the incident, he's too talented of a player to drop that much. This was a guy that was appearing close to the top five in Mock Drafts. 3. We've had a few trading back questions in recent mailbags. I get why people want to do it. But the Colts should not do it in jeopardizing passing up a franchise defender. The Colts have a premium pick. Pro Bowlers more often than not are taken 15th overall (6 of the last 10 guys chosen 15th overall have made a Pro Bowler). The Colts can't get too risky in trading back, unless the board is truly barren.

Kaden E. (Westfield, IN)

I have 3 questions for you. 
1.) Do u think the colts could go after Alshon Jeffrey? I think it would be helpful so luck could have someone who could jump up and get the ball.
2.)For our defensive rebuild do you think the building blocks are young guys like Henry Anderson, Antonio Morrison, and TJ Green? 
3.)How aggressive is Chris Ballard going to be in free agency? I think we could get some star players that could step up in the locker room and help our team to go back to our old ways of being contenders in the super bowl like in 2014-15. Thank you and GO COLTS!!

Bowen: 1. No. That will be way, way too much money at a position that is not considered too big of a need. Donte Moncrief is your big body guy. Alshon Jeffrey is going to be a very highly sought after free agent in 2017. 2. Those are some of the building blocks. Clayton Geathers is a name that should be on every one of these lists, and very close to the front of them. 3. Expect some patience out of Chris Ballard in free agency. He's talked about the problems that arise in spending too much in free agency. Success rate in free agency is 50-50 at best. I could see a couple of moves from Ballard, but would be surprised at a 2015 class.

Peter F. (Maine)

Hello Kevin huge fan of your mailbag. Long time colts fan here. My question has to come with the recent coin toss to determine the order the colts pick. I don't understand why there had to be a coin toss cause we should of had the 14 overall pick cause we beat the Vikings during the regular season. Is this the reason why there was a coin toss cause of the trade between the eagles and Vikings?

Bowen: Peter, thanks for checking in each week. That's how the NFL tiebreaking process works for draft position. The Colts and Vikings were both 8-8 last season. So, the first tiebreaker up was strength of schedule percentage. Shockingly, the Colts and Vikings tied there. That meant a coin flip was the deciding factor to spots 14 and 15. Head-to-head results, for some reason, does not factor into draft position tiebreakers.

Noah M. (Albany, NY)

Hey Kevin,
Thanks for answering my last question! I made a mock draft and I was wondering what you thought
1- Derek Barnett - OLB - Tennessee 
2- Raekwon McMillan - ILB - Ohio State
3- Cameron Sutton - CB - Tennessee 
4- Jamaal Williams - RB - BYU
4- Lorenzo Jerome - S - St. Francis
5- Dalvin Tomlinson - DT - Alabama
6- Sean Culkin - TE - Missouri
I think this solves pretty much all of our needs if everyone works out. My only concern is that I made this before the defensive part of the combine so some of these defenders may raise their stock. I think Derek Barnett fixes our pass rush and a full healthy offseason for Maggitt will have him competing for the other starting OLB spot, which would be awesome if they could be reunited to terrorize quarterbacks again. If we can get Raekwon McMillan in round 2, I think he can start right away next to either Edwin Jackson, Antonio Morrison, or a free agent pick up like Hightower. I think Cameron Sutton can compete with Melvin and Robinson for the other starting corner role. I love Jamaal Williams out of BYU, I think he can take some of the load off of Gore this season and maybe start next year. Lorenzo Jerome killed it at the senior bowl and we have some safety questions. I would love to see us get him, I think he will be better than most expect. I think Dalvin Tomlinson can help build more depth on the d-line. I love Sean Culkin out of Missouri, if we can't resign Jack Doyle, then I think Culkin would be the perfect replacement because he plays so much like Doyle. Do you think these guys are possibilities for the Colts?

Bowen: This draft really checks off the off-season boxes of the Colts. You cover the offensive needs, while keeping the focus where it needs to be---defensively.

Stan C. (Minneapolis)

Hey, Kevin! Thanks as always for all your hard work. I'm really bummed out about the retirement of Joe Reitz. He was a wildly underrated glue guy, not to mention a well-respected voice in the locker room. His absence will be felt not just by the players, but by the fans as well. Reitz and McAfee were two of my favorite players on the team, so this has been a rough offseason for me.

Now, there are now only 2 Colts on the roster who came before HC Chuck Pagano and former GM Ryan Grigson: Adam Vinatieri and Anthony Castonzo. Not only that, but the departure of D'Qwell Jackson takes away another veteran voice in the locker room. This team is filled with players who either have 5 or less years of experience or are recent free agents brought in to fill roster holes.

The elder playmakers left to take leadership roles are AV, Castonzo, Frank Gore (who likely has one, maybe 2 years left with the team), Mike Adams (who may yet be an offseason cap casualty), and maybe Vontae Davis (although he's never seemed like a "grip the reins" type of leader to me). We can assume Luck will step up to shoulder more of the load (that is his way, after all). Who do you think are the most likely candidates to become more prominent locker room voices? I'd put my money on Luck and Darius Butler (should he be retained). Adams, Arthur Jones, and Trent Cole would be potential candidates, but I tend to think that none of them will be on the roster come September. On a related note, who from the Grigson draft classes are moving to be the next "established voices" of the near future? Luck is there, Hilton would be next, and Allen may have too little field time to legitimately qualify. Outside of that... Everyone is just so young.

Bowen: Joe Reitz is indeed a great, great guy. The definition of first class. Onto your question. Chuck Pagano was pretty honest in that the Colts are going to have to find some leaders in 2017, given what they have lost of late. Who would be your defensive captains if the season started tomorrow? That's a tough question to answer. Vontae Davis? Yes. But he's not the most vocal guy on the team. Darius Butler is a good start. On offense, you have Andrew Luck and Dwayne Allen. Then T.Y. Hilton and Anthony Castonzo can lead with their play. I don't have an answer for the vocal defensive leaders next season. Those guys either have to emerge, come in through free agency or be drafted and ascend quickly into that role. This is a question to ponder as the season gets closer.

Adam H. (Lafayette, IN)

With Joe Reitz retiring, I feel this really hurts our depth at O-line. That now leaves unknown free agent Cooper as our lone back-up tackle. I'm guessing that if Constanzo or Clark got hurt, Haeg could move to tackle and be replaced by Good or Harrison. Call me crazy but I'm warming up to taking OT Ryan Ramczyk in the first round. I know we should go defense but hear me out. This draft has a lot of depth at OLB, CB & RB. All of which are our biggest needs. What it doesn't have is depth at is OT. I think taking Ramczyk makes sense if you use 5 of the next 6 picks on defense. I think our offensive line would now be a strength and one that could be relied on for years to come.

If you don't like that scenario, then what about going after Riley Reiff or Ricky Wagner at RT in free agency? I know they are in line to make good money but both are younger 28/27 and can play well. I think if we can't land a pass rusher like Hightower or Perry in FA then it makes sense bring in a RT and be able to focus solely on the defense during the draft. Outside of a mid/late round RB of course. That much we agree on.

Bowen: The retirement of Joe Reitz does open up the offensive line need for a swing tackle this offseason. In no way, does this mean the Colts need to spend their first pick on a tackle. Not at all. You can still find a middle-round tackle. Remember, Denzelle Good has position flex to play tackle, too. There's a good chance this backup tackle you find in the offseason won't even dress in a game (wouldn't Good and Jonotthan Harrison, assuming he returns in 2017, be your backups?). I just don't believe the resources are there to be spending that sort of pick, or that type of free agent money, on an offensive lineman, when your starting five is starting to come together. You make good points, but my line of thinking is down a different path.

Isak H. (Mexico City)

Hi, Kevin. First, I would like to say that your assessment on Dalvin Cook was very good in one of the past mailbags. Having said that, I would like to ask about Christian McCaffrey. Would he be a good fit in Indianapolis? Many people say that he does not have a defined position, but that can be used in a team's favor. In a pass heavy offense like the one used in Indianapolis, a RB that can catch and block could come in handy. Any thoughts? Thank you and enjoy the rest of the combine!

Bowen: He would be a great fit. But after watching him light up the Combine, much like he did at Stanford, I don't see McCaffrey lasting all the way to pick No. 46, the Colts' selection come Round Two. McCaffrey is a perfect threat out of the backfield, but I just can't see where he falls on the draft board for a pick of the Colts.

Jacob B. (Connersville, IN)

Hey Kevin. What do you think about going after Hightower in FA. I think he would provide great leadership on what should be a young D. Also some scouts have said they're worried about Jonathan Allens shoulder. If he is falls to 15 do the colts take him? What do you think about the following mock draft
Rd 1. Marlon Humphrey
Rd 2. Tj Watt 
Rd 3. Ryan Anderson
Rd 4. Duke Riley 
Rd 4. Evan engram 
Rd 5. Joe mixon 
Rd 6. Jk Scott

Bowen: I'm a fan of pursuing Hightower in free agency. Locking up an impact player at inside linebacker would really be a nice start to the offseason for the Colts. I'm not sure if your Mock Draft is realistic enough with how far some of those guys are falling in drafts. And with Humphrey, are the injury concerns too much to take him at 15 overall?

Braden K. (Kansas)

I really like Solomon Thomas out of Stanford, but it looks like he will be taken by then. If there isn't a clear great EDGE player available what would you think of drafting one of the premiere corners like Sidney Jones or Lattimore and then drafting a Jordan Willis or Tyus Bowser in the second round, or trading back in the first round and getting more value?.

Bowen: Count me in. I would be just fine with the Colts taking one of the draft's top cornerbacks, if the edge group has taken a hit when the 15th pick rolls around. While not addressing it specifically, the selection of a corner would aid the pass rush. The Colts are getting up there in age at the cornerback position, so a top-flight cover guy on a rookie contract would really come in handy in molding the defensive future.

Brody R. (New York)

Hey Kevin, first time writer and long time Colts fan here. I've been really interested in how the Colts go on from the combine given all of their issues. Specifically in the first two rounds of the draft.

Defense is the first priority. With lack of front seven, and a sub par secondary, help is desperately needed. What are the odds that GM Ballard takes a risk and trades up in order to get that "franchise guy" in Reuben Foster or someone of that nature? Also, what do you think are the odds of the Colts trying to get multiple first and/or second round picks?(I know we don't have a lot to give, just interested in the input.)

That being said, in my opinion, a real curveball gets thrown in with the running backs. While this is a very deep running back class, a guy like McCaffrey, Cook, or even Fournette could be a center piece of an organization next to Luck. How much defensive talent needs to be gone before the Indy starts to look at one of the backs instead of a reaching for a late first/ second round defender?

I look forward to your response!
Beat Navy!

Bowen: 1. I think the odds are slim. The Colts have more than one need. Moving up into the top 10 would cost the Colts quite a lot of draft capitol and could really limit the quantity of needs they can cross the list in the draft. I'm more of fan with staying put and taking advantage of the five picks the Colts have in the first four rounds. 2. A lot. That's my opinion. Reaching for a running back is kind of a scary phrase. The pass rush and cornerback group would really have to be hit hard for me to believe running back is the choice at 15th overall.

Alex H. (Stockton, CA)

Hey Kevin lots of stuff happening during combine week. I'm thinking this could be the perfect opportunity for Ballard to release Parry, and reach out to Dontark Poe during FA. Keep him and suspend him. He is young. Are there any previous red flags in his career and at the collegiate level? Surprising stuff with Rueben Foster have to leave combine. Could he slide he to 15th now? Before Foster and the coin toss. I was thinking the Colts could go Tim Williams in the 1st. Joe Mixon in the 2nd. Then appear on HBO Hard Knocks. I really doubt a team takes Mixon in the first round for several reasons, and you could stock the entire defense after. What are your thoughts on the Colts at choosing a defensive player with the first pick, and running back with the 2nd, and every other pick defensively. Also do you think Rueben Foster would be a better pick over Tim Williams? One last thing what do you think of Brandon Marshall being a FA? 6'4 would be a the tallest receiver on the roster. Could be a vocal leader on the locker room. Short term deal. I believe Brandon Marshall is in the Frank Gore category. He's got at least two years left. He loves football.

Bowen: 1. You can still go after Dontari Poe, while keeping David Parry. The contract for Parry isn't big at all as a rookie deal for a fifth rounder. With Parry, there's no obvious red flags. He was a former walk-on and a three-time member of the Pac-12 All-Academic Team. 2. I can't see Foster sliding all the way down to 15. Way too much talent there. Right now, it looks like Foster is the better pick than Tim Williams. 3. Second round is probably one round too high for me when it comes to when to draft a running back. I wouldn't be completely opposed to it, but it's just a tad high for me. 4. I do not see where Brandon Marshall would fit with that price tag and his age. I don't think the Colts have the money for Marshall.

Dennis E. (Sweetser, IN)

Hey Kevin. Legarrante Blount Was not resigned by New England last year and left for Pittsburgh in free agency. He evidently did not play well (or was a huge problem) for the Steelers and subsequently rleeased, only to then be resigned by New England. With Hightower now being a free agent (and a very good player for them) are there any red flag questions for teams? It seems they keep their own unless age or major problems exist, the latter usally are traded if they are good. Pia pain for Pittsburgh and got released only to be resigned Do you think teams ever have any question marks when free agents leave New England?

Bowen: I think you always have natural questions. But look at Chandler Jones. The Patriots traded him away last year and he had a very good season for the Cardinals. With New England, it's more of when the asking price gets too high, they have no problem in saying no. If Hightower hits the open market, the Colts should pay close attention to that market and not be hesitant in getting involved. Do your homework on Hightower and if the boxes are checked, go ahead and make an offer. You can't just completely ignore Hightower because the Patriots weren't able to get a deal done with him.

James W. (Terre Haute, IN)

It's well and good that we think about the draft. I would like to go past that though. 
Un-drafted players have become starters and pro bowl players in this league and especially for the Colts in past years. Bill Polian was especially gifted in finding these guys for the Colts. Is there any history about Chris Ballard which says he is good at that in finding and signing them? I hope he is.

Bowen: In stops with the Bears and Chiefs, Ballard has been part of scouting staffs finding undrafted success. It's not known how much role Ballard played directly in finding those guys without knowing how the scouting tree broke down for each organization. One thing to remember with undrafted guys. Jimmy Raye III is still in Indianapolis. He has a strong history of finding undrafted guys during his time in San Diego and also has spearheaded that effort in Indianapolis.

Jeff W. (Atlanta, GA)

Hey Kevin,

I always enjoy your articles and mailbag Q&A so I thought I would get into the mix and get your thoughts on something on my mind. Although I appreciate GM Chris Ballard's take on rebuilding the roster I can't help but think he is perhaps giving us a little "under promise and over-deliver" style of speak. I think the roster CAN be rebuilt very quickly in this draft and with this crop of FA's. Here's my take on the rebuild...Am I way off? 
Round 1...Derek Barnett...dominated the combine even while ill.
Round 2...Carl Lawson...very high ceiling and what a combo he would make with Barnett
Round 3...Raekwon McMillan...takes one of the ILB spots with Morrison and Jackson taking the other
Round 4...Cordrea Tankersley CB from Clemson...Competes with Robinson for CB3 spot
Round 4...Joe Williams...RB Utah, super fast (4.41) and super productive in Pac 12
FA's...Brandon Williams from the Ravens and either Gilmore/ Butler for S.

I know this contains a lot of "IFs" but I don't think it's unrealistic. 

Roster rebuilt and ready for a long playoff run for a decade! Go Colts!

Tell me where I'm crazy...Have an awesome day!

Bowen: I don't think your too far off at all. The Colts are not that far off from being a playoff contender. The quicker the defensive improvement, the more those odds improve. I think this offseason would make a lot of fans smile.

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