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:
Gary C. (Port St. Lucie, FL)
Hey Kevin how are you doing? It has been a while since I asked a question. With all these FA being signed on the D side of the ball. Do you think it is possible we pick a RB in the first round? I really like what our new GM is doing.Thank you for all you do to keep us Colts fans informed.
Bowen: I’m doing well, Gary. Hope all is well in your world. I don’t think what’s transpired in the last week really impacts what the Colts are going to do at running back come draft time. I still view running back as a draft need, ideally in the middle rounds. The defensive needs are still there for the Colts because draft picks are where you can really find the high-end talent, on cheap(er) deals, and have first control at re-signing these guys and keeping them under your own roof.
Dustin B. (Kings Mountain, NC)
Hello Kevin, I have wrote before and I just want to say thanks for answering fans questions. My question is about our recent signing of Brian Schwenke, he always played Center for Tennessee but now that we have signed him and have Ryan Kelly as the steady Center what position do you think Schwenke will play?
Bowen: I look at Brian Schwenke like the team viewed Jonotthan Harrison---as the top interior reserve. Schwenke was mainly a center in four seasons with the Titans, but also played some left guard last year. If everything goes according to plan for the Colts, I think Schwenke would dress on game days and be the backup at the three interior spots.
Stan C. (Minneapolis)
Hey, Kevin! Thanks as always for all your hard work. I wanted to briefly touch on the heart-wrenching injury that Washington CB Sidney Jones incurred during his pro day. It's an absolute shame, bringing back memories of the injury that former Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith had during his bowl game a year ago. Injuries like these so close to the draft can be devastating for young men with so much promise. It really makes me sick to my stomach.
I'll ask you the same thing I asked about Smith last year: considering the large number of holes on this roster, and the fact that the Colts need a contributor NOW at that position, do you think that Jones is effectively off of the Colts' draft board entirely? I can't see them spending a pick on him in the first 3 rounds considering their needs, and I imagine some team with a deep roster would gamble and redshirt him before the middle of the 4th round.
Bowen: Really a shame on Jones tearing his Achilles. I think we are on the same page here. I just don’t know if the Colts have enough draft resources to take on a redshirt. Wouldn’t the Browns make sense with so many picks to nab Jones in one of the first three rounds? The Colts need a cornerback, now. They can’t afford to wait on one.
Jeff B. (Los Angeles)
The Colts are clearly big on Dontari Poe and since David Parry is now facing multiple felony charges-- wouldn't Caleb Brantley in the draft make sense? Many believe Brantley is 1st rd talent..
Bowen: Is Brantley a nose tackle? Probably not at just 295 pounds. We get into the nose tackle debate a lot through this mailbag. I think free agency is the more effective route to use when trying to upgrade that position.
Max B. (Indiana)
love your mailbag I am a first time writer. I think the colts should go after a middle linebacker in the draft for round on we need an anchor after letting Jackson go. Also we need some help at the outside linebacker that we can get to create competition like Ballard wants. If we did this we could become contenders in the AFC next year I think what do you think of this and Reuben Foster? Also if you have a mock draft who do you have the colts picking.
Bowen: Foster would be more than ideal at No. 15. But I can’t say I’ve seen too many mock drafts that have Foster falling to the middle of Round One. Tennessee’s Derek Barnett, an outside linebacker, is still my guy at No. 15. That’s more realistic in my eyes, then Foster falling down there.
Chris M. (Sioux Falls, SD)
So far I've been pretty satisfied with the additions in free agency. The reason is the price we got them for. All recent additions were very cap friendly for a ton of upside. But the question is this. Do the Colts now have a better idea weather to draft a corner or a rb. I know that the free agents are not a top tier defensive players but they have never had a full starting spot to show what they can do. I do love the Marcus hunt pick up. But in my opinion is tre'davious white is there at 15 we should really consider in. He could really help out the back end of the defense and be a great addition across from davis. What ya think?
Bowen: I’ve always said that I thought cornerback was just behind outside linebacker as my most important need come draft time. That gap probably has shrunk a bit. The 2017 draft class is supposed to have some nice depth. I fully expect the Colts to tap into that. Let’s not forget that Vontae Davis is in a contract year as well.
Marissa M. (Tampa, FL)
I wanted to say that I'm sure the off-season is tough for you as these crazy mock drafts from fans come in and I can only imagine you reading them all lol. Some make me laugh really hard but everyone has the right to be a fan and dream :)
My question for you is about our DL. I know we got some decent/workable free agent linebackers, but as of now- what is our starting and second string line up for the DL 2017? Please exclude Parry as, tell me if I'm wrong, he will either be suspended for the first couple games or ultimately cut. I know we still might add players in FA and late rounds in the draft, but I just wanted to see what our DL looks like if we stayed as is. Thanks so much!
Bowen: Haha, thanks Marissa. Right now I’ll go with this as the defensive line: NT: David Parry, T.Y. McGill; DT: Henry Anderson, Arthur Jones; DE: Kendall Langford, Hassan Ridgeway. You could probably throw Margus Hunt into the rotation, too. Remember, these bodies are interchangeable for the most part. Outside of healthy returns for Anderson and Langford, the reps should really be up for grabs along the defensive line.
Willie B. (Indianapolis)
Kevin , really enjoy reading your column. My question Can Art Jones play NT? If so , that could give colts more money to spend somewhere else on defense.
Bowen: This is a good question, Willie. I can’t recall seeing Art Jones as a base nose tackle at all in his time with the Colts. But maybe Ballard looks at his skillset and sees a guy who could play there. What the Colts do at nose tackle in 2017 is something I don’t have a great grasp on. The Dontari Poe-situation makes sense, but he’s still taking visits. To me, it’s difficult to find a NT in the draft. You just don’t see many college defenses having to rely on a true NT. Too many teams in college play spread on offense, so the need isn’t there for some 330-pound NT in the middle for more than a down or two.
Leonardo B. (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Hi Kevin. We've signed 4 new OLB (Bazzie, Simon, Mingo and Sheard). That could reduce our chance to take an OLB at first round of the draft? Maybe increasing the odds for Cook or an elite CB? Regads.
Bowen: We get into this one in a later question. In short, it doesn’t in my mind. You can’t pass up an elite pass rusher, if one is there at No. 15. Cornerback has always been a need, and remains a pretty high one with the release of Patrick Robinson.
Don W. (Indianapolis)
For taking my questions. I like the Allen trade except I wish they wouldn't have gave up our 6th round pick with it. At least made the 6th round next year. Do you think we might have given up a little to much in the trade? Also what's our chances of going after Zach Brown and TJ McDonald as well as Poe in free agency?
If we could get them at the right price they are all still young and would boast our defense along with these years draft picks. Thanks again for all you do!!
Bowen: We get into the Allen/trade talk below. Right now, it doesn’t look like the Colts are serious contenders for those free agents. Poe is still out there, but you always worry when a guy takes other visits. Maybe Poe just enjoys the “free agency tour” aspect of this time of year. It is interesting the Colts haven’t been linked to any free agent cornerbacks/safeties in the past week.
Ron H. (Newark, DE)
This week I have a question regarding Alex Bazzie. I've seen that we made some moves at the OLB position signing Mingo, Sheard, and Simon, but where does that leave Bazzie? The guy is a bit undersized for a pass rusher built similar to Mathis when he first came to the colts, but Bazzie has shown some really good athleticism in the CFL and made some great plays in space and coverage during his CFL career. What is the likelihood that we move him to ILB? There he will have the ideal size for the position and can really showcase his athleticism while giving us an ILB that can also blitz. Similar to Shazier for the steelers.
Bowen: Bazzie is going to get a chance in the offseason to impress. It’s a clean slate for virtually the entire roster, so Bazzie will have his opportunities, especially jumping up to the level of competition. Unless the Colts envision something else, I’d assume Bazzie will remain at OLB and see if he can show off the pass rushing talent he did north of the border. If Bazzie can get after the quarterback, he’s going to find his way onto the field. But the need is still there for a new face or two at inside linebacker.
Roberto S. (San Francisco)
Hello Mr. Bowen, I've been hearing that the Colts tend to sign most free agent players who come for a visit. I was wondering if you have any statistics from the previous years or the percent of players that sign once they visit?
Bowen: I don’t have any exact percentages because all the visits are never announced. It was a very high rate with Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson. It seems to be pretty high with Chris Ballard, too. Dontari Poe is the only name I’ve seen as a published visitor, who has moved on to other visits.
Sean F. (Connecticut)
Do you think that Chris Ballard will bring in better draft picks then those of past years with Grigson considering his history of good picks with the chiefs? As well as do you think tight ends like Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox will have what it takes to shine for the team at that position?
Bowen: That’s certainly the goal and hope of Colts fans. The Chiefs did have a nice run on draft picks the last four years, including three Pro Bowlers taken in the third round or later during that span. With the tight ends, Swoope is the biggest question for me. His jump to what we saw last year was incredible. But Swoope played more than 12 snaps in just five games. The Colts are going to be asking a lot more out of him in 2017. As long as Swoope can keep up the consistency, things should be just fine at the tight end position.
Jarred M. (Marlon, AR)
Hey Kevin, I have a couple questions for you. First about free agency,with Poe leaving without a deal it's kind of a good thing don't you think? Johnathan Hankins and Bennie Logan are still free agents and won't cost as much as Poe and it would leave money to purse Dont'a Hightower or Zach Grown. Second, in regards to the draft, with us letting go of both Adams and Butler we will need someone to compete since there really isn't a decent safety in FA. I think Obi Melifonwu is worth a second round pick or third if he last that long.
Bowen: If you’re looking to save money, I guess it’s a good thing. Logan has since singed with the Chiefs. I do think the Colts should still look at upgrading the interior of their defensive line. Free agency is probably the best route for that.
Dave L. (Colchester, VT)
Hi Kevin thanks for the reply last week I just can't agree with your no quality O lineman in round 2. We are going to have a lot of new faces on our d squad. I don't care who we get there will be a major learning phase. People will need to learn the D. People will need to learn to play with new teammates. D coaches will need to learn all about the true skills of a lot of new players. this will take time. the best thing we can do for our defense is make sure our offense can chew up the clock and score something most every time they get the ball, an Atlanta Falcons look early. The best way to get to that offense is to shore up our improved O line with another quality player. As a fan I think we should be in the playoffs next year. Do you think our new GM is expecting a rebuilding year?
Bowen: I don’t think so. With Andrew Luck under center, you aren’t rebuilding. The Colts had the NFL’s 30th ranked defense last year and were still just a game away from the playoffs. It will definitely be a new-look roster, especially on defense. But I don’t think that qualifies the Colts as a “rebuild.”
Cameron E. (Ohio State)
Hello, Kevin. Are you part of Andrew Luck's book club?
Bowen: Cameron, sadly, I am not. I should read more. I’d like to read more books. (Hopefully Andrew isn’t reading this).
Silas M. (Shelbyville, IN)
My question is in regard to the Dwayne Allen trade.
I mostly don't like this trade. This was a contract dump in my opinion. I just don't think that the organization got a good deal for the last pick in the 4th round, giving up Dwayne and a mid 6th pick.
I loathe the Pats and worry that a Gronk/Allen in-line blocking/Redzone TD tandem is going to be an overwhelming obstacle in our future.
Understandably the pick allows for flexibility moving in the draft and with trades but I think we gave our greatest franchise rival a "rich get richer" deal. Allen's injury history played a part as well I know.
Do you think this was a rushed move?
Could we have gauged league interest in Allen further, before making a move?
Bowen: I don’t. Trades involving players for picks often don’t add up on paper. Look at the Eagles last year in trading DeMarco Murray to the Titans. To get Murray, the Titans moved back 13 spots in Round Four. So they traded back 13 positions in a middle round of the draft to get the third-leading rusher in the NFL. That's crazy. It’s hard to get a decent draft pick in exchange for a player. Really difficult. I was actually surprised the Patriots gave up a fourth rounder given Allen’s injury history. I don’t think the Colts could have gotten much more than they did for Allen. The Colts had depth at the tight end position, they know the 2017 TE draft class is deep, so that’s why Chris Ballard wanted to make the move. I don’t have any real issues with it.
Aditya D. (Bettendorf, IA)
Thanks for answering my earlier question
My question is: Which do you think more likely?
1st: Dalvin Cook
2nd: Carl Lawson
3rd: Eddie Jackson
1st: Derek Barnett
2nd: Alvin Kamara
3rd: Eddie Jackson
1st: Derek Barnett
2nd: Carl Lawson
3rd: Eddie Jackson
Basically for free agency, if Butler doesn't sign elsewhere, we should try to get him back. Then Geathers can be moved to ILB or maybe OLB, and let Eddie Jackson be backup. However, if he does sign elsewhere, I would probably pick an ILB using the traded Patriots pick. Then I would keep Geathers at S, and still have Eddie Jackson as backup. I would also love to have Turbin back, but we wouldn't absolutely need him if we picked a RB.
Which of the draft scenarios do you think the most likely? Thanks.
Bowen: Let’s go with No. 2 (Barnett, Kamara, Jackson). I still would like a cornerback in one of your scenarios. But going with the ones you laid out, No. 2 makes the most sense to me.
James C. (Northwest, England)
Hi Kevin hope you are well.
My question comes off the back of a few quite clever free agency signings on the defensive side of the ball. I love the signing of Sheard to add that real tough attitude but I also like the highly versatile low risk singing of Simon. With those guys on the edge, does it now come down to corner back or a case of best DEFENSIVE player available in round one? Also here is my updated mock draft:
Round 1- Marlon Humphrey CB Alabama. CB opposite Vontae is a must and Humphrey has size and speed to play on the perimeter.
Round 2- Tanoh Kpassagnon DE Villanova. 6'7 edge rusher who's athletic ability shone at the combine and this isn't a reach at all. His huge frame adds some much needed physicality.
Round 3- Anthony Walker ILB Noethwestern. Linebacker is a spot of need and he will pair up well with our young stud Morrison.
Round 4- Josh Harvey-Clemons S Louisville. Huge rangy safety with great athletic ability who could step in right away if needed.
Round 4- Elijah Hood RB North Carolina. Frank Gore's replacement who had a great career in college and will learn a lot from Frank.
Round 4- Howard Wilson CB Houston. With Butler on his way out we need a guy who can do the slot, Wilson can come in and do that with Davis and Humphrey on the perimeter.
Round 5- Jeremy Sprinkle TE Arkansas. Huge big bodied tight end that has experience in two tight end sets and a great blocker.
What do you think of my mock draft? Many thanks take it easy
Bowen: Let’s not totally ignore the outside linebacker position anymore. We had this sort of question a lot in the Wednesday mailbag. Yes, the Colts added three outside linebackers to the mix during free agency. But that should not keep the Colts from drafting one in April. Pure pass rushers simply don’t hit free agency. They are drafted and then re-signed. The Colts need to try and get one of those. I don’t think anyone would classify Jabaal Sheard, John Simon and Barkevious Mingo as “pure” pass rushers. That’s why the Colts need to still look into finding such a guy in the draft. Of course, cornerback remains a major need, but don’t forget about outside linebacker either.
Tony C. (Charleston, SC)
G'day mate. Great start so far in free agency (in my opinion). Out with the old and in with the new. It seems like Ballard is going to create a team wherein every player will be working their hardest to prove they can be a starter...competition at every position. Now to my question: I'm not sure how much more we will spend in free agency. And if we happen to sign Poe, we will probably not spend much more. But what do you think about these guys and how much do you think each would "cost"? Great young RB's in Rex Burkhead and Latavius Murray. I think Burkhead could be a steal and great addition to our backfield. Two young LB's in Kevin Minter and Zack Brown. We could get either or both for a fraction of what Hightower would cost.(We could then address an elite OLB and CB in the draft. Two of each. Then a RB, G/T and TE/WR.) Is that too much to ask? lol
Bowen: I think the re-signing of Robert Turbin likely eliminates another free agent running back coming in at the value Murray/Burkhead would likely receive. I think the rest of your free agency is a little too greedy. I’d be surprised if the Colts could or tried to make all those moves. The competition has improved. Now, the other major building (rebuilding) this offseason has to come through the draft.
Dana P. (Iowa)
Why are we not getting a Big Power Running back?
Bowen: Personally, I think the Colts need more of a quicker/shiftier back than a power guy. Frank Gore and Robert Turbin are closer to being power guys, than speed guys. It would be great to have a change of space guy that the Colts could even use in some third-down situations. The ability to make plays in space is the trait I would be looking for in adding to the running back group.
John A. (Phoenix)
Knowing the Colts have needs across the board on defense, what qualities do you think are most important for any new players? My belief is that the overall speed needs a dramatic upgrade
Bowen: The Colts have said that getting faster is a definite desired trait they are looking for going forward. Off-the-field, a strong locker room presence is also wanted. Chris Ballard has made it very clear that he’s not going to spend a big dollar if the guy cannot coexist and be the sort of player with a strong work ethic.
Carter J. (Connersville, IN)
Why did we get rid of Coby Fleener?
Bowen: I think Fleener’s inconsistency in being a true balanced tight end was probably the biggest reason he wasn’t re-signed. It was clear Rob Chudzinski was looking for more of a Dwayne Allen-type for his offense. The Colts saw that tight end balance (via the pass and run) from Jack Doyle and Erik Swoope, too. There’s no way the Colts could have kept both Allen and Fleener and still had the proper cap space to fill other needs.
Jeffrey K. (Colquitt, GA)
Hey Kevin how are you today and thanks for answering my questions. My first question is do you think we should bring in Zach Brown or should we address ILB in the draft? Also if we sign Poe do you see us keeping David Parry or Art Jones? With all the moves we are making it seems like CB or ILB might be our 1st round pick let me know what you think of this Mock Draft.
Round 1. Quincy Wilson CB
Round 2. Raekwon McMillan ILB
Round 3. Derek Rivers OLB
Round 4. Joe Mixon RB
Round 4. Eddie Jackson FS
Round 4. Marquel Lee ILB
Round 5. Corn Elder CB
Thanks as always for your time Kevin
Bowen: I like a Kevin Minter/Zach Brown addition in free agency at inside linebacker. You would add some much-needed starting experience for a very young ILB group. Right now, it’s looking like Poe and the Falcons are the favorite to team up together. If the Colts did sign Poe, Parry and Jones could be expendable based off what type of competition Ballard wants this offseason. I think the biggest thing missing is a pure pass rusher. That’s what the Colts need, because you just can’t find those elite traits in free agency.
Grant L. (Jasper, IN)
Being a Hoosier and all, I was wondering what you thought about the possibility of the Colts taking one of the Indiana players in this years draft class (Dan Feeney and Devine Redding). I've seen most mock drafts have Feeney going late first or early second round and Redding maybe in one of the later rounds. Is it possible that we trade down to the 30th or so pick and get Feeney or take a risk in round 7 on Redding. If not, who do you see the Colts taking in round 1. Thank You!
Bowen: I’m not a fan of taking an offensive lineman that high. The defensive needs are too immense for this team to spend a first-round pick on the OL. I do think Dan Feeney has a great chance at being a long-term guard in the NFL. I would be okay with Redding in the later rounds. I’m of the thinking that a running back in the middle rounds would fit my ideal draft. Redding probably isn’t going to go that high though.
Terry G. (Greenwood, IN)
Hello Mr. Bowen hope all is well. I haven't submitted a question in quite a while. Along with all of my fellow armchair GM's I am excited about this year's draft. But I don't understand why more isn't being said about TJ Watt. This is a kid who started out as a tight end(ala JJ Watt ) then had some injuries. His first full season on defense he has 63 tackles, 15.5 for loss, and 11 1/2 sacks. He garnered first team all big 10 honors as well as second team associated press. I've compared his combine numbers with JJ's. He beat him in almost every category except for benchpress but I have to believe that a year with an NFL trainer could put more muscle mass on this kid. Which Mayock said in his profile that he has plenty of room to grow on his frame. This kid has beast written all over him. Now I know that they're saying that the number 15 pic isn't worth it. That the value is not there. But I have a feeling that we are going to regret it if we don't take him . I have a feeling he's going to be a monster. I can't speak for everyone but I would love to have a Watt of my own.What are your thoughts on him? as always thank you for everything you do with the mail bag and keep up the great work. Have a wonderful week Mr. Bowen and as always GO COLTS!
Bowen: Terry, good to hear from you. This is a well-thought out question about a prospect who has quite the name for a defensive prospect right now in the NFL. It doesn’t seem like Watt is worth the value at 15, but you make some compelling points. Is the ceiling there for Watt to warrant the selection at No. 15? Another thing that could play in Watt’s favor is if we see a run on pass rushers in the top half of the first round. Could the Colts trade a few picks back and still get Watt in Round One? That’s something to keep in mind. I think 15 is just a tad early for Watt.
Joe G. (Indianapolis)
What do you think about the colts getting Charles in Free agency would it be a good move
Bowen: Too old, for my doing. The Colts need to get younger at running back after bringing back Robert Turbin to play behind Frank Gore.
Alvaro F. (San Francisco)
Hey Kevin, how are you doing?
Now that the combine and the first days of free agency are behind us, I had some questions for you.
I think both of our OLB moves have been pretty good, but none of those two players are elite pass rushers, thats why I think that our first round selection should be a DE. My main ones are Solomon Thomas and Derek Barnett. Derek is the more likely option, and I think we should grab him if he is around at 15th.
I had OLB here, but since we have 2 solid/O.K. OLBs now, i decided to change it to CB. Honestly, I like all the CB options, except Teez Tabon, so any talent that slides from the first round, I'm fine picking up here.
A running back. In a class filled with talent, R3 is still going to have game changing players. Many people want Kamara in R2, but I see him as an edge runner. On the other hand, Samaje Perine has the size and strength to run it up the gut and even though he might need more space than a usual RB, he can also run the ball around the tackle. Even better, his draft stock will drop because of the hype around Joe Mixton, so I think he will be more than available in R3.'
Well, with DA's departure, we need a TE. This came out of the blue, so I have not explored the class well, but I did watch them during the combine and they are goooooood. And while the big names are gone, I think a TE like Jake Butt, big, strong, great hands, can fit our scheme.
My other pick would be CB. Since the departure of Robinson, our next CBs would be Melvin and Morris.....so yeah. They are both solid back-ups, but during most of the 2016 season, they were being torched by opposing WR. One of my elections would be whiterspoon of Colorado. He has the size and athletism to be great, but his insticts aren't exceptional (kind of like T.J. Green). Lastly, I would pick up a ILB. I think edwin and anotonio are pretty solid, and at the end of the season they looked great to me. I don't understand why analysts are ripping them. This ILB would be to add depth and "competition (Chris Ballard's idealism).
More comepetition, yay! Devonte Fields. I see his potential and see a future NFL star. If he stayed out of trouble and worked harder, he could be a top-10 pick. However, his off-field issues and his mediocre combine cause him to drop. I actually think we could trade back in to latter R5 for a R6 pick and still get him.
Thanks for your time
Bowen: Fans could really get behind this sort of Mock Draft. How the Colts handle the secondary is something that remains up in the air after nearly a week of free agency.
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