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Colts Wednesday Mailbag: What Are The Colts' Needs In 2017?

Intro: This Wednesday, mailbag readers inquire about the role for Donte Moncrief in 2016, Ryan Kelly’s health and how the Colts will utilize Robert Mathis this season.


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:Carter N. (Indiana)

I understand that after Luck's new contract you might be tired of ask the questions about it. So my question is asking with a better o line coming in 2016, what do you think will be a new biggest need after the 2016 season(that I really hope we win a Superbowl)?

Bowen: We've been getting a few 2017 draft questions in recent mailbags. This question falls in line with those. The two biggest needs I see going into 2017 reside at the running back position and finding a young pass rusher. At running back, you have Frank Gore turning 33 years old back in May and with two more years left on his contract in Indianapolis. Now, Gore has shown hardly a sliver of any tread on his tires. He continues to be durable and productive. But the Colts have to start looking ahead to life without Gore. Running backs just don't run until their mid-to-late 30s. The Colts do have Robert Turbin and Jordan Todman, but both of those guys are on one-year contracts. That's why I place running back near the top of the priority list, with much of the offensive future already in place on long-term deals. Pass rusher is similar to running back in that the top guys are reaching the final stages of their careers. The Colts know they didn't address pass rush with major resources in 2016, so that remains a focus for 2017. Good news for the Colts is that both of these positions appear to be a strength for next year's draft (something that wasn't the case in 2016).

Luke R. (Rochester, IN)

Hey Kevin,

I have 2 questions to ask you today.

  1. Coming into last season, it was T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, and Jacoby Brissett who were the main names that were expected to perform, with Donte Moncrief more of a backup than a starter. Then, we all saw that in the first few games Luck was in, he was solid, until Luck got injured. With that being said, who do you think will get more yards in 2016: Moncrief, or Hilton?
  1. Seeing all of the undrafted FA for the Colts, I like WR Tevaun Smith the most. Not only did he run a 4.38 40 yard dash, being 6'2", and not being in the NFL Combine, he is a potential big play waiting to happen. Tevaun also had under 700-Yard seasons in college, while playing with talent around him, and average QB's in Iowa. Knowing this, I think that he can potentially be a starter on the Colts (With Time), having Andrew Luck. What are your thoughts on him?

Bowen: 1. I can't see how anyone would bet against T.Y. Hilton under this scenario. I do believe Donte Moncrief will take on an expanded role in 2016. But Hilton is still the top target for Andrew Luck. Their gap might shrink a bit this season, but Hilton has shown he can be a 1,000-yard receiver, regardless of the turnover at quarterback. 2. I've said it before in past mailbags: an undrafted receiver should have a better than decent chance to make the team. The Colts like Smith's potential and he should see a few more chances in this type of offense. His odds aren't great to make the team, but with a strong preseason Smith would warrant some consideration for one of the Colts' final one/two receiver spots.

Matt W. (Plant City, FL)

Quick question Mr. Bowen could we see the Colts grab 1 of the 6 players in the supplemental draft? I was thinkin rashaun simonise. He put up good numbers and he's a big receiver. What's ur take on this Mr. Bowen?

As always COLTS NATION!!!!

Bowen: I'd be surprised. The Colts know how valuable their draft picks are going forward. The supplemental draft offers a bit of a risk in giving up one of your "normal" draft picks to make a choice in the supplemental draft. Unless someone is just too good to pass up (and in my opinion wide receiver wouldn't qualify as that), I see the Colts continuing to pass on making a choice.

Nanette D. (Fort Wayne, IN)

Hey Kevin, Thanks for the Colts mailbag, it has made me a much more informed fan! My question is about the knee brace I saw Ryan Kelley wear in college ball, I also saw other college players wearing them, is this something that is allowed in the NFL? What is the purpose, to protect/support the knee from a torn ACL? Thanks

Bowen: Great to hear, Nathan. Based on the little I do know about ACLs, it's impossible for a brace to completely prevent players from suffering an injury to that joint. I do believe knee braces are allowed to be worn, especially for guys in the trenches. I guess we will find out if Kelly is wearing one in just over a month, when the Colts take on the Packers.

Austin M. (Palm Coast, FL)

Hi Kevin.

I bet your getting a bunch of contract questions, witch is why I won't bother asking one. But my question is, Do you think moncrief will be one of the biggest sleepers this season?

Bowen: Like I said above, I do see a greater role for Donte Moncrief. He gives the Colts a skillset that differs from guys like T.Y. Hilton/Phillip Dorsett. As attention continues to grow towards Hilton, Moncrief should benefit from favorable matchups. The Colts love the potential in Moncrief and this could certainly be a breakout year for the third-year pro.

Gary C. (Port St. Lucie, FL)

I was just wondering. With Andrew's new contract. Did he get a new phone? Or does he still have a flip phone? LOL

Bowen: Haha, as far as I know the flip phone is still fully charged and working for No. 12.

Jonathan T. (Indianapolis)

In your opinion, with our new defensive coordinator will we have Robert Mathis playing more as a DE or as a Linebacker? It only seems obvious he should be on the line again. Also do you think we'll see more CB blitzes?

Bowen: When Ted Monachino has been asked about his defense, he's summed it up by making sure each individual player is 'doing what he does best.' It's no secret for Mathis, that means rushing the passer. I'd expect the pass rush to be built around Mathis and that's what he is going to do a large percentage of the time. I haven't really thought too much about cornerback blitzes. I think when the Colts' defense has played its best in years past, the cornerbacks were dominant. The coverage ability of Vontae Davis and Patrick Robinson is going to be how they can best impact creating pressure on the quarterback, not them individually chasing down QBs. That's why I think we won't see a significant amount of cornerback blitzing. If Davis/Robinson can force quarterbacks to hold the ball a bit longer, it's going to give the rushers up front more and more time.

Isak H. (Mexico City)

Good day, Kevin! How are you? First, I'd like to send the whole team my condolences for the passing of Zurlon Tipton. I guess some people inside must be very affected by the event. Second, amazing to lock up Andrew Luck for six years. Finally, beside Luck, Mathis, Vinatieri and McAfee, will there be more captains for 2016? Thanks!

Bowen: Isak, I echo those condolences to the Tipton family. I can still see that Tipton smile in the locker room and his voice always bringing out laughter from guys on all sides of the ball. As far as your captain question, I'm almost positive the Colts tend to change their captains from game to game. They have a core group (the names you mentioned above for sure), but they also rotate guys into a captaincy role based on strong play, ties to the opponent that week and other various reasons.

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