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Colts Wednesday Mailbag: Why Did The Colts Release D'Qwell Jackson?

Intro: This Wednesday, mailbag readers inquire about Chris Ballard’s possible plan of attack in free agency, Dwayne Allen’s future with the Colts and how important finding another cornerback is this offseason.

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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:

Jesse U. (Portsmouth, NH)

Kevin,

Always nice to keep tabs on the Shoe even though opening kickoff seems forever away. As a Colts fan living in the New England area, it can be tough seeing first-hand how the Patriots seem to acquire (usually successfully) other teams' castoffs for marginal draft picks. Eric Rowe and Kyle Van Noy stand out as recent examples, both of whom Indy could have used as pieces to a younger and more athletic defense last season and going forward. 

A) Does Ballard have any history of similar acquisition propensity?

B) Do any players jump out at you as likely targets, assuming you buy into all of the above preamble?

C) Please, please, please...enough about the Dalvin Cook mock drafts at pick 14. I'd really like to see the pick traded back (preferably more than once) and garner some ammo for scenario B) or to package with later round picks to move up a little later on in the draft (high 4th?) to grab a RB for the future. I'd feel a lot better taking Barnett at, say 25, than at 14. 

D) Hopefully Tom Brady only has one or two championship caliber seasons left in him, and Indy can be in position by then to assume the mantle as best AFC team and 8 year window to win multiple rings!

Bowen: A. It's hard to say Ballard specifically has that history, but Kansas City did use a variety of avenues in acquiring talent over the past four years. Again, it's difficult to know how much of a role Ballard played in those moves without being behind closed doors in KC. The draft is still going to be the bulk of the building for the Colts, but there is past precedent with Ballard's previous stops going down different paths. B. Right now, it's hard to see anyone outside of the unrestricted lists that are going around. It's usually later in the offseason, and even during the regular season, when the Patriots really do some damage in "under the radar" sort of guys.

Matt C. (Paducah, KY)

Hi Kevin,
Thanks for all you do. Would the Colts consider releasing Dwayne Allen? I realize they needed to keep one of he or Fleener, but health and production are just not there. Doyle has emerged as a starter and although Swoope is still learning, maybe the $$ saved is worth it.
-Thanks

Bowen: I don't think so. We've had a good amount of questions regarding the tight end position going forward. The Colts aren't that cap strapped to where they need to trim a bunch of "borderline" contracts. Did Dwayne Allen have his struggles in 2016? Yes. But I still think there are enough positives that he's an asset to this football team. You would really be throwing a lot more responsibility on Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox to see them move up another rung on the ladder of what the Colts will need in 2017, if you released Allen. Rob Chudzinski wants to use multiple tight ends a lot. The Colts are still working through the proven depth at receiver, so having that in place at tight end is a definite bonus that I think is needed.

Daryl I. (Ontario, Canada)

Hey Kevin thanks for taking my question my question is do u believe TJ Green and Antonio Morrison have the makings of being starters? And your thoughts on Right side of OL

Bowen: If we are talking 2017, I'd give the slight nod to Morrison being more ready than Green. I think eventually both of these guys can be starters in this league. Morrison might be more restricted to early downs. The Colts are going to have to answer your first question this offseason. How this staff views Green and Morrison really is going to impact how the offseason unfolds. These guys should become full-time starters at some point. I just don't know if it's definitely this season. With the offensive line inquiry, roll with Joe Haeg at right guard and Le'Raven Clark at right tackle. Those guys showed enough, in my mind, last year to get a chance at starting from Week One in 2017.

John S. (Edmond, OK)

Of course our defense needs to be the thought process from the draft. What would you think about this offseason? 

Resign: jack Doyle and Darius butler

FA signings: Melvin Ingram, Zach Brown

Draft
1st: Derek Barnett EDGE Tennessee
2nd: Marlon Humphries CB Alabama 
3rd: Samaje Perine RB Oklahoma 
4th: Duke Riley ILB LSU
5th: Jordan Sterns LB/S OK State
6th: Josh Carraway EDGE TCU 

I believe our oline with a full offseason should be a lot better and we showed better towards the end of the year.

Bowen: You take care of a lot of issues with this offseason outlook. My two questions: What about Robert Turbin? Also, I know I haven't talked about it too much, but I think the defensive line is a position Chris Ballard is going to look into. Does Ballard think the Colts have the right 3-4 personnel up front? If he doesn't think so, then more of a defensive line rebuild could be in order this offseason.

Ken B. (New Castle, IN)

Hey Kevin; it's me again with a draft question I have recently been looking at draft prospects and want to know how you feel about Zach Cunningham from Vandy he looks real intriguing and you think and what your thoughts were and Drafting a player at safety like Teddrick Thompson and getting maybe CB and outside LB in free agency

Bowen: People seem high on Cunningham. However, I don't know if he's worthy of the 14/15 pick in Round One. With your second question, you HAVE to get younger at cornerback and outside linebacker. That comes through the draft, not free agency. You cannot afford to pass up a corner and/or an outside linebacker come draft time.

David B. (Clearwater, FL)

Hello Kevin, Being 61 years old now and a Colt fan since 1969, I ve seen a lot of changes in this sport. Field is the same size, still 22 men playing a game. But little left is the same. Kevin one big head scratcher is the switch from 4/3 to 3/4. Could you help me out with some stats or your thoughts on are we a better defense now than we were with the 4/3? Do you believe we would be even further behind if we had not switched? In my amber years now as a Colt fan, I skip the combine, draft and FA. How-ever cant wait for Sep to arrive. Thank you and GO COLTS

Bowen: I think the overall thinking in defensive schemes is more of how the NFL is changing. The days of a 4-3 defense with a run-stuffing middle linebacker playing every down are gone. Teams want more speed, more flexibility in their defense. That's needed with how offenses are going more and more spread. Now, the Colts haven't improved defensively since changing their scheme. Has the personnel completely fit? No. That's Chris Ballard's job to find some personnel hits to work into a 3-4 scheme.

Alex H. (Stockton, CA)

Thank you for answering my wide receiver question from wednesday. Question was would Colts move Castanzo to right tackle? My question is who would they get to watch Andrew's blind side? Ricky Wagner in FA or Ryan Ramcyzk in the draft? Both are Wisconsin Badgers, interesting. Unless Colts get someone like Dont'a Hightower, Melvin Ingram, or even Tony Jefferson in FA I have no doubt in thinking Colts will use first round pick on a pass rusher or at least defensive player. I don't see plenty of options at left tackle if Castanzo moves to right. Side question super excited about Ballard being Colts new gm. Excited for change mostly. Anyway with his new philosophy on buying a locker room. Do you think there is a high chance at least this first offseason Ballard makes a splash in free agency? Thank you, go Colts!

Bowen: We, once again, had several Anthony Castonzo questions enter the mailbag this week. Castonzo is this team's left tackle. Per Pro Football Focus, Castonzo was the 12th ranked left tackle in the NFL last season. Did Castonzo have some struggles early in 2016? Yes. But this is a more than capable left tackle, who is under a very reasonable contract for several years to come. The Colts just don't have an abundance of resources to try an "upgrade" left tackle. With your "buy the locker room" question, I'm not sure I understand it. Ballard said you can't buy a locker room, hence more of the focus on the draft.

Tony C. (Charleston, SC)

How are you again? In many questions, fans are talking about signing three free agents and you "dismiss" this. If we have close to $60 million dollars (I'm sure we'll free up more cap space soon), would it be too much to spend $30 million on three starters via free agency? The Colts would still have $30 million to sign a few of their own and the incoming rookie class. And probably have some to carry over to next year. I think we can get starters at LB, OLB and CB with $30 million. But that may be wishful thinking. Your thoughts? Thanks again.

Bowen: Just because you have close to $60 million doesn't mean you are going to spend all of if it in one offseason. You can go out and get a couple of starters in free agency, take care of your own re-signing needs, have left over cap room for the draft…and still have some to carry into 2018. You can't ignore the future and the down the road contracts needed for guys like Jack Mewhort and Donte Moncrief. You make some very strong points in your question. I just don't think Chris Ballard will be spending that much in Year One. Teams routinely don't spend all of their cap room in a given offseason.

Jeffrey K. (Colquitt, GA)

Hey Kevin I got a new mock draft for you along with possible trade down scenarios and free agent pickup.

Round 1. ILB/OLB Hasson Reddick, colts trade down in 1st round to get a player in the mid to late 20s range in exchange for another late 2nd round pick.

Round 2. OLB Carl Lawson and CB Gareon Conley.

Round 3. RB Jamaal Williams

Round 4. OLB Daeshon Hall
Round 4 compensatory pick ILB Anthony Walker.

Round 5 Colts trade down to draft SS Jamal Carter and get a 6th round pick. 

Round 6. DE Lewis Neal

Round 7.BPA

Free agent pickup NT Dontari Poe and resign TE's Jack Doyle & Erik Swoope, CB/S Darius Butler.

Thanks for your time Kevin have a great day

Bowen: No Robert Turbin coming back? That's my first gripe. Also, are you truly addressing edge rusher with the resources that is needed? Is Carl Lawson enough? I'm not sure if you did enough for the pass rushing issues.

David O. (Pontotoc, MS)

Hi Kevin, I'm a weekly reader and first time writer. I was wondering what your thought would be about the Colts getting Micah Hyde in FA. And secondly letting Mike Adams walk and resigning Butler. Let Hyde take over at slot db and but Butler at safety.

Bowen: That's an intriguing name. Hyde has some nice versatility in the secondary. Of course, teams value that right now in the NFL. The Butler/Adams debate is something that has a glaring "pro" in the category for Butler. Age. Five years younger than Adams, Butler has a big pro going for him in coming back to the Colts. He's a re-sign guy for me.

Jordan G. (Laramie, WY)

Hey Kevin, with the draft coming up here shortly do you see it plausible that the Colts will draft a RB in one of the mid-rounds? Personally I would love to see them pick up Brian Hill out of Wyoming in the 3rd or 4th round what are your thoughts?

Bowen: Yes. A mid-round running back is part of my off-season plan. That's certainly in the cards for what I think should take place this offseason.

Mark R. (North Carolina)

What was purpose of releasing Daquel Jackson
one of top defensive players on team? what is plan here?

Bowen: Age and money are two major reasons for it. Jackson didn't help himself with a four-game suspension in the heart of the season either. The Colts didn't see the need to pay a 34-year-old linebacker more than $5 million. The plan to replace Jackson remains to be seen. Inside linebacker is a need going into the offseason.

Tyler S. (Coggon, IA)

Hey Kevin, I was just wondering where you think the colts will go with their first round pick. I was thinking if Dalvin Cook slips down to the 15th or 14th pick we should take him. Andrew Luck would benifit a lot if we had a run game to speak of. The other way we could go is defense, I don't know many defensive prospects other than Myles. If you have any insight on where we should go with this pick it would be nice.

Bowen: My insight for Round One is this: defense. Dalvin Cook is a wonderful talent. One that would look great with Andrew Luck. But the defensive needs are greater.

Joshua L. (Fort Sill, OK)

Hey Kevin how is life treating you? My question for you is should we bring in JPP if he hits the open market and then draft Soloman Thomas with our 1st pick if he is available? I personally think he is the 2nd best pass rusher behind myles garrett of course. 2nd round hope for Christian McCaffrey Running Back from stanford? And 3rd round Eddie Jackson Safety from Alabama. Round 4 i would like to see us draft Kendall Beckwith LB from LSU. Yeah he tore his ACL but the man is extremly physical and if he gets healthy could be our starter come week 1. Fred Ross with our compensary 4th round pick from Mississippi state. Maybe Howard Wilson in the 5th round CB from Houston. Then probably a punter with our last pick. Thanks in Advance. I really hope to see us draft Soloman Thomas or Dalvin Cook in the 1st round.

Bowen: Life is great, Joshua. A beautiful week weather wise here in Indianapolis. I don't see the need for both JPP and Thomas. Too similar players in my mind to spend a large chunk of your cap space and your first-round pick on guys of a similar mold. I'm not sure if JPP is a fit for what the Colts are looking for off the edge in their 3-4 defense.

Stan C. (Minneapolis)

Hey, Kevin! Thanks as always for all your hard work. While we wait for franchise tags announcements to drop, I've got a question about this CB draft class.

This may well be the best CB class in recent memory, both in terms of switch and first-round talent. That being said, there is a lot to follow for the average fan. There's press-man vs zone, outside vs slot vs safety-versatile, height-weight-speed vs ball skills/hand use vs hips/mirroring, etc. Could you give us a couple names who would be particularly good fits within the Colts' system opposite Vontae Davis (besides Lattimore, who is almost assuredly going in the top 10)? And maybe throw in a couple of players who, despite their overall talent, may be poor fits? Just to give fans a little more focus on which names are more relevant for the Colts. Thanks once again for your insight!

Bowen: From what I've read, it looks like the Florida corners (Wilson/Tabor) have the traits the Colts are looking for. Whereas Desmond King from Iowa might not be your pure man corner at the next level. I've said it in previous mailbags, I think we should maybe be paying more attention to the cornerback position this offseason. Given Chris Ballard's background (in how Kansas City truly changed the secondary personnel over the last four years) and the current makeup of the Colts defensive backfield, don't be shocked if corner is addressed in a bigger way than many expect in the next couple of months. Drafting a big-time cornerback also helps your pass rush. I still think the outside linebacker need is higher. But taking a young cornerback early on come draft time is really going to help this football team.

Scott G. (Iowa)

My question is about our running back group. As much as I'd love to see the colts draft a Cook or Mcaffery, I know that our defense needs the help early in the draft. want to know what you think Josh Furgeson (I'm sure I spelled that wrong) can do this year? All offseason last year I heard comparisons to Sproles and he didn't really produce in the run game. Do you think he will improve in year 2?

Bowen: Josh Ferguson deserves another chance and should get that in 2017. Ferguson's drops sent him to the bench around mid-October of 2016. We really never saw the true playmaking out of Ferguson, which set several school records at Illinois. The Colts need to draft a running back in April. But giving Ferguson some chances come preseason has to happen, too. His numbers in college were too good to throw away after one year.

Cameron S. (Eastlake, OH)

Hey Kevin this is my first time writing and just like everyone else I have some draft stuff coming your way. So I see the possibility of trading down in the first round to get another second rounder. 

Round 1:
Round one I say defense all the way no matter what and in my eyes it has to be a pass rusher and since we traded down I think maybe Takk will be there if not Tim Williams. 

Round : 2
Either our first second rounder I say a CB like Gareon Conley or Tredavious White. With our 2nd second rounder I say ILB and this would be middle second round so I think Jerrod Davis out of Florida is still there.

Round 3: 
Easy RB and the most underrated guy I believe is Kareem hunt out of Toledo. He's a mixture of speed and power and can catch out of the backfield. Plus he's from the same city as me so that would be really cool.

Round 4: 
This is were it gets a little hard to choose but I love Nzair jones from UNC he kind of reminds me of Leonard Williams and his ability to rush the passer as and interior defensive lineman.

With our second 4th rounder I would get safety this pick can all change from the combine but Jon Johnson is pretty solid and I know the colts talked to him at the senior bowl

Round 5: I would pick either a RG or RT 

Round 6: this round is just whatever but a second pass rusher or CB would be nice 

Thank you for your time Kevin and I hope you liked my little mock draft. Have a nice day.

Bowen: I see you traded down but then I don't see where the other second-round pick is. I like what you've done with the draft, but the trade must lead to some substance. With trading back, you run the risk of passing on a really high-level defender, if you move back too far.

John P (Wilkes-Barre, PA)

I get the idea of taking a RB in this draft but with all the other needs not in the 1st RD. What do you think of these ideas?
1st Sid Jones CB Wash
2nd Cris McCaffery RB Stan 
3rd Jorden Willis Edge K St
4th Hunter Dimick DE Utah
4th Vince Biegel OLB Wisc
5th J Ledbetter DT Ark
6th Ben Boulware ILB Clem

Bowen: Are you addressing pass rushing enough? Maybe slide the running back down a round or two, and push edge rusher up a bit. We haven't had too many fan "mocks" go with a cornerback in Round One. Chris Ballard had a lot of success in scouting another former Washington cornerback in Marcus Peters a few years ago. Peters turned into an All-Pro. Will Ballard head back to the Pacific Northwest in search for another first-round corner?

Earlie L. (Enigma, GA)

will the team play more hurryup it seem to work fine when we us it?

Bowen: More tempo is something I could see happening more in 2017. Another year in Rob Chudzinski's system, the return of virtually your entire skill group and the offensive line coming back pretty much intact, should make for easier lines of communication between Andrew Luck and the guys around him.

Matt W. (Gaithersburg, MD)

Hi Mr.Bowen to my recent question ur right RB beckham and WR bohringer was a recent question that u answered and I understand bohringer NOT being a colt cause he's signed to vikings but the RB beckham y did we not jump on him like we did Eric swoop? Beckham was a beast in the combine especially in strength and if I'm not mistakin he had more reps then anybody in the combine and to me that's somethin u don't see every day in a runnin back so my question is why did we take on Eric swoope with no football knowledge but didn't try atleast Beckham?? And from what I seen beckham had more to show for in the combine then TE swoope so y swoop and not beckham? Thanks Mr. Bowen and as always COLTS NATION!!!

Bowen: Swoope was a high-level Division I basketball player in the same mold of past tight ends coming from the NCAA hardwood ranks. There's clearly a reason why no one is snatching up Beckham. Swoope has traits that could transition. He wasn't just a workout/combine warrior.

Andreas T. (Austria)

Hi Kevin,

My question is about the needs on multiple positions. It is hard to find every position of need only in the draft. Do you think the following scenario, is something, the organisation is thinking about?
Pick up Melvin Ingram in FA and sign Jack Doyle and Darius Butler to new deals. Maybe there is a little chance to keep Erik Walden, depends on his price tag (I would not franchise tag him).
After this moves, the situation in the draft, would look a lot more comfortable, because not every position is a TOP-need. You would be able to take the best player available (Cook in 1st Round - like in most Mock Drafts) and take OLB (2nd), CB (3rd) and ILB (4th). In this scenario you don't have to pass on a talented player like Cook and still can address your position of needs. Furthermore you can keep a little cap space.

Bowen: We had this sort of scenario enter the mailbag on more than one occasion this week. Outside of Dalvin Cook in Round One, I really like you're thinking. I was looking this up the other day. It's been over a decade since the Colts have drafted a defender that turned into a second contract guy in Indianapolis. That has to change. I just don't think the Colts can afford to take a running back that high. You need young defensive talent coming from top picks.

Nick H. (Redlands, CA)

Hey there Kevin, I have yet another draft question. OK so I do like us taking Florida States dalvin cook in the first Rd, but with that being said do you think we could still get a quality edge rusher in the second round? Because I feel that is a much bigger need but cook could be that lead back that takes some of that weight off of Andrew lucks shoulders it would be an interesting predicament we could be in. Also do you think we will retain Erik Walden I think we should sign him for a2 year deal but he may have other suitors... Thought? Thanks for all your hard work.

Bowen: Finding a pass rusher is such a luxury in this league that I wouldn't want to take the risk in waiting for one. That's a long Thursday night of sleep, into Friday waiting/hoping a pass rusher with impact talent will still be there in the middle of Round Two. I wouldn't want to risk waiting. Walden is a tough one for me. I could see where the Colts would bring him back. But I'm leaning towards another team paying him top dollar and the Colts realizing they should probably look at a younger option. If a contender views Walden as a complementary pass rushing option (like a No. 2 threat), he could get a nice pay day.

Tyler S. (Columbus, IN)

Hi Kevin,

With free agency approaching, what do you as the odds of picking up Melvin Ingram from the Chargers? The Colts need pass rush help and Ingram would be familiar with the Colts system having played for Chuck's brother John in San Diego.

Bowen: I could see a fit here. Ingram, Nick Perry (Green Bay) and Chandler Jones (Arizona) all have the body work of something that I think the Colts should explore in free agency. All these guys have had pass rushing success in the NFL. They also all are pretty young for a free agent (all 2012 draft picks). Ingram's Pagano connection is the obvious one.

Anthony O. (Springfield, MO)

Hey Kevin,

I just had one quick question in regards to free agents. What is the difference in all the terms in relation to free agency? Terms in referring to Unrestricted, restricted and exclusive rights?

Bowen: To put it short, the difference between unrestricted and restricted is a team can match other contract offers for a restricted free agent. Once free agency starts, an unrestricted free agent can sign anywhere, without the previous team having the ability to match that offer. The exclusive rights tag is pretty much the same as the restricted tag, but it applies to players that have been in the league for two years or less.

The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.

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