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:Johnny T. (Gainesville, GA)
Who will the Colts take in the 1st 3 rounds and any chance they move back in order to take a center 1st?
Bowen: I said it last week and I'll say it again: I will go with positions of need, in my opinion. Trying to pinpoint specific names after really Round One is virtually impossible with how a board can fluctuate. I'll go with linebacker, interior offensive line and cornerback as my top three needs. Of course, that can change or shift depending on what happens in free agency. As far as trading down, we haven't had too many questions about that in 2016. It's always a possibility, but I'm not sure if there's a first-round caliber center in this year's class to trade back for.
Daniel C. (Louisiana)
What do you think about Trey Williams? Is there a possibility of keeping him with Varga to play behind Gore? They are strong young guys and we can reserve our drafts picks for OL and DL. Your thoughts?
Bowen: I get into more running back thoughts below, so I'll focus on Williams here. The Colts obviously are intrigued by Williams, having signed him off the Dolphins' practice squad late in the year and then putting him on the field for a couple of snaps in Week 17. Williams turned some heads back at the 2015 Combine and his speed gives the Colts' backfield something they don't have, and really haven't had in a while. I believe Williams and Varga will factor into the guys behind Frank Gore in 2016, but I still think that group needs another body or two.
John S. (St. Louis)
Frank Gore isn't getting any younger. He's turning 33 this year, and Ahmad Bradshaw keeps getting injured. What's the chance that the Colts will draft Ezekiel Elliot first round of the 2016 draft?
Bowen: We had a few "Elliott to the Colts" questions in this week's mailbag. I just can't see the Colts drafting Elliott in Round One. I do think Elliott is very talented and will be successful in the NFL. Having said that, I do see (a young) running back as a need this offseason. You mentioned Gore's age and the injuries to Bradshaw (an unrestricted free agent). My opinion is that there are more pressing needs in the early rounds of the draft. Guys like Arizona's David Johnson (third round) and Seattle's Thomas Rawls (undrafted) showed that running backs don't have to be first-round picks to get on the field and produce as a rookie.
Brian P. (Zionsville, IN)
There are a lot of ex-head coaches with the team right now. Was adding experience a priority this offseason and how will that experience specifically help the team this year?
Bowen: Brian, we haven't heard from Chuck Pagano yet on the reasons behind some of the new staff members. But, you are right that there is a good chunk of experience with many of the new additions. The Colts do have three staff members with head coaching experience at the NFL level (Chuck Pagano, Rob Chudzinski and Joe Philbin). For guys like Philbin and quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer, it's about going back to being strictly position coaches for the first time in a decade. After holding roles as a coordinator and/or head coach lately, those two will now be positions coaches, roles that led to successful position groups when they previous held those jobs.
Doug H. (New Jersey)
Is there any update on henry anderson with his injury? Thank you for your time
Bowen: Doug, there is no specific update on the rehab for Henry Anderson. His ACL injury occurred on Nov. 8 so a potential 10-month recovery period will be needed to have Anderson ready for opening day. That's doable nowadays with how quickly we've seen some recover from ACLs. The next time Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson are scheduled to meet with the media is at the Combine (late February), so that's likely when we will get the next update on Anderson. His rehab could impact the need for an extra defensive linemen coming out of Training Camp.
Leonardo B. (Rio de Janeiro)
I'm a brazilian fan and I was wondering how do you evaluate the last Colts offseason regarding free agency. We had a lot of expectations on Johnson, Cole and Herremans...
Bowen: Like we see with free agency every year, you had your guys that came in and contributed and you had your guys that didn't. That's why free agency is such a crapshoot. The Colts didn't receive the production that Andre Johnson, Trent Cole and Todd Herremans had given prior teams in previous seasons. The Colts did receive plenty of impact from other free agent signings in Frank Gore, Kendall Langford and Dwight Lowery. If you evaluate those six guys, batting .500 in free agency is about what you get during that time period.
Matthew H. (Iowa)
If the colts decide to release either Fleener or Allen, do you think the colts would look to go back to using a fullback? Maybe a fullback that can play some tight end?
Bowen: Matthew, I would guess 'no' on this question. We really didn't see Rob Chudzinski deviate too much from the h-back option that Pep Hamilton primarily used in place of a true fullback. Now, who knows if Chud will want a true fullback if the diversity at tight end is not there in 2016. I still don't know if there are enough reasons to carry a fullback on an active roster. Are there enough roles to take up a roster spot each week? That's why you barely see any team still use them in today's NFL.
Jim S. (Belmont, NC)
Is there a quality center in the draft or do the Colts need to dip into the free agent pool? Who would be your top pick be from draft & free agency?
Bowen: When it comes to exclusively interior linemen, we rarely see them go at the top of the draft. I could certainly see the Colts taking a center though in the mid-rounds. Alabama's Ryan Kelly, Notre Dame's Nick Martin and Wisconsin's Dan Voltz are some of the names that keep popping up at the top of the center position rankings. I could see positives to finding a potential center in either the draft or free agency. Here’s a look at some of the free agent centers that might be available. It's going to be difficult to find a starting center on the free market, so the draft is probably the better route.
Skyler C. (Indianapolis)
Hello Kevin, I wondered if there was any possibility that pat will take over as kicker once Adam hangs them up.(which won't be soon)
Now to most this seems like a long shot but I've read many articles where pat kicks 60 yarders at practice once in awhile. Plus, with him being such an amazing athlete and football player I really can't see why it's not worth a shot at least.
Bowen: It's been a while since we've received this sort of question inquiring about Pat McAfee kicking field goals. The Colts punter was on 1070 The Fan earlier this month and talked about how nowadays, more than ever, he has to monitor his reps from a fatigue standpoint of his right leg. If asked, I think McAfee could handle all the duties. We see him successfully bang home field goals in practice every year. The biggest reason why I don't see it ever happening is that a team would really be risking themselves having one guy handle all three kicking jobs. A freak injury in the first quarter of a game would cost a team any and all of their kicking options on the roster. I can't see teams taking such a risk.