Colts Mailbag

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Colts Wednesday Mailbag: Will Reuben Foster Be Available When The Colts Draft?

Intro: This Wednesday, mailbag readers inquire about overhauling the cornerback position, the future position for T.J. Green and if the Colts should be trade partners in moving back come draft time.

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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:

Zach M. (Rochester, NY)

Hello Kevin hope everything is going well.

My question is more of a concern I'm getting nervous not hearing much about colts starting negotiations with any of their soon to be free agents particularly Jack Doyle Darius Butler and Robert Turbin. I think these are the guys we definitely need to bring back as well as Mike Adams at the right amount. Any update on if negotiations have started with them or when they will start I would hate to see Doyle kill us if he ended up somewhere else.

Also Chris Ballard said the key is knowing when to move on from players when he said that I assumed he meant Art Jones you would think he'd open up a good amount of cap space to use on Melvin Ingram or AJ Bouye or Eric Berry any idea if he will be let go as well?

Thank you for you insight can't wait for the offseason to pick up go colts!

Bowen: No updates (yet). First, I can't imagine Chris Ballard is going to reveal too much on that subject. If he does, we could get an answer later on Wednesday afternoon when Ballard meets the media down at the Combine. Deadlines spur action. We still have a week to go until free agency begins, so expect some movement in the coming days. I'm sure you saw some of the free agency tags happen with the names you mentioned above. Also with Jones, this is still a guy just 30 years old at a position group with some questions entering 2017 on the health of Henry Anderson and Kendall Langford getting back to their 2015 level of play.

John F. (Horseshoe Bay, TX)

Hey Kevin! It's been a while since I've sent in a question. Read the mailbag all the time. Thanks. How do you think we should handle the ILB position? My concerns with Morrison and Edwin Jackson are that they are young and not great in pass coverage. I think drafting a young ILB is also not the way to go. That position is essentially the QB of the defense and it requires some experience and is too big of a responsibility for a rookie. I think we should go after a FA ILB. Right now, I think Zack Brown and Gerald Hodges are the most complete ILB's available in FA. At least they won't be such a liability in passing situations.

Bowen: This is probably the one position group I don't have a real good feel for how the Colts should handle things. I believe if the right sort of upgrade is there in the draft or free agency, then the Colts should go ahead and pull the trigger. You still are not 100 percent sure if the combination of Antonio Morrison/Edwin Jackson can be a (full-season) starting duo together. They were on the run together to close out 2016, but they aren't etched in stone as future starters just yet.

Josh N. (North Vernon, IN)

Kevin, first time writer, long time reader! 

Why do most fans think the O-line is priority #1? Our defense is clearly the problem. I predict this draft as the trenches draft. Nothing special or project players, just straight ballers that fit the Colts schemes. Day 1 contributors and/or competitors. 

My main question though: Is this a key year for Chuck Pagano? Everyone seems to think Ballard is only keeping Chuck because it was so late in the year and most coaches were gone by then. I feel different – I think Ballard really likes Chuck P and will keep him. Do you think this is playoffs or bust for Chuck P? You may have answered this already.

Thanks,
Josh

Bowen: This is definitely a big year for Chuck Pagano. Anytime you miss the playoffs in back-to-back seasons the third year is going to be huge. The Colts haven't missed the playoffs in three straight seasons since 1992-94. That's more than 20 years ago. I don't know if it's "playoffs or bust" just because you don't know how the season will unfold from an injury standpoint. But this is certainly a big year as Pagano enters his sixth season in Indianapolis.

Joey R. (Bethlehem, PA)

Hey Kevin, 
I really appreciate you getting answers for this organization! Been a fan for a while and exited to see how Ballard will develop this young defense. My question, do you think the Colts will go for a top recruit pass rusher and go CB or RB in the next two rounds? I believe it's because this draft seems to have a majority of CB and RB without a huge drop-off of talent whereas the pass rushers seem to be a select few.

Bowen: According to draft guru Mike Mayock, he sees eight pass rushers earning first-round grades this year. All three of those positions appear to have some pretty nice depth in 2017. A position run of OLB, CB and RB would address some big needs with the proper resources.

Mark M. (Utah)

Hi Kevin, two questions for you.

  1. Who is the best team in the AFC south moving forward? I am inclined to think that it is the Titans from their mega-trade with the Titans.
  1. Is our secondary hurting the pass rush more than the pass rush is hurting the secondary? I think the secondary could be quite good as we have it if our pass rush had some competency.

Thank you!

Bowen: 1. Great question. One that I really don't have an answer for. The Titans have an impressive core. But they've got to get over the Colts' hump very soon before they become true AFC South title contenders. The Colts have won 16 of their last 17 meetings with the Titans. I honestly think going into 2017 it's a three-team race with the ability to make strong cases for the Texans, Titans or Colts. 2. I tend to think the pass rush struggles is weighing the secondary down slightly more than the other. But both have to complement each other and the Colts need better play from each end of their defense.

Zac C. (Anderson, IN)

Hope all is well KB. What do you think of signing Duron Harmon is FA? Also, I'm Hoping we go with your draft plan, Dalvin Cook or Leonard Fournette would be nice but you can get good a good back later on, I personally like Kareem Hunt.

Bowen: Duron Harmon was a popular name in our Wednesday mailbag this week. You rarely see Patriots' players exit in free agency and succeed elsewhere. Is Harmon going to be a guy to flip that script? My question with this sort of move: Do the Colts really need to go get a safety on the open market? Or would re-signing Darius Butler be enough with Clayton Geathers going into his third NFL season?

Luke R. (Rochester, NY)

Hey Kevin,
With the free agency arriving soon, here are my free agents we should get.
Resign:
Darius Butler (nickel CB, CB2)
Jack Doyle
Erik Walden (Depth)
Robert Turbin (3DRB)
Sign:
Duron Harmon (S)
Harmon could be very impactful at safety, replacing Mike Adams
Melvin Ingram (OLB)
Obvious signing to aid pass rush
Calais Campbell (DE)
Great run-stiffer up the middle, smaller contract
If have money:
Ricky Wagner (OL)
Veteran presence, gives solid protection on right side

I'm leaving the RB, MLB, and second edge rusher to Draft. What do you think of the signings?

Bowen: The signings make sense (Melvin Ingram has been franchise tagged though). Are you spending too much though? I know the Colts have cap room, but they also have an internal budget for 2017. Chris Ballard has said he wants to use free agency as necessary. This sort of offseason might be a little much for one spring.

James C. (Indiana)

Hey Kevin, I'm sure you get a lot of these questions with the combine and draft coming up. What are your opinions on Taco Charlton. To me he absolutely screams a raw Von Miller or Chandler Jones. The huge question I have seen scouts have is with his production but I truly do not mind the "average" production. I have seen people say Derek Barnett's name but personally I see a potential Bjoern Werner with his lack of athleticism.

Bowen: I think you have the opinions on Charlton pegged pretty well. The athleticism is there to a big-time pass rusher, but the production wasn't off the charts this past season. For now, Charlton doesn't look to be a top-15 pick. We will see if that changes after future evaluation at the Combine.

Justin R. (Haymarket, VA)

Hey Kevin, with The recent news of Parry being arrested is it likely that we let him go? Also it's looking like Poe is going to hit free agency are the stars lining up for us to grab him and focus pass rush in the draft since almost all notable pass rushers have been franchise tagged?

Bowen: We should get a word on the David Parry situation when Chris Ballard meets the media on Wednesday afternoon at the Combine. The Colts are going to have a decision to make on what they want to do at nose tackle. I've said this in prior mailbags: does Ballard want to change the look of his nose tackle? Parry, if he is retained, is undersized for a 3-4 nose. He's been very durable in two NFL seasons (32 starts in 32 games). But he's not your wide body nose that eats up multiple blockers, like a Dontari Poe. The Colts could very well be in the running for a nose tackle in free agency because those positions typically don't come too frequently in drafts.

Tyler T. (New Castle, IN)

Hey Kevin,
With all the tags on edge guys lately, do you think that pushes edge up to round one for sure? Who is your favorite edge guy? I love Solomon Thomas from Stanford. I recently watched a documentary on him that said he was two different people on and off the field. Such a humble guy off the field, but such a monster on it.

Bowen: In my eyes, I always thought it was the way to go in Round One. But yeah, I do agree with your thinking. The pass rush pool has really dried up, as you would expect. Teams just aren't going to let 20-something year old pass rushers hit the open market. Pass rusher has to be the priority come draft time, especially with what has taken place this week in guys like Melvin Ingram and Chandler Jones getting the franchise tag.

Jon Paul K. (Greensburg, PA)

Hey Kevin, Colts fan from the Steel City of Pittsburgh here. I have just in recent weeks stumbled upon the mailbag and now can't get enough of it. My question is about the draft:

I am 100% on board with going defense in Round 1, I truly think that's a must. However what do you think the chances a guy like Foster falls outside the top 10 to us? A lot of the mocks I've seen have players like Foster and Solomon going early to teams like the Bengals, Saints, and even our division rival the Titans, which would hurt us two-fold considering we'd have to play him twice a year. If this does become the case, (where Foster, Solomon, and Barnett are off the board) what's the plan? Take a lower tier Edge guy or LB? Or change strategy completely? 

Lastly, where should I look for quality mock drafts? I keep finding the same ESPN,SI, NFL.COM mocks and I just wondered if you knew of other places to look.

Bowen: I've seen Reuben Foster really, really high on a couple of Mock Drafts. Right now, it looks like it would be a surprise if Foster fell down to where the Colts are in Round One. You don't see many inside linebackers go as high as the pundits are predicting for Foster. If you're looking for Mock Drafts, head here for a nice list of spots that I go to.

Nick M. (Cheektowaga, NY)

Hey Kevin just a question and id like your opinion on my potential scenario for the colts offseason so here it goes:
Free Agent Signings:

Jack Doyle
Darius Butler
Melvin Ingram
Jason Pierre-Paul(in a perfect world)

Small 4 round mock draft:

Round 1 -- Solomon Thomas(my favorite player this draft) or Derek Barnett
Round 2 -- Haason Reddick ILB Temple (watched alot of tape of him and hes got all the tools to be elite)
Round 3 -- Carlos Watkins NT Clemson
(A little Undersized but incredibly strong and quick for a nose tackle)
Round 4 (2 picks) -- Carl Lawson OLB Auburn
Joe Mixon RB Oklahoma ( i hate what this guy did but i think he seemed sincere in his apology and i do believe he changed)

My idea behind all these picks is too bulk up the front seven and worry about the secondary next year or late in the draft. Rebuilding the defense will not happen overnight so bulking up the front seven will hide some of the holes on the back end til the team can get to fixing them.

And lastly with almost no talk about Jabrill Peppers in the first round what would you think of the colts grabbing him and using him similiar to the "Honey Badger" in Arizona? Do you think he will thrive in the right system or any system for that matter?

Bowen: Boy, you aren't holding pack with this off-season picture, which has changed since the franchise tags were handed out this week. I'm not sure if the resources are there for all of this to unfold. In terms of your Peppers question, I think the first half of the opening round is a little too high. Where is his immediate fit in a base defense? I think Peppers has a chance at being a solid defender, especially when multiple defensive backs are used. But it's going to probably take specialized packages for Peppers to make an impression on every down.

Reed J. (Kokomo, IN)

Hi Kevin
Easy question and completely doable imo. In keeping some of our key FA's as in Butler and Adams, prices can be high. Adams is older and we seen Butler is great in his spot. Do you see our new GM bringing in his own Eric Berry to our D? I personally think a duo of Berry and Butler would be crazy elite. Ntm Davis on the side at CB. Thank you.

Bowen: Where are you putting Clayton Geathers? Unless he moves positions, Geathers is a definite piece at safety going forward. I just have the feeling that Berry won't be hitting the open market in the coming week or so. Even if he does, I don't look at the Colts as a team that needs to break the bank in upgrading at safety this offseason. You could have a combo of Geathers and Darius Butler, with T.J. Green waiting just behind them.

Alexander H. (Stockton, CA)

Hey Kevin. I doubt the colts go big on a receiver in free agency and with the needs on defense you have to think that if they drafted a wideout it would be with later round picks right? If they were to look in FA what do you think of Cordarrelle Patterson? Do you think he could revitalize his career in a new system with number 12, and the secret gem in Sanjay Lal that Sammy Watkins was upset the bills let him go? Patterson flies.

Bowen: I just don't believe the Colts have the resources to find a receiver like Patterson in free agency. Getting a receiver in free agency is incredibly low on the priority list for the Colts this offseason.

Martin G. (Topoclany, Slovakia)

Hi Kevin,

I would like to know your opinion on my thoughts about TJ Green. In high school and college he played at WR so I thought if we could use him in some situations in offense at WR3. For example on 3rd and long or in red zone? He is tall and fast and because he played at WR he should not have problem to catch a ball or create a separation from defender. Plus he could be secret weapon for us because in NFL he did not play WR. We could only use him to confuse other teams and maybe he could create some big plays for us. What do you think about it?

Thank you for your answers. I wish you good luck in your work.

Bowen: This just doesn't happen in the NFL. Green needs to show more development on the defensive side of the ball, before any fantasy dream of him playing on offense starts to be considered. Let Green worry about his progression at the safety position.

Jonathan T. (Indianapolis)

I personally feel the Colts should draft a CB in the first round due to the instability opposite Vontae Davis. I know Patrick Robinson was hurt,but I liked the production of his backups. However, to me,they aren't starters. In my opinion, there are several starting caliber CB's this. We've gotten younger along our DL. We have to have faith in them. A couple can be cut...but the young guys need coaching up and Polish up their strengths and weaknesses. The same for our LB's. Not to bring up the Miami Heat, but they didn't win the NBA Finals the first year they acquired LeBron James. They had to mold together and then they won....I also think the OL will improve vastly. I wouldn't draft one this year....What are your thoughts? I'd draft 2 CB'S. 1 RB (Mixon or Cook) 1 WR, 1 or 2 DL.

Bowen: I assume you have a pass rusher in that defensive line group? If you do, then I can get behind this. Revamping the cornerback position with some young draft picks would be a smart off-season plan for the Colts. It's supposedly a very deep cornerback draft class in 2017.

Sam B. (Winchester, IN)

Hypothetically speaking if the Colts were to add let's say Melvin Ingram during free agency would you say that the draft pick changes or still go for pass rush? Thanks for your time as always!GO COLTS

Bowen: Yes. In my mind, you still need to use the draft to support what has to happen off the edge. Again, getting younger on defense should be nearly as important of a priority as upgrading the talent off the edge.

Nathan P. (El Paso, TX)

Hey Kevin love your mailbag been a while since I sent in a question my question is related to Dalvin Cook now you and I both know defense is a priority for the colts but lets take a look back to last years draft when the cowboys to Zeke even with their defense needing severe help but I have always lived by the philosophy that a good running game can help a bad defense and I believe Dalvin Cook can help take some pressure off our defense so if you think about we can kill 2 birds with one stone taking a running back and helping our defense once again thanks for your help and insight.

Bowen: Well, first thing's first, the Colts offensive line is definitely not what has been built in Dallas. I hear your thinking with a running game helping the defense. You're right, to a degree. Of course, devil's advocate way of thinking would say, 'What if the running game is struggling?' Now you are really behind things, on both sides of the ball, in a specific game. You can't just keep ignoring the defense with your high picks. Past precedent in this league shows that you can find successful running backs without spending a top draft pick on a runner.

Adam H. (Ithaca, NY)

Hey Kevin!
Hope you guys are all doing well and surviving the crowds at the Combine!
I have a mock draft here, and even though we have a very high round 1 pick, I think we could trade down, get a very good player still, and acquire another second rounder (trade is with the Giants at 23)

1: Haason Reddick OLB
2: Cordrea Tankersley CB
2: Tyus Bowser OLB
3: Jaylon Reeves-Maybin ILB
4: Kareem Hunt/Joe Williams/Jamaal Williams RB
5: Marcus Williams S
6: Daeshon Hall OLB
7: Chidobe Awuzie CB

I really like Reddick and Boswer since they're both such great pass rush contributors and are generally unknown too. Tell me what ya think (maybe we can go after Ingram or Perry in FA too to get 4 new OLB to play with);)
GO COLTS

Bowen: If you found the right complements in free agency, you would really be doing wonders for the defensive shifting necessary in 2017. You are adding four linebackers to an aging group. You also are hoping to begin the changing of the guard within the cornerback group. Remember, you have an additional fourth-round pick to factor in.

Jacob T. (Corvallis, OR)

I am under the belief that it would be a great idea for the Colts to trade down at least once in the first two rounds. What do you think?

Bowen: We had a couple of trade questions in this version of the mailbag. I've always been a fan of trading back, especially when your needs span several positions. But I don't think you do it just to do it. If the right player (especially a defender) is on the board when the Colts get on the clock, you have to take that guy. You need to start rebuilding your defense with franchise-type talent guys. Those are obviously more likely to come earlier in drafts.

Craig M. (Indiana)

I saw the 49ers were open to trading their second round pick. How much would it take to get that pick and do you think we should try to trade for it?

Bowen: A lot. To acquire a second-round pick it's going to take a very top flight player, a package of current picks and/or even some future selections. With the Colts receiving that extra compensatory pick last Friday, the Colts don't need to go crazy in trying to obtain more picks. You have five in the first four rounds. That's a really nice haul.

Tony C. (Charleston, SC)

Hello again Kevin. Most of the readers have been asking the same questions about free agents and the draft. Since we all know the defense needs an infusion of young play makers, how about approaching free agency looking for those second tier or underrated young defensive players? We could get more players for less and make our defense better and younger quicker. We definitely need to build our team mainly through the draft. But this first year needs some bodies to replace the old players. What do you think of this list? How many do you think we could pick up and stay within Ballard's "budget" (whatever that may be). CB: Duron Harmon, Micah Hyde and Logan Ryan; DE Karl Klug, Chris Baker and Mario Addison; (NT Brandon Williams and OLB Melvin Ingram if we can afford either). If you had $20-25 million to spend in free agency, how many of these guys would you try to pick up? We can still get a starting DE/OLK, CB and RB in the draft. Thanks.

Bowen: Tony, I get your thinking. You just need to make sure your evaluation of these guys is spot on. You've got to get starting caliber players through free agency. Your list as some nice names on there. It's going to be up to Chris Ballard and his staff to decide if any of those names are worthy of coming here to definitely start. I could see a couple of those guys popping up on the Colts radar in the coming week or so.

Travis H. (Greentown, IN)

Hi Kevin this is my first time writing, my question is this. I feel that drafting a RB in round 1 would be a waste of valuable resources, with so many talented RB's available it would seem short sighted to think one won't be available in rounds 3-5. That said, after watching film on some RB's I think the Colts would do great with a back like Perine , Foreman, Gallman, or my favorite Joe Mixon. I know he's had past of field issues but if he's still there at the Colts #3 why not draft him he has the potential to be a home run hitter every time he touches the ball, what are your thoughts on Mixon or any of the others listed Thanks

Bowen: Travis, welcome to the mailbag. All of those guys are pretty special talents. Perine is a prospect I enjoyed watching in college over the years. It seems like he's got the right balance of what you are looking for in a future lead back.

Jeffrey K. (Colquitt, GA)

Hey Kevin how are you today... I was wondering why do all these mock drafts have us taking a RB or OL they must not be paying attention to our actual needs and taking an offensive player in the 1st round would be a bad idea even if we was to go all defense in free agency we still need to draft defensive players in at least the 1st two or three rounds.I have a few questions for you.

What round do you think we should take an offensive player in?

Do you think Jim Irsay would persuade GM Chris Ballard to target one or two splash players in free agency?

Do you think we should resign Erik Walden?

Do you think Hassan Ridgeway,Antonio Morrison,& TJ Green would be starters next year?

Who do you think are the best mid to late round RB's that would fit our scheme?

Thanks for your time Kevin have a nice day

Bowen: 1. A running back in Round Four. 2. If you can find a player of similar quality and can get younger, then I don't think there's room for Erik Walden. It's all going to come down to the market value for Walden in free agency and how that matches up with younger options in the pass rushing group. 3. I don't think all of them will be starters. Right now, I'd rank the likeliest of starters (in order) as Morrison, Green and Ridgway. 4. I'd be lying to you if I said I've looked at mid-to-late round running backs the Colts should take. I do think the Colts need some burst from that group. So, a guy who can bring some speed to the ball carrier position should be a desired attribute.

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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