Colts Mailbag

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Colts Wednesday Mailbag: Would Temple's Hasson Reddick Be A Fit For The Colts?

Intro: This Wednesday, mailbag readers inquire about the free agency approach of Chris Ballard, how the outside linebacker group now look and where cornerback falls on the off-season priority list.

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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:

Emil H. (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Dear Colts mailbag

First and foremost, thanks for all you do! It is an offseason pleasure!

I really like what Ballard is doing! The quantity - with relative quality - approach is uplifting. Seems we will have a way more competitive and stronger roster - especially on defense. This will be a strong foundation to build a serious SB contender.

With that in mind, would it make sense to go for some true blue chip talent on pass rusher and in the secondary, in the first couple of rounds - then build defensive depth and strenght from a deep class, with the 3rd/4th round picks?

Does it make sense, in what seems to be an incredibly deep RB class, to draft one in 3rd/4th round, to groom over Gores last seasons?

Do you think the Sean Spence-deal puts an end to the posibility of signing Zach Brown?

Thank you very much and best regards!
GO COLTS!

Bowen: In regards to the draft, this is exactly what my thinking is. Go outside linebacker/cornerback early. Sprinkle in running back and tight end among other defensive picks in the remaining rounds. An offensive lineman wouldn't surprise me too much either. The Zach Brown-free agency has been really quiet. That's a little odd to me. I don't think the Spence signing totally eliminates the Colts from bringing in a guy like Brown, but it slightly lessons the need for another ILB.

Sergio D. (Rhode Island)

Kevin,

Thanks again for your work on keeping us Colts fan informed. 
My question revolves around the linebacking crew we will have starting this year.
My best guess is that these 4 probably have the edge as far as starting as we stand right now.

Sheard, Jackson, Morrison and Simon.

I agree with your premise that we need to put use first pick to pick up an promising edge rusher.

Out of the remaining linebackers who do you think will challenge the 4 projected starters and out of this entire listings which have guaranteed money for this coming year.

Ayers, Minho, Spence, Mount, King, Rhodes, Maggitt, Edwards, 

Thanks again, Go Colts!

Bowen: Let's throw Sean Spence's name into that starting picture after his signing on Monday morning. He has easily the most starting experience at inside linebacker, and has a history of playing on passing downs. Akeem Ayers is probably the name I think will push for a major reserve role at outside linebacker.

Jonathan J. (Anderson, IN)

Do you think the reason we've signed so many free agents from our rival opponents is, that they might play with a grudge against there former teams?

Bowen: I don't think the "grudge" aspect had anything to do with it. I think these guys playing on some of the NFL's best defenses (i.e. the Patriots, Texans) had a much bigger role in Ballard's moves. You are looking to these units to try and find "under the radar" guys. Now, they come to Indianapolis, where a starting situation awaits.

Kyron G. (Staten Island, NY)

Hi Kevin 

Team needs for me is: Defense (pass rush/corner/Inside linebacker/safety) RB and OL. 

A Colts fan from New York odd I know right lol. 
My top picks for the Colts in the first round is Solomon, Riddick, Charles Harris, Barnett, Lattimore and maybe FOSTER. Seeing how it's a good possibility that 3 of the 6 (Solomon, Barnett, Lattimore) may be gone by the time the colts pick.

My question is what is the chances of the Colts selecting Hassan Riddick with the 15th overall or trading down a couple of spots, picking up more draft picks then selecting Hassan Riddick or Charles Harris ? 

I really like and want the Colts to select Riddick because of his versatility. He can be a piece of the foundation that colts are trying to build moving forward, while adding speed and the ability to cover and flow sideline to sideline.

Bowen: The names Reddick and Harris are very popular right around pick No. 15. Both would fit an immediate need for the Colts. Count me in as a guy who could get behind either of these selections. Reddick really seems to be a fast riser after leading Temple to unchartered waters the past couple of years.

Chris B. (Louisville)

Hey Kevin, first time writer but been reading these for quite some time. Hope your doing well. Guess I'll get to it. I have been skeptical about the free agency moves made by Chris Ballard. How does his free agency moves differ from Ryan grigson's free agency moves in the past. and if you feel that they are different, how? Chris Ballard first stated that he would have less focus on free agency and rely on the draft more. Do you think he is making these moves so there is competition or maybe having some decent second string players? Because it seems to me that most if not all players are not top tier.

Bowen: The competition aspect is the biggest theme of what Chris Ballard has done over the last two weeks. It's been quantity, quantity, quantity and more quantity for Ballard's first free agency. I would say the age element of free agency is probably the biggest difference between him and Ryan Grigson. The Colts have gotten significantly younger this offseason. Ballard is hoping some of these additions can produce at high level after various stints on top-tier defenses around the NFL.

David P. (Indianapolis)

Good Day Kevin, hope all is well! My question for you is about the one position group that no one is talking much about TE. Do you foresee us tackling this group in free agency or the draft? Currently, we only have 2 on the roster. How would you like to add to the TE group?

Bowen: I wouldn't rule out a free agent tight end, but I really like the draft route. It's a very deep tight end group in 2017 so tapping into that would be wise. From a body standpoint, a free agent tight end plus a draft pick is probably the smartest thing to do in creating some competition this offseason. I think ultimately a draft pick of a tight end will eventually become a contributor for this team.

Josh H. (Seattle)

With Gathers and Butler at safety, will the Colts ever try TJ Green at corner? Personally, I think with Green's background as a WR and his size I think he'd be a great corner. He reminds me of a more physical Richard Sherman. Thoughts?

Bowen: This is a question Chuck Pagano will likely get at next week's Annual League Meetings. There's been talk of moving/trying Green at cornerback before, but no real substance to it. I still think we will see Green used more in the sub packages, versus exclusively as a cornerback. The Colts do have plenty of open cornerback reps I see those being filled by a high draft pick, instead of making a switch of Green to corner. We honestly have no idea of how the Colts look at Green as a potential switch to comeback. You just rarely see position changes like that at the NFL level.

Tony C. (Charleston, SC)

Hello again. I think you misread my last email. I thought if we got Minter and or Brown at ILB and maybe a NT in free agency, we could draft OLB, CB, OLB, CB, RB,S/TE/OL. With $33 million in cap space and $7 of that going to rookies, I think we could get a couple of starters before the draft. I know we want to carry over as much as possible to next year. But looking at 2018, our cap space will increase another $26 million that we can use to re-sign Mewhort and Moncrief and still have some left over. I don't think we have to worry TOO much about 2018 if you look at the cap space (right now projected to be over $60 million). Plus we have Art Jones on a prove it this year contract. If he doesn't, that's more cap space in 2018. Understand...I never want to see the Colts cash-strapped. And I don't think they will be. Your thoughts. (p.s. Since our picks are so good right now, I don't know why we would trade up or back (no guarantees you'll get who you drop back for) in this draft. It is sooo deep at all of our positions of need.)

Bowen: I completely get where you are coming from in terms of the cap. It's not locked in stone the cap will jump THAT much next offseason. Teams still want to carry over a decent amount of cap. That's just how teams approach free agency. Remember, just because names like Poe, Minter, Brown are out there, doesn't mean they necessarily want to come to the Colts. It's a two-way street in free agency. The Colts still should not be too worried about their cap space. They've managed things very well with their cap.

Michael D. (Tampa, FL)

Whats the deal with Mo Alie-Cox? A lot of writers were all worrried we might lose the exclusive free agent a coupe of weeks ago. No news has come out after March 8th. Did we resign him or do we have to wait a couple of months to seal the deal. I appreciate any info you can give us. I hope we lock him down for the next few years.

Bowen: Erik Swoope is back. He's on the roster and under contract for 2017. No need to worry about Swoope going anywhere.

Justin P. (Indiana)

Hey Kevin, hope your enjoying your off-season so far. I have a few questions about the offseason. 1. It seems like everyone thinks the Colts have been great bringing in free agents for visits and signing them. this offseason they've been a bit murky in that regard, Dontari Poe, Kevin Minter, Zach Brown, Sean Spence, John Jenkins, and now Kamar Aiken have all left without a contract. Why do you think that is? 2. Second of all what are your top five options for the Colts to take in the first round? Personally I know you disagree, but if Dalvin Cook is on the board I'm taking him just based on shear talent and him likely being the best player on the board at that point. 3. I know this one's a little off topic, but who do you have winning the NCAA tournament if you made a bracket or even watch College hoops at all?

Thanks, and keep up the good work!

Bowen: 1. We have seen the Colts bring tons of free agents for visits compared to what Ryan Grigson did. It's clear Chris Ballard is going to go above and beyond the normal homework needed to find a free agent. The fit has to be nice and snug. Just because a guy is visiting the Colts doesn't mean "signed, sealed, delivered." I think the reason is this is how Ballard looks at free agency. Take your time, be prudent and make sure the boxes check off before giving a guy such a contract. 2. Derek Barnett, Hasson Reddick, Charles Harris, Quincy Wilson and Taco Charlton. 3. Justin, my bracket is getting closer and closer to the trash can. After getting 30 of the 32 first-round games correct, my National Champion pick of Duke has left me looking up in the standings of various pools. I still have three of my Final Four teams left (UCLA, Kansas and Gonzaga). I love college hoops. Hopefully Purdue and Butler can continue their runs later this week.

Aditya D. (Bettendorf, IA)

Hi Kevin,
I'll get straight to the point. Do you think that this would be a reasonable mock draft for the Colts?
1: Derek Barnett
2: Alvin Kamara
3: Eddie Jackson
4: Fabian Moreau
4: Zach Banner
4: Julie'n Davenport
5: Daeshon Hall
With the resigning of Butler, safety isn't as big of a need anymore, so the third round pick could be to go after an ILB. Do you think that this would work?

Bowen: Sure. Safety in the third round is probably a little early for me. But that's really my only true gripe about such a draft haul.

Jay E. (North Carolina)

So we are in need of a slot and outside corner. Do you think Reshaan Melvin could be our starting outside corner? He played everywhere at corner last year and even started a few games and he could be a good corner when called upon. Or will we draft a cb and have him compete with who was drafted. But then that leaves the slot opened. What do you think will happen?

Bowen: When the Colts open up the offseason program on April 17, Melvin is probably this team's starting cornerback opposite Vontae Davis. Now, that depth chart could change when the draft takes place a week and a half later. We get into more of the cornerback dilemma below. How the Colts address it during the draft is going to play a huge role in what the position will look like in 2017.

Michael D. (Emerson NJ)

Hey Kevin I haven't sent anything since last August and I have a question as for our secondary. With us re signing butler which I think is awesome by the way, why are we inclined to make him a starting safety while he did play good back there but at nickel corner he is amazing. I feel like we forgot about Tj green who I think was a good pick up last year. Are we planning on pushing him to corner or will he be depth for safety.

Bowen: Darius Butler is listed as a safety on the roster, so I'd fully expect him to be back there in 2017. In a pinch, Butler can play some cornerback. But his value at safety means more to me because I'd want a veteran back there with losing Mike Adams. The Colts can find a new cornerback rotation with guys like Rashaan Melvin and Daryl Morris returning in 2017. I don't think the Colts would have brought Butler back unless they saw him as a starter. T.J. Green can still play quite a bit this season when the Colts go to their sub packages.

Shannon M. (Fort Wayne, IN)

Mr. BOWEN, LOVE THE mailbag. Sometimes I can't get enough. I wish there was a daily mailbag, yikes! What would you do with all your spare time. Honestly though I appreciate your efforts in keeping up with all the questions. 

In regards to the Colts draft strategy, I think we need a all defensive draft. In fact im banging on the desk for one. What are your thoughts on a all defensive draft? The thought of taking a RB or TE in the 3rd or 4th round would not be the strategy in my opinion. And everyone please stop with the Colts drafting Dalvin Cook. Overrated! I don't see anything special about his game. He is a real good college RB that will end up in a committee in the NFL. He's not big, he's not fast or athletically dynamic. For every yard he gained from good vision and anticipation in college will be cut in half in the pros. Let someone else make the mistake of drafting his bad shoulders and off field issues. No matter how much scouting a team does there is a bust factor. So I say we hedge our bets. Go all in on defense. Let's get DYNAMIC! on that side of the ball. By taking this approach we have a much better shot of turning our defense into a power house and dominate. Our offense is just fine fine with Luck at the controls. Let's just pick up a FA RB and TE that play special teams and position depth. I believe Turbin can fill in the lead RB role in a committee with a FA or draft addition in 2018. 

To start this defensive run I say our 1st pick should be Kevin King CB Washington Huskies. This guy is a freak of nature. He scored in the 99th percentile at the combine. That translates to only 1% of players in the last 20 years tested better. Experts have admitted there isn't a good player comparison for Kings size, speed, and overall athleticism. He is the Shaquille O'Neil of CB. I agree with everything you have said about edge rusher in round one. Bit how much better is Barnett, Charlton, and McKinley in round one vs Lawson, Smoot, Harris, Walker, and Watt in round two. Outside of Barnett I'm not so sure any of these guys are playing every down. They will probably rotate with Simon and Sheard. By the way love Ballards FA approach. I would want my 1st pick on the field all downs making the biggest impact as possible. If Ballard is taking a analytical approach to this draft then King should be tops on the list. Not to mention he would look great next to Vontae Davis. And before you so 15 is a bit early for King, Revis was draft at pick 14, just saying. What are your thoughts on King?

So how about it Mr. Bowen did I convence you, will you bang on the desk for a all defensive draft with me. GO! Colts

Bowen: I might not bang on the desk for an all defensive draft, but I'd do it for the majority of draftees. A running back and tight end (at later points in the draft) are still on my radar. And I don't think you can completely rule out an offensive lineman on Day Three. Of the seven picks the Colts have, at least four defenders would quench my thirst for how the Colts need to re-build that defense.

Scott F. (Beech Grove, IN)

Hey Kevin,

The horseshoe is my life! Believe in blue! All day! Gotta nickname proposal here for the one and only Jack Doyle. Everytime I seen the guy pick up a first down or make a play I found myself saying "jackpot!" So what do you think? He would rock the title given from the number one south Indy fan right?

Bowen: "Jackpot" Doyle? We will have to see if that catches on. Doyle is certainly money. Andrew Luck looked for Doyle so many times in big situations last year and No. 84 answered the call time and time again.

Scott A. (Plano, TX)

Hi Kevin,

Greetings from the land of arrogant Cowboyland! Where I fully expect them to take a beatdown this coming season with a tougher schedule. :)

I Really like the Q & A sessions you provide here. Honestly, I really like the moves the GM is making. I'm glad Allen will get another chance with another team as well. I'm going to trust this GM in what he sees in these lower named players he's bringing in. That's just the talent evaluator in him. He did say that right after he was hired.

This season I'm going to deploy cautious optimism to where I won't get crushed by this team at end of the season. With that said, they should be good this coming season.

My questions are, why is a lot of people feeling there is a need to draft a RB? I see where Gore at least a couple of more seasons left in him. My thought is, you can draft a RB and plug him in that same year you draft him. If you have an experienced O-Line, which they'll have, it should be smooth sailing! Am I wrong with this theory?

My second question is about the LB Cole. Is there no interest in bring him back? I know he's up there in football age, I say this because I'm a decade older than him LOL. I also know FA season isn't over yet. When he came back from IR last season he brought the heat on the D side of the ball. That D improved like overnight.

Oh, one more thing, the most important FA he's signed at the beginning was Doyle. There's just something special about that kid and I can't explain it maybe you can.

Thanks for answering my questions,

Scott

Bowen: With running back, Frank Gore's durability is so, so rare. You can't take it for granted. No 34-year-old running back in NFL history has ever started all 16 games. Sure, Gore isn't your average back. But you have to start thinking about life after Gore. Not only do you need to think about that, but just having a new weapon in the backfield would be good for this offense. Find a speed guy who brings a different element to the running back group. With how deep this draft class is in 2017, that's why I don't think you can ignore it. With Cole, the Colts clearly want a new-look at outside linebacker. Getting younger is a major, major part of that. I'm not sure if the pass rush had that big of a jump with Cole in the lineup last December. If the Colts can draft another outside linebacker, they will have more than enough bodies to compete off the edge in 2017. With Doyle, he brings a unique skill set and work ethic that makes him so coveted and respected inside the Colts locker room. He's the type of role model every young kid should have from a guy who just worked and worked and worked. He's been rewarded now with a great second contract. How much Andrew Luck looked towards Doyle in big moments last season should not be overlooked.

Paul M. (Pittston, PA)

Hey Kevin, quick question, I thought the Colts wanted to get bigger at nt? Woods is actually smaller than Parry.

Bowen: I guess it depends how you view smaller. Weight, yes Woods is three pounds smaller (on paper). Height, he's two inches taller than Parry (again, on paper). I don't think Chris Ballard or Chuck Pagano have ever stated the definite want to get bigger at nose tackle. It's just something that could happen given the size of a "normal" nose tackle. In seeing Woods in person, he definitely looks bigger than Parry. We will see how that competition evolves this offseason.

Tony H. (Los Angeles)

Hi Kevin! This is not a question. However, you mention that you do not see Jacksonville going from a 3 win team to a playoff tram the very next year. Just want to refresh your memory. In 2011, the Colts were coming off of a 2-14 record and won 11 games in 2012 and the division. How can you forget that.

Bowen: I certainly didn't forget that. I also didn't forget that Andrew Luck entered the picture in 2012. Luck isn't showing up in a Jaguars uniform anytime soon.

Patrick T. (Germany)

Hey Kevin,

just listened to you and Matt on the Horseshoe FAQ and I agree with you: Pass rush cannot be eliminated from our Draft board after Free Agency. But where do you rank it now? Still as the number 1 priority? Or would you rather use the first rounder on a CB and slide Pass rusher to Round 2?

Hope we'll bring back Butler, but besides that, I really like Ballard's approach so far and look forward to the Draft.

Best wishes from Germany
Patrick

Bowen: Patrick, thanks for listening. Pass rush hasn't gone off my No. 1 line. Cornerback is 1A in my mind. You don't find dominant pass rushers with that potential in free agency. Those are found with premium draft picks, something the Colts have next month.

Matthew H. (Iowa)

I've got a couple questions about the cornerback position this week.

  1. I heard the Seahawks are willing to trade Sherman. What would it cost? Is it worth it for the colts?
  1. Cornerback is an obvious need this offseason after the release of patrick robinson and darius butler not being resigned. If our first round pick goes toward a linebacker/pass rusher, do you think we can get a quality number 2 corner in the second round that we can plug into the lineup from day 1?

Bowen: 1. I'd guess a second/third round pick. The Colts are definitely in need for a No. 2 cornerback. That's not a debate. My biggest issue in spending such a pick on Sherman would be how much longer is he going to play at an elite level. He turns 29 years old later this month and has just two years left on his contract. I think the Colts have to go younger at that position and explore the deep corner draft class that's here in 20017. 2. Yes I do. This is the route I would take.

Justin R. (Haymarket, VA)

Hey Kevin, with us bringing in Kamar Aiken, will we keep 5 receivers on the team because I liked the way Chester Rogers stepped up for us when Dorsett wouldn't

Bowen: I see the Colts keeping five wide receivers. I would view T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Jacoby Brissett and Kamar Aiken as locks to make the 53-man roster. Right now, I see it coming down to Chester Rogers or Quan Bray for that fifth spot. Both guys have return experience, with Bray having more of it. Both have some receiver experience, with Rogers having more of it. I'd lean towards Rogers right now just because he showed the ability to do both at a nice level as an undrafted rookie last year.

Pedro K. (Belo Horizonte, Brazil)

Hey Kevin, how are you doing? Thanks for answering my question last week and for all the great work you do for us fans. I've got another question regarding the draft, so here goes. I have just read an article from Andrew Walker entertaining the possibility of drafting OL Forrest Lamp with the 15th overall pick. At first I was very against this strategy, but once I gave it a little more thought, it started to look a little better. The reason for that is the recent rebuild of the Cowboys which 3 or 4 years ago were in a similar situation: devoid of defensive talent and in need to protect the franchise QB who was getting a beating every season. Instead of going for playmakers on defense in the early rounds, they got blue chip talent on the OL and build a defensive scheme that relies on its own simplicity, focusing on speed and sound fundamentals rather than pure talent. Of course DC Rod Marinelli is a big reason it works, but I was wondering if we could reproduce that here. What do you think? Could we take the same approach the Cowboys did and be successful? If so, and we get Lamp in the 1st round, do you think we could still get a pure pass rusher and a 2nd CB with the 47th and 81st overall picks? Thanks again and GO COLTS!

Bowen: I'd shy away from this. The Cowboys pretty much started over along the offensive line. The Colts aren't really in the same mold. They could easily be starting four guys next year who were drafted in the first three rounds (Anthony Castonzo, Ryan Kelly, Jack Mewhort and Le'Raven Clark). The offensive line has young talent to grow. The defense doesn't have enough. I understand you're thinking with this, but I don't think you can directly compare the two situations. The defense needs major talent infusion through the draft.

Zac N. (Indiana)

Hi Kevin hope all is well! I have a quick question regarding the length of most of the free agent signings Chris Ballard has given out. What I mean is all of the one-year deals. What happens if the majority of these guys really produce for the team? Take Mingo and Spence as just two examples with many others one one-year deals. Won't it be difficult to resign them again next offseason? If that is the case, to me it will be like a revolving door every year at those positions. Thank you. Have a great day!

Bowen: Most of these contracts in free agency are "prove-it" sort of deals. The Colts have front-loaded a lot of these contracts. Chris Ballard wanted to create immediate competition without risking future offseasons with a bunch of mega deals. I think you're looking too much into it if these guys have great years and thus heading to free agency in 2018. Most of the new guys expected to start (Jabaal Sheard/John Simon) are on multi-year deals. The guys on the shorter deals either aren't likely to start or you have young guys waiting to take over down the road. That's where the draft comes into play, too. You need to further bolster the talent on the roster through this draft, so you aren't going out and signing 10 new free agents every offseason. I don't see the issue in keeping these contracts short with Ballard knowing that the core of this roster must come through the draft.

James F. (Charleston, SC)

Hello KB first time writer long time reader my question is I'm a huge colts fan have been for over 30yrs I'm just going to put it out there I am poor can't afford to travel let alone pay for tickets how can I get Andrew luck's and TY's autographs those two are my favorites I would love for my 1st NFL experience to be at lucus oil stadium just need help please if you can thanks GO COLTS!!!

Bowen: All autograph inquiries should go here.

Jacob B. (Ontario, Canada)

Huge Colts fan, Personally I think Joe Mixon is the best RB in the draft and Ballard has been known to take chances, do you think we can get him second or third round pick and have a monster attack with gor turbin and mixon? and address and get better defensive players early? I hope that happens,but the questions are, do you think it's good fit? do you think ballard will take the chance? 
Thanks for everything, huge fan

Bowen: Talent wise, Joe Mixon is a fit for just about any team in the NFL. But the red flags are there, and have to be addressed. Chris Ballard is going to do his homework. They did that in Kansas City when taking some chances on guys. This is a call that will likely have to come from above Ballard (i.e. ownership). I have no idea what the Irsay family would want to do with this sort of call.

Michael M. (Indianapolis)

How's it going, Kevin? 

I'm still waiting for this weather to warm up personally. 

So far this offseason, the Colts haven't really had a big-name signing. Everyone we have picked up is more of piece to build competition. But, I feel like to build a strong team, we also need those big-name guys. Shouldn't we be targeting an instant starter so we don't have to carry so much pressure to hit big in the draft. 

As always, thanks for the work you do.

Bowen: It's clear Chris Ballard's approach to free agency was more quantity in trying to add competition all over the roster versus hitting on just one or two big name guys. Guys like Jabaal Sheard and John Simon might not be household names to some, but they very well could become full-time starters in Indy after playing semi-starter roles with some of the NFL's best defenses the past few years. Outside of the Dontari Poe sweepstakes, I'm not sure who the Colts could have realistically pursued defensively and achieved the "big name" mantra. In rebuilding this defense, the Colts needed a few veteran bodies (through free agency) with the draft being the true focus.

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