INDIANAPOLIS – A year ago, it was clear-cut what the Colts would do in the draft – take a quarterback to set a new future for the franchise.
Which quarterback that would be was a matter of little conjecture with Stanford's Andrew Luck sitting plainly in the club's sights.
Now drafting 24th, conjecture on who might be available is a more wide-ranging process. It was one addressed by NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock on Monday.
"I keep kind of banging on the table that the quality of this first round is going to be (good)," said Mayock. "I've got six offensive tackles with first-round grades. I've got six defensive tackles with first-round grades. I only have one corner with a first‑round grade, and I only have, really, two wide receivers with first‑round grades.
"When you start talking about where the strength of this is, you could also look at those 3‑4 outside linebackers, because there are some intriguing guys there. When you get the 24th (pick), you're looking at some of the later offensive tackles. From my perspective, (offensive tackle) Lane Johnson from Oklahoma (had) a great Senior Bowl. D.J. Fluker from Alabama could be there. He's a right tackle only, but I think he's going to be special down the road. Justin Pugh from Syracuse, those are offensive tackles that could be available at 24.
The Colts addressed one cornerback position last year with the trade for Vontae Davis. Should that be an area targeted by the club, Mayock sees Mississippi State's Johnthan Banks having a potential first-round calling if he tests well in combine drills.
Mayock sees the draft having balance, but without the name sizzle of past years.
"I think we probably have better depth than we've had in the last 10 years. I'm really impressed with our depth," said Mayock. "The top end of the draft, the top 10 picks, I don't see the difference-makers like we've had the last several years. A couple of quarterbacks last year (Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III), Von Miller, Ndamukong Suh, you can go back and see those impact players each year where, before the draft, you knew, 'That guy's a difference-maker.'
"I think the quick snapshot of this draft is more depth. Not quite the difference-makers at the top end and a whole lot of holes in the quarterbacking class."
MIKE MAYOCK'S COMBINE RANKINGS BY POSITION
Quarterback – Geno Smith, West Virginia; Matt Barkley, USC; Mike Glennon, NC State; Ryan Nassib, Syracuse; Landry Jones, Oklahoma
Running Back – Eddie Lacy, Alabama; Montee Ball, Wisconsin; Andre Ellington, Clemson; Giovani Bernard, North Carolina; Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
Wide Receiver – Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee; Keenan Allen, Cal; Terrance Williams, Baylor; Tavon Austin, West Virginia, Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech
Tight End – Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame; Zach Ertz, Stanford; Gavin Escobar, San Diego State; Travis Kelce, Cincinnati; Jordan Reed, Florida
Center – Travis Frederick, Wisconsin; Brian Schwenke, Cal; Barrett Jones, Alabama; Khaled Holmes, USC; Braxston Cave, Notre Dame
Guard – Chance Warmack, Alabama; Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina; Larry Warford, Kentucky; Kyle Long, Oregon; Brian Winters, Kent State
Tackle – Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M; Eric Fisher, Central Michigan; Lane Johnson, Oklahoma; D.J. Fluker, Alabama; Menelik Watson, Florida State; Justin Pugh, Syracuse
Defensive End – Bjoern Werner, Florida State; Damontre Moore, Texas A&M; Ezekiel Ansah, BYU; Sam Montgomery, LSU; Datone Jones, UCLA; Margus Hunt, SMU
Defensive Tackle – Sharrif Floyd, Florida; Star Lotulelei, Utah; Sheldon Richardson, Missouri; Sylvester Williams, North Carolina; Kawann Short, Purdue; Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State
Outside Linebacker – Dion Jordan, Oregon; Jarvis Jones, Georgia; Khaseem Greene, Rutgers; Barkevious Mingo, LSU; Arthur Brown, Kansas State
Inside Linebacker – Alec Ogletree, Georgia; Manti Te'o, Notre Dame; Kevin Minter, LSU; Kevin Reddick, North Carolina; Kiko Alonso, Oregon
Cornerback – Dee Milliner, Alabama; Xavier Rhodes, Florida State; Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State; Desmond Trufant, Washington; Jordan Poyer, Oregon State
Safety – Kenny Vaccaro, Texas, Matt Elam, Florida; Johnathan Cyprien, Florida International; Eric Reid, LSU; Zeke Motta, Notre Dame