INDIANAPOLIS – According to Mel Kiper, good news could be on the way for the Colts in 2016.
The 30-year ESPN draft analyst believes that the positions of need for the Colts this offseason correlates directly to the deeper spots of this draft.
A defensive heavy draft class, along with capable bodies in the offensive trenches, is where Kiper sees this 2016 group shaping up.
"Defensive line and corner are the strongest positions in this draft by a mile," Kiper said of the 2016 Draft.
In Kiper's first Mock Draft, 20 of his 31 first-round picks (New England has to forfeit their first-round pick this year) were defenders. The defensive front had 11 linemen going in Kiper's first round.
Kiper slotted an offensive lineman in for the Colts at pick No. 18. Taylor Decker from Ohio State was the choice for Indianapolis, with Kiper believing the Colts need to address the line early.
"I thought the offensive line was such an area of need, both at right tackle and right guard, that you got a guy like Decker, you could plug him in right away and do a good job there," Kiper said of picking Decker for the Colts.
"I just think with Andrew Luck coming off an injury and getting beat up the way he did, (Matt) Hasselbeck got hit too much…Taylor Decker, (Michigan State's) Jack Conklin, one of those two guys. I think those two Big Ten tackles would be hard to overlook at that point."
If the Colts do choose to look at the defensive side of the ball in Round One, Kiper touched on some prospects that could be available.
"There are plenty of corners and that was the one area that I thought maybe I'll give them a corner," Kiper said of the Colts, alluding to the injuries for last year's third-round pick D'Joun Smith.
"(Cornerbacks) Mackensie Alexander from Clemson, Eli Apple from Ohio State, Kendall Fuller from Virginia Tech, there's going to be some really good corners (at 18). I don't think (Florida's) Vernon Hargreaves III will get down that far. That will be a stretch to get him down to 18. If you like him, and he gets down to that ninth spot with Tampa Bay, and you want Hargreaves, maybe you jump up and get him. There's going to be some intriguing corners."
Here's a look at some of the positions Kiper touched on for the Colts:
- ILB: Some good ones available with first-round grades.
- CB: With more and more underclassmen having declared, this position has become quite deep.
- OG: Like we've seen in years past, Kiper believes the abundance of tackles will lead to some of those guys sliding inside to play guard in the NFL.
- DL/DT: Hence by his first-round Mock Draft, this position group might be the deepest of any come late April.