INDIANAPOLIS – Ryan Grigson wishes the 2016 draft class had a few more pure pass rushers.
While the depth of the 2016 pass rushing class might not be there, Grigson does believe there is some quality near the top of the group.
Who are some potential impact edge guys the Colts could be looking for come draft time?
- Eastern Kentucky's Noah Spence (6-3, 261):Despite failed drug tests that forced Spence to transfer from Ohio State, this is your top pass rusher of 2016. Spence has been clean for over a year, so his red flags appear to be slightly less dense than other draftees with character questions. Spence's name has been all over Mock Drafts, throughout the first round. You know the Colts are going to due their diligence of studying Spence, just in case he's sitting there at No. 18.
- Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith (6-2, 240):Had the Fiesta Bowl never happened, Smith wouldn't find his name anywhere on this list. That's because he wouldn't be a realistic option for the Colts at No. 18. However, a torn ACL and PCL (plus a stretched nerve) has Smith's draft position extremely medical dependent. Can teams afford to take a player who might have to redshirt as a rookie? If healthy, this rangy linebacker would have been a sure fire top 5-10 pick. Smith hails from Fort Wayne and was the 2012 Indiana Mr. Football.
* Clemson's Shaq Lawson (6-2, 269):Lawson isn't your typical pure speed rusher. A spin move reminiscent of Dwight Freeney is Lawson's forte. In helping Clemson to a No. 1 ranking last season, Lawson was a menace. A final season of 24.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks has teams intrigued by Lawson, even if there are questions about him playing as a 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 outside linebacker. Lawson appears to be projected right in the ballpark for where the Colts are picking in Round One.
- Georgia's Leonard Floyd (6-4, 244):Taking a look at Floyd and you immediately notice a slender frame. Floyd has heard that from NFL teams. At this level, personnel people view Floyd as a pass rusher first, with added weight likely needed to become an every down linebacker. Floyd's speed is certainly a strength and incorporating more pass rushing moves is a goal for the Georgia native. In Mock Drafts, Floyd has been slotted right around the middle-to-late part of the first round.
- Utah State's Kyler Fackrell (6-5, 250):This former high school quarterback/wide receiver is a rare 3-4 hybrid coming from the collegiate level. Fackrell had 12 sacks and four interceptions in his three healthy seasons. At 6-5, there's some worry about the bendability of Fackrell to get underneath offensive linemen when pass rushing. We are seeing Fackrell as a second-round pick in Mock Drafts.