2012 7-Round NFL Mock Draft: Who the Indianapolis Colts Should Take
Somehow, someway, the Indianapolis Colts were able to snag the No. 1 overall selection by having one of the worst years in franchise history. It is definitely a coincidence that they get the first overall pick and will likely use it on the best prospect since Peyton Manning—who they drafted with the No. 1 selection in 1998.
As of right now, the Colts are in a rebuilding stage, as they look to get back to playoff form. There will likely be departures of longtime Colts defensive end Robert Mathis, wide receiver Reggie Wayne and center Jeff Saturday.
Lately, the Colts have struggled with their first-round selections, as most of them have not lived up to the front office's expectations. Over the last few years, they have used first-round picks on Jerry Hughes in 2010, Donald Brown in 2009, Anthony Gonzalez in 2007, Joseph Addai in 2006 and Marlin Jackson in 2005.
The injury-prone Bob Sanders could also fall into that category despite once winning the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year. Also in 2007, the Colts traded up in the second round to draft Arkansas tackle Tony Ugoh, who turned out to be a gigantic bust.
The last few years have been strange for the Colts, as they were once one of the better drafting teams in the NFL, specifically in the late 1990s and early 2000s—they successfully used first-round selections on Marvin Harrison in 1996, Tarik Glenn in 1997, Peyton Manning in 1998, Edgerrin James in 1999, Reggie Wayne in 2001, Dwight Freeney in 2002 and Dallas Clark in 2003.
Clearly, the Colts need to return to their old ways and become one of the better drafting teams in the NFL. They can get back on the right track by starting with this April's draft.
First Round, First Overall: QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
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Other Possible Selections: None
Did you honestly expect anybody different? It definitely wasn't going to be Justin Blackmon, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson, Matt Kalil or Morris Claiborne.
Luck has been noted to be the most highly touted prospect since the 1998 No. 1 overall pick, Peyton Manning, who the Colts also landed.
The Stanford quarterback is perhaps the most NFL-ready player since Manning and is undoubtedly the most ready player in this year's class as well.
However, the selection of Luck warrants the question: What to do with Manning? Will the Colts release or trade Manning and list Luck as the opening day starter? Or will we see the Colts do something like the Packers did in 2005 with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers? Or could the Colts just trade the pick to the highest bidder? Although I do doubt that the last scenario would happen, as the Colts' front office would be foolish.
I envision Luck to have a stellar NFL quarterback and there will likely be many Pro Bowls and playoff appearances in front of him.
The Colts definitely lucked out in getting Luck.
Second Round, 34th Overall: WR Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers
Other Possible Selections: OLB Zach Brown (North Carolina), OLB Lavonte David (Nebraska), CB Chase Minnifield (Virginia), CB Jayron Hosley (Virginia Tech), DT Brandon Thompson (Clemson)
With the imminent departure of receiver Reggie Wayne, the Colts will definitely be in the market for acquiring a wide receiver either through the draft or via free agency—as a Colts fan, I wish they'd get someone like Vincent Jackson, but I know I have a better chance graduating from Yale with an engineering degree than the Colts acquiring the former Charger. So yeah, it's not going to happen.
The Colts are definitely going to need some help at that position as Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie, Blair White, Quan Cosby and the infamous Anthony Gonzalez—the only Colts player I absolutely loathe, by the way.
As some of y'all may have noticed after the last few seasons, teams tend to usually draft a receiver in the second or third rounds after drafting a quarterback in the first round. I believe that the Colts will follow that same path this April.
Sanu has great potential and upside and could easily become the main option in Indianapolis at some point in the next couple of seasons. He has the perfect mixture of strength, speed and athleticism that could have him flourish at the professional level.
A trio of Sanu, Garcon and Collie could be a great, young combination as the Colts look to rebuild after a solid decade of dominance in the NFL.
I really like the selection of Sanu with the 34th overall selection, as I believe he could become a great option for Andrew Luck in the future.
Third Round, 65th Overall: CB Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma
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Other Potential Selections: OLB Jonathan Massquoi (Troy), DE/OLB Chandler Jones (Syracuse), DT Josh Chapman (Alabama), CB Coryell Judie (Texas A&M)
After losing cornerbacks Marlin Jackson, Kelvin Hayden and Tim Jennings to free agency over the years, the Colts haven't been able to have a consistent corps of cornerbacks.
Currently, they list Jacob Lacey, Jerraud Powers, Kevin Thomas and Terrence Johnson as their main cornerbacks and clearly, those really aren't good options at that position. The Colts really need someone that can make the corps better and that's what Fleming would do for the Colts.
Fleming is one of the best cornerbacks in the entire draft and could eventually become one of the best at that position in this year's draft.
I really like what Fleming does defensively and I believe he could easily solve the Colts' issues in the back-field.
If available, the Colts have to take him with the 65th overall selection.
Fourth Round, 97th Overall: OLB Terrell Manning, North Carolina State
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The Colts are currently in dire need of a solid linebacking corps, as the selection of a linebacker would benefit the Colts greatly. Kavell Connor and Philip Wheeler are alright, but they may not be long-term answers at their respective positions.
Jerry Hughes is most notably listed as a hybrid defensive end and linebacker and he looks to be a giant disappointment as of right now. Gary Brackett is getting older and more injury-prone by the day and Pat Angerer seems to be the only bright spot at linebacker.
Manning has huge upside and is a very effective blitzer, as well. He is also decent in coverage and could easily cover tight ends and some wide receivers.
It is abundantly clear that the Colts need to either draft or sign a linebacker via free agency, but the latter will likely not happen. The Colts have had a history of going through the draft rather than free agency, as their biggest free agent signing over the last decade looks to be former Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri.
Needless to say, the Colts should be looking to draft a linebacker at some point in the draft and with so many talented linebackers at this point, the Colts need to take a shot on one.
Why not Manning?
Fifth Round, 128th Overall: C William Vlachos, Alabama
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Other Potential Selections: DT Mike Martin (Michigan), DE Jake Bequette (Arkansas), CB Cliff Harris (Oregon), S Matt Daniels (Duke), S Harrison Smith (Notre Dame)
With the impending retirement or departure via free agency of Jeff Saturday, the Colts will be looking for a new player to occupy the middle of the offensive line for the first time in over a decade.
That's where Vlachos comes in.
He is currently the fifth-ranked center in the draft and with Wisconsin's Peter Konz, Georgia's Ben Jones, Ohio State's Michael Brewster and Michigan's David Molk likely to be gone by this point, the Colts should go with the next rated centerAlabama's William Vlachos.
Vlachos spent his entire four-year collegiate career with the Tide, quietly anchoring one of the best and most consistent offensive lines in the NCAA over the last few seasons. Vlachos also was a major part in helping the Tide to two BCS Championships over the last three seasons.
The center is extremely smart and would benefit greatly in an offense that is "center-friendly". He is also an exceptional run-blocker, something the Colts are currently lacking.
Vlachos would become just another offensive linemen drafted by the Colts since last year when the team used their first two selections on Boston College tackle Anthony Costanzo and Villanova guard Ben Ijalana.
If given the opportunity, I could see Vlachos having a long career with the Colts.
Sixth Round, 161st Overall: DE Malik Jackson, Tennessee
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Other Possible Selections: FS Tysyn Hartman (Kansas State), DT DaJohn Harris (USC), DE Jamie Blatnick (Oklahoma State), S Sean Cattouse (California), DT Jaye Howard (Florida)
The Colts are also looking at the possible departure of Robert Mathis, who has been with the team his entire career.
Although they already Dwight Freeney, Tyler Brayton, Jamaal Anderson and Jerry Hughes on the roster, it is never a bad thing to have a good amount of defensive endsunless they're all scrubs, of course.
The selection of Jackson could definitely help his career, as he would be able to learn from one of the best defensive ends in the game, Freeney. The former Syracuse star has arguably been one of the best defensive ends in the NFL since arriving in Indianapolis in 2003 and I'm sure he would be a great tutor for the young Jackson.
Jackson is very tough and has decent speed for a man of his stature. He is able to get past offensive linemen with some ease, as well.
I think Jackson could become one of the biggest steals of the draft if he is chosen in the later rounds as projected. He just needs a good tutor and the right system to help his career and Indianapolis would be a good spot.
Seventh Round, 192nd Overall: S Brandon Taylor, LSU
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Other Possible Selections: OT Blake DeChristopher (Virginia Tech), S Eddie Pleasant (Oregon), OT Tom Compton (South Dakota), S Duke Ihenacho (San Jose State), OT/G Joel Foreman (Michigan State)
Although the Colts currently have Antoine Bethea and Melvin Bullitt as their week-to-week starters, Bullitt spent most of last season on injured reserve. He has been injury-prone since arriving in the NFL and the Colts need to fill that void if an injury were to shelve Bullitt again.
David Caldwell and Joe Lefeged registered time in Bullitt's place last season, but both got consistently burned on a regular basis.
The Colts need some depth at the safety positions and Taylor is good enough to where he could help them with that problem.
I like the selection in the seventh round of Taylor, who was arguably one of the best players on LSU's defense last season, even though he didn't the respect he ultimately deserved.
I think Taylor could potentially become a late-round steal and the Colts would be a good place for him to go.