New Colts GM Ryan Grigson has the tall task of rebuilding depth on a top-heavy team. The 2012 draft will be his best chance to establish the type of team he wants for the future.
As Grigson checked out prospects at the combine for a couple of days, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller was updating his monumental mock draft. Let's chip away at Miller's projections from the Colts' perspective to determine if we're buying what he's selling.
The Colts have a lot of needs, but do Miller's picks reflect the best potential moves for the team as they enter a new era? This slideshow will start with the Colts' seventh-round pick and move up to the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft.
Perhaps adding cornerback depth will enable the Colts to trim away some of their deplorable veteran nickelbacks like Jacob Lacey.
Micah Pellerin would be a good pick for the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts were absolutely wretched at defending against the pass last year.
While their secondary was certainly a bit banged up (Melvin Bullitt missed most of the season and Jerraud Powers also sat out some) their lack of depth meant that sub-par guys like Jacob Lacey and Terrence Johnson got to spend a significant amount of 2011 getting burned by opposing teams' wide receivers.
Standing right at 6'0", Pellerin is a bigger cornerback prospect than a lot of guys in the 2012 draft class. While he didn't compete against the best at Hampton University, he did also play safety in college. That kind of versatility is a plus for NFL teams and would serve the Colts well.
Uncertainty about Robert Mathis' future may cause the Colts to draft another defensive end.
Roy is a bit of a tweener at defensive end. He's big enough to swing over to defensive tackle, but he can also run stop and rush the quarterback from the defensive end or outside linebacker positions.
While he didn't show excellent speed at the combine, at Nevada he showed the ability to shed blockers with his strength and technique.
Defensive end may be a "need" position for the Colts heading into 2012. Former first-round pick Jerry Hughes hasn't developed very quickly, and the Colts may not be able to retain star defensive end Robert Mathis with free agency (and a likely high price tag) looming.
Roy has been projected by others as going as high as the fourth or fifth round. But if he does fall into the sixth round, the Colts would be wise to snatch him.
Mosley is a great prospect at tackle. He has good mobility and the athleticism to push defenders off the ball. But I don't think the Colts should look toward that position with this pick.
The Colts have wallowed in the mid-range with offensive line picks for the past couple of years with mixed results. The 2011 draft was the first time since the Tony Ugoh debacle of 2007 that Bill Polian took an offensive lineman high in the draft. Anthony Castonzo, a first-rounder in 2011, looked like the real deal last year until he tore his ACL. Fellow second-year man Ben Ijalana also showed up well on the right side of the line.
Of all the positions for the Colts, offensive line actually looks like one of the stronger ones heading into 2012.
The Colts may need to add some depth to their offensive line in 2012, but Mosley in the fifth round isn't the place (or the person) to do it. Adding some running back depth or perhaps another tight end would be a wiser choice at that spot.
Jarius Wright would be a stellar pick-up for the Colts' fourth pick. He's a speedster who runs fantastic routes and has decent hands.
He's a bit short at 5'10" (and can be bullied by physical cornerbacks), but he could be an excellent DeSean Jackson-style receiver.
The Colts may find themselves with at least one of their top two receivers gone in 2012. Pierre Garcon reportedly turned down a five-year deal from the Colts recently. Reggie Wayne is also a free agent. While he was still effective in 2011, he's certainly headed toward the tail-end of his career and it may not be prudent for the Colts to continue to rely on him for the long term.
Adding Wright to the roster would be a great move for the Colts as they try to get help for their quarterback.
Although he played on the interior of Boise State's line quite a bit as an undergraduate, he is likely going to be used as a defensive end in the NFL. As such, he doesn't seem like a good fit for a Colts team that is going to be moving away from what had been a small and fast 4-3 defensive mindset to a more balanced 3-4 scheme under new head coach Chuck Pagano.
The Colts need more beef in the middle of their defense. Their perennially undersized tackles are often blown away by good run-blocking offensive linemen. Taking a flyer on a guy like Clemson defensive tackle Brandon Thompson (who is also projected to go in the third round) would pay dividends for the Colts in 2012 and beyond.
The Colts should sell the lighter Billy Winn and buy the beefier run-stopper Brandon Thompson instead.
Andre Branch is the kind of player that head coach Chuck Pagano will covet. He is an amazing athlete with great speed and a good nose for the ball.
The Colts need depth at linebacker and having a solid prospect on the outside (to match with the similarly young and promising Pat Angerer) would be a great addition.
Branch has been slotted as being taken as high as No. 19 in the draft. He may be a bit raw for the NFL at this point, but his potential is huge and he could be a true difference-maker for a defense. If he falls into the second round, the Colts should pick him up.
Luck has been tagged as the most sure-fire quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning. He's almost everything that a coach would want at the most important position on the field.
He is accurate, reads defenses well, has superb presence in the pocket and knows how to win games. He even has Aaron Rodgers-type mobility if a play breaks down. Luck seemingly has all the tools he'll need to succeed in the NFL.
While Robert Griffin III has gotten lots of attention due to his blistering showing at the combine and his excellent leadership, Luck is still the most complete quarterback heading into the 2012 draft.
Even if Manning does somehow stay in Indianapolis, the Colts need to prepare for the future without him. To do so, they need to get a start on a new era with Andrew Luck leading their offense.