Indianapolis Colts 2012 NFL Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis
The Indianapolis Colts Draft Tracker will keep you up to date on all the Colts' picks this weekend. Check back regularly for scouting reports, analysis and grades of every player Indianapolis takes.
The Colts selected Andrew Luck, but what happens the rest of the draft is anyone's guess.
Their picks in rounds two and three may well provide a road map for the future of the franchise. The second round pick of Coby Fleener indicates that the new management "gets" what it takes to win in the NFL. They followed it up with two more targets for Luck in the third round.
From Mr. Universe to Mr. Irrelevant, check out every single Indianapolis pick here.
Overview of the Colts' Draft
The Colts have 10 picks in the 2012 draft.
2011 Record: 2-14
Team Needs: Wide Receiver, Defensive Tackle, Corner Back, Safety.
Popular Targets: Coby Fleener, Alameda Ta'amu, Mohamed Sanu
1 (1): Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford
2 (34): Coby Fleener, Tight End, Stanford
3 (64): Dwayne Allen, Tight End, Clemson
3 (92 TRADE): T.Y. Hilton, Wide Receiver, Florida International
5 (136): Josh Chapman, Defensive Tackle, Alabama
5 (170): Vick Ballard, Running Back, Mississippi State
6 (206): LaVon Brazill, Wide Receiver, Ohio
7 (208): Justin Anderson, Offensive Tackle, Georgia
7 (214): Tim Fugger, Defensive End, Vanderbilt
7 (253): Chandler Harnish, Quarterback, Northern Illinois
Round 1, Pick 1: Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford
Update: It's official. The Colts have made Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck the No 1. overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft.
This has been talked to death for months, but it bears repeating: Luck has big shoes to fill. The Colts took a huge risk in cutting Peyton Manning and going with Luck. If Luck turns out to be the second coming of Manning, the move will look savvy. If he is the second coming of Jeff George, fans will never forgive Jim Irsay.
Luck can do it all. He's a physical freak with prototypical size. He has an elite mind and a good arm. Tom Moore, former Indianapolis offensive coordinator, put it best:
He’s the real deal. If you draft him you never have to worry about anything. You know he’ll be prepared. You know he’ll be in shape. You know he’ll study. You know he’ll practice hard. You won’t have to worry about anything. And you’ll know he’s going to go home and spend two-to-three more hours working on what you talked about.
With Luck, the only unknown is how many Pro Bowls he'll go to and how many Super Bowls he'll win.
The Colts have a chance to string together three iconic quarterbacks in a row. Jim Harbaugh was the scrappy over-achiever who revived his career on smarts, spunk and leadership. Manning was the prototype, the man who changed the way football was played and influenced a generation of players. Luck is the natural evolution of Manning. He's got the mind, but also the ability to run that Manning never possessed. He's got Manning's mind, Harbaugh's legs, and a bigger arm than either.
This pick is a slam-dunk. Luck is spectacular. "A" probably isn't even the right grade for him. He should be given an "M" for Manning.
Round 2, Pick 34: Coby Fleener, Tight End, Stanford
The Colts reunite Andrew Luck with his college tight end, Coby Fleener. Fleener was a fast riser after a brilliant pro-day. He's a modern tight end in the sense that he's more of a pass catcher than a run blocker. He'll be highly popular with Indianapolis fans who had grown to love the play of Dallas Clark.
Fleener is a more athletic Dallas Clark, a tight end that can align all over the formation and get down the vertical seam. Seam routes off play action are critical in the Manning offense, and Fleener is a fluid route runner with deceptive speed. I remember Fleener beating Notre Dame corner Robert Blanton for a touchdown with a beautiful route, one that showed a great understanding of how to set up a defender.
The only bad thing you can say about this pick is that Courtney Upshaw might be a better overall talent, but the Colts left him on the board.
What makes this a truly important decision is what it says about the new regime of the Indianapolis Colts. They didn't take an offensive lineman. They didn't take a defensive player. They didn't even take a run-blocking end. They took a pure passing weapon.
That alone shows that this club has its head screwed on straight. Fleener has star potential, and instantly gives the Colts a chance for first downs on on offense in 2012.
This was the Colts' best case scenario for months. The tight end is a dynamic position in the NFL, and Fleener gives the Colts the next Dallas Clark. The prospects for Andrew Luck's rookie year just sky-rocketed. Fleener is a great pick, and the Colts' chances of fielding a viable offense just went up.
Round 3, Pick 64: Dwane Allen, Tight End, Clemson
The Colts shocked many by taking a second tight end on Day Two in Dwayne Allen from Clemson. He's probably a more complete player than Fleener, as he can also block.
While Allen lacks the elite athleticism of some of today’s top pass-catching tight ends, he is one of the most well-rounded prospects to enter the draft at his position in recent years. He won’t be a game-changer at the next level, but he clearly has the skills to contribute as a receiver and his blocking skills will allow him to be a reliable three-down tight end.
You could argue that Fleener was over-picked, but the opposite argument can be made for Allen. He's very talented, and the combination of both tight ends gives Luck something similar to what Peyton Manning had early in his career with Ken Dilger and Marcus Pollard.
Chuck Pagano had to scheme against the dual tight end threat of the Patriots, and now they may be bringing a similar system to Indianapolis.
The Colts are executing a plan and building an offense built around the tight end. Allen wasn't a name on a lot of radars, but McCrystal for one had him as a top 30 talent. The Colts were bereft of pass catching talent, and by adding two tight ends on the second day, they are close to building an offensive identity.
Round 3, Pick 92: T.Y. Hilton, Wide Receiver, Florida International
The Colts snuck back into the third round, moving up a few spots in exchange for a 2013 fifth-round selection. The result was a dynamic returner and potential slot receiver in T.Y. Hilton.
Dangerous in the open field; extremely quick and elusive. Has the speed to consistently stretch the field. Efficient route runner; very quick in his breaks and can quickly shake defenders who lack the footwork to stay with him. Reliable hands. Gives a solid effort as a blocker. Explosive return specialist. Hard worker off the field; well respected by coaches and teammates.
This move completes a shocking, but heartening day for Colts' fans. The new regime made a bold and unmistakeable declaration that they will give Andrew Luck the tools he needs to be successful. It is impossible to divorce the future of Luck from the future of the Colts, so efforts to build him a New England-like offense only make sense. With two tight ends a strong slot option, the Colts can run Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie or Donnie Avery wide and actually have an offense that is difficult to defend.
The sum total of the moves for the Colts is nothing short of brilliant.
If they drafted Hilton as a receiver, I like the move up to a B+, but if they just traded up to secure a punt returner, then the move is probably a waste of resources. I'm not a fan of blowing picks on special teams. Hilton could be a real find for the Colts, and is likely well worth a fifth round pick.
Round 5, Pick 136: Josh Chapman, Defensive Tackle, Alabama
The Colts finally went for a defensive player, landing tackle Josh Chapman from Alabama.
Chapman is intriguing due to his size, and he can definitely play nose tackle at the next level, but he lacks the elite measurables to warrant a high pick. While he does have the strength to take on multiple blockers, he struggles to shed blocks and become disruptive in the backfield. He’s the type of player that does everything reasonable well, but nothing great and has a limited ceiling as a result. Assuming his knee checks out, he’s a very safe mid-round pick, but may only be a backup in the NFL.
The Colts had no one in the middle as they convert to a 3-4 defense. Nose tackle was one of the biggest needs on their board, and Chuck Pagano finally has a project to develop. Mid-round tackles take time to develop, but Chapman should see some action this year. Maybe he's not a star, but the Colts now have a body at a position where they previously had no one.
The Colts had a huge need at nose tackle and they filled it. Chapman was graded out better than a fifth round pick, so they got value at a need position. That's all you can ask for from a draft pick.
Round 5, Pick 170: Vick Ballard, Running Back, Mississippi State
The Colts' assault on offensive players continued through the end of the sixth round with a running back, Vick Ballard.
Good bulk, has a strong build... His speed seems to sneak up on people, isn't the fastest guy but he can outrun linebackers... Runs very low to the ground, keeps a low center of gravity and is tough to wrap up... Quick feet through the hole, shuffles his feet well... Wraps up the ball well when initiating contact... Does a good job of changing speeds when he's running... Good burst through the hole, gets his first ten yards quickly... Should be a better NFL runner than he was in college, is more of a between the tackles type back who was asked to run outside a lot in college due to Mississippi State running an option-style offense
Ballard is a hefty back with good power and will likely challenge Delone Carter for carries in 2012. It's clear the Colts are happier with their defensive talent than their offensive players. They continue to add bodies on offense, but have dire needs in the secondary that continue to be neglected.
I don't see how the Colts need a running back, especially one that sounds like Delone Carter. Still, there's always a chance that a late round back from the SEC could make a leap on the next level. Good player, but I don't know that he makes sense.
Round 6, Pick 206: LaVon Brazill, Wide Receiver, Ohio
The Colts use a sixth round compensatory pick on another offensive player. Wide Receiver LaVon Brazill is yet another weapon for Andrew Luck.
Showcases solid leaping ability, routinely going up and getting the football; he possesses the balance to keep his feet under him and explode toward the throw. However, is still developing as a route runner. Isn't real sharp or precise in and out of his breaks. Plays a lot from the slot and has a tendency to really run through his breaks and isn't' real sharp or sudden when trying to set up corners. Is at his best avoiding contact as a vertical route runner, but is still developing on his sharply breaking routes. Displays some run after the catch ability. Keeps his pad level down and will keep his feet through contact if defenders don't wrap. However, doesn't strike me as a dynamic athlete in space. Plays like a mid 4.4 guy with some short area quickness when trying to avoid defenders down the field. However, looks like a guy who could have a tough tome defeating press in the NFL because of his size and physical make-up, looks better suited for the slot. Will catch the football, a natural plucker who extends well.
This pick makes no sense. Brazill will have a hard time making a receiving squad that already has Wayne, Collie, Avery, and T.Y. Hilton. I don't see the value or the point.
I'll be surprised if he makes the team.
Round 7 Pick 208: Justin Anderson, Offensive Tackle, Georgia
The Colts kicked off the seventh round with the first of three picks. They took tackle Justin Anderson.
Heavy-legged, injury-prone waist bender best with simplified assignments. Sheer size could allow him to fend for a backup job in a power-blocking scheme if he can prove durable.
The Colts are looking for big bodies to play on the offensive line. I expect Anderson to wind up as a backup guard. If he makes the team and plays for a couple of years as a backup, he'll be a solid pick.
Anderson is big and will provide depth at guard. He's a body and that's what you can expect from the seventh round.
Round 7, Pick 214: Tim Fugger, Defensive End, Vanderbilt
The Colts went with a defender for the second time in the 2012 draft by taking defensive end Tim Fugger.
Second-team All-SEC performer and Combine snub whose impressive pro-day performance led to increased NFL attention, including a handful of personal visits. Shows some hip stiffness and is not a dynamic speed rusher — average get-off and closing burst — but tries to keep himself clean, flashes a spin move (see Arkansas) and keeps working to the quarterback. Gives effort in the run game — works to disengage from single blocks, flattens and chases hard. High-motor defender who plays with urgency, as evidenced early in Alabama contest when he was in on the opening-kickoff tackle and then ripped down Marquis Maze’s jet sweep on the second play from scrimmage. Should contribute readily on special teams and develop into a rotational 4-3 right end, or is capable of rushing and zone-dropping as a stand-up linebacker. Is worthy of a draft selection and has broad appeal
Fugger will be able to play special teams and be a backup outside linebacker for the Colts. He's a quality body who plays hard. Has a chance to make the team and do little things to make a difference.
Fugger is versatile and should be able to make a difference on special teams. This seems like a high quality late round pick.
Round 7, Pick 253: Chandler Harnish,Quarterback, Northern Illinois
The Colts put a wrap on the 2012 draft by making Chandler Harnish "Mr. Irrelevant".
I think Harnish has a good chance to get drafted in after the fifth round. His accuracy isn’t pinpoint, but if he can get a little smoother with his drops, hitches, and delivery, he could get better. Like Kirk Cousins, Harnish has issues stepping into this throws. Unlike the Michigan State quarterback, he flashes a strong arm even without the benefit of his feet and he does flash plays where he does make the proper step through the release. If I were looking for a developmental project I’d consider him nice option.
Indy must like what they see enough to think that Harnish can make the club and grow to have trade value. They don't need him and he's not going to have any trade worth for a few years at least.
The Colts already traded for Drew Stanton. How will Harnish even make the squad unless the Colts decide to keep three quarterbacks?
This was just an awful pick. Harnish is a fine player, and this isn't a knock on him. I just don't see how he makes the roster.
2012 Draft Report Card
1 (1): Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford A
2 (34): Coby Fleener, Tight End, Stanford A
3 (64): Dwayne Allen, Tight End, Clemson B+
3 (92 TRADE): T.Y. Hilton, Wide Receiver, Florida International B
5 (136): Josh Chapman, Defensive Tackle, Alabama B+
5 (170): Vick Ballard, Running Back, Mississippi State C-
6 (206): LaVon Brazill, Wide Receiver, Ohio D-
7 (208): Justin Anderson, Offensive Tackle, Georgia C
7 (214): Tim Fugger, Defensive End, Vanderbilt B
7 (253): Chandler Harnish, Quarterback, Northern Illinois F
OVERALL DRAFT GRADE: B+
The Colts crushed the first five picks, and then things jumped the rails. Fortunately for Indianapolis, they nailed the picks that mattered most. Based on Luck alone, it's unlikely any team will get more out of the draft than the Colts did.