Indianapolis Colts: Reviewing Their 2012 NFL Draft
The 2012 NFL draft marked the official dawning of a new era for the Indianapolis Colts franchise. No longer will Peyton Manning star at quarterback with Joseph Addai running the ball while Pierre Garcon and Dallas Clark catch passes. Instead, Andrew Luck will line up under center while handing off to Vick Ballard and pass the ball to Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen and T.Y. Hilton.
The Colts are going to be a new-look team next season, and it is not only because they are replacing Manning. Read through the following slides for more on the other players they drafted to be a part of the incoming rookie class headlined by Luck.
Evaluating the Picks
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Round 1, Pick 1: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 1
A truly elite quarterback prospect with all the tools a team covets in a franchise signal-caller. Luck was highly successful at Stanford, leading them to 31 wins over three seasons while proving himself to be a tremendous pro-style passer. He is very accurate, a great decision-maker, very intelligent, has a strong arm and is a great athlete.
Round 2, Pick 34: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 65
Tight end with an elite combination of size and speed at 6’6’’ while running a sub-4.5 40-yard dash. Not an effective blocker, and not a dynamic athlete in space. That said, he was a very productive receiver at Stanford who has been put in the perfect situation by being teamed back up with his college quarterback.
Round 3, Pick 64: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 38
Best all-around tight end in the draft class. Not a dynamic athlete, but a strong blocker and reliable receiving threat. Not a downfield receiving threat, but can play on any down.
Round 3, Pick 92: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Florida International
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 115
Dynamic slot receiver and kick/punt returner. Small but has dynamic speed and quickness. Needs work as a receiver, but has immediate value as returner.
Round 5, Pick 136: Josh Chapman, NT, Alabama
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 129
Strong and powerful, but undersized for a nose tackle. Does not make much impact on the stat sheet, but is a solid run-stuffer in the middle of a defensive front.
Round 5, Pick 170 (compensatory selection): Vick Ballard, RB, Mississippi State
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 130
Solid power back who was productive in the SEC. Decent but unspectacular speed. Should be a solid rotational back.
Round 6, Pick 206 (compensatory selection): LaVon Brazill, WR, Ohio
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 259
Smaller receiver with good speed, but not great quickness. Good hands. Solid game overall, but will have to be able to play special teams.
Round 7, Pick 208: Justin Anderson, G/OT, Georgia
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 389
Massive 342-pound offensive lineman who played right tackle at Georgia, but has potential to kick inside and play guard. Developmental project who could be a solid addition for depth.
Round 7, Pick 214: Tim Fugger, OLB/DE, Vanderbilt
Overall Prospect Rank: Not in Top 400
Athletic pass-rusher who was productive as a SEC defensive end in his senior season and is a good fit to make the transition to outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. Intriguing sleeper who could provide depth at the position.
Round 7, Pick 253: Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 237
Mr. Irrelevant who could become relevant by beating out Drew Stanton and Trevor Vittatoe to be Luck’s backup quarterback. Successful dual-threat quarterback in college, but lacks the athleticism to continue to be a significant running threat at next level. Good playmaker, but does not have a great arm and struggles with accuracy.
Evaluating the Trades
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The Colts traded their 2013 fifth-round selection to the San Francisco 49ers to move up from Round 4, Pick 97 to Round 3, Pick 92 to select Florida International WR T.Y. Hilton.
Giving up a fifth-round selection is quite a steep price to move up five spots from the top of Round 4 to the end of Round 3. Did they really need to make this move to select Hilton? The Rams sitting at selection No. 96 may have been a threat to select him, but this trade seems unnecessary for a team that can use all the building blocks it can for a few seasons.
The Colts traded Round 6, Pick 172 to the Philadelphia Eagles for offensive tackle Winston Justice and Round 6, Pick 187. The Colts traded Round 6, Pick 187 to the New York Jets for quarterback Drew Stanton and Round 7, Pick 214.
By moving down from the top of Round 6 to an early spot in Round 7, the Colts picked up quality backups at quarterback and offensive tackle. Stanton and Justice should provide quality depth in those areas, so these were good trades by the Colts.
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By drafting the best player in the draft class with the No. 1 overall pick, the Colts certainly got paramount value at the top of the draft.
The Colts also got great value at the tight end position, acquiring two of the top three tight ends in the draft class in Rounds 2 and 3. Fleener would have been a slight reach in early Round 2 for another team, but his value rises with the Colts given the familiarity between him and Luck. Allen was a steal in the third round.
The Colts also got quality value throughout Day 3. Chapman was good value in Round 5, considering he was one of the top prospects at the important nose tackle position. Ballard was also very good value for a fifth-round compensatory selection.
The Colts’ biggest reach was Ohio wide receiver LaVon Brazill, and that came with a sixth-round compensatory selection. The Colts needed to get good value throughout this draft, and they did so.
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The Colts started out their draft by addressing their most important need at the quarterback position. They also really needed to add weapons for their new quarterback to throw to, and they filled that need by adding two tight ends and two wide receivers.
However, while the Colts addressed their needs at the skill positions, they ignored their other needs. The Colts had 10 total picks and used seven of them on skill-position players. With a roster full of holes, the Colts should have been somewhat more diverse with their selections.
The Colts could not have hoped to fill every need via the 2012 NFL draft, but they still have many lingering need areas, especially on the interior offensive line and at cornerback.
Adding a quarterback, tight end, wide receiver and running back all made sense, but the Colts should have used more picks on other areas of need rather than doubling up at those areas.
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While the Colts selected nine players in the final six rounds, the success of the 2012 NFL draft rides completely upon the success of their new franchise quarterback prospect, Andrew Luck. Given that Luck has been considered by some to be the best quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning, and by others to be the best quarterback prospect since John Elway, the Colts should be in good hands at the quarterback position.
Adding Coby Fleener in the second round was a terrific choice, as it is a move that will immediately make Luck more comfortable by pairing him with his favorite receiving target from college.
Dwayne Allen was great value in Round 3, but the Colts should have at least used one of their first four picks on a defensive player or an offensive lineman rather than bulking up so heavily on skill-position players. Their best pick on Day 3 was Alabama nose tackle Josh Chapman, who could end up developing into a quality starter at the position.
It appears the Colts’ strategy for this draft was to surround their new franchise quarterback with many new offensive weapons in an effort to build a young, explosive offense right away. However, the lack of diversification in their draft will leave holes on the offensive line and on defense that will have to be filled in the 2013 NFL draft, and that hurts their overall draft grade.