2013 NFL Draft: 10 Players the Indianapolis Colts Should Consider in Round 1
Yes, the 2012 NFL Draft just ended. No, it's not too early to look ahead to the 2013 NFL Draft and speculate who could be there for your team.
The Indianapolis Colts may not land the number one pick in the 2013 NFL Draft (if they do, they'll trade the pick, likely Matt Barkley, for a king's ransom of picks) but, even the biggest, Kool-Aid-drinking Colts fans know they'll probably be picking in the top ten, most likely top five, next year.
The Colts had 10 picks in the 2012 draft, and eight of those went to the offense. It only makes sense to think the majority of the teams' picks in the 2013 draft will be spent on helping the defense.
Let's take a look at some potential top ten picks in next year's draft who the Colts should consider.
David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State
What is the thinnest position on the Colts roster? Cornerback. Easily. Jerraud Powers is the only corner on the team with legitimate NFL experience, and he's coming close to having the dreaded word, "injury-prone" stapled to his name.
The Colts did not draft a corner in this year's draft despite this glaring need. Unless they pick up a free agent or two before next years draft, corner will remain the primary position of need.
Enter arguably the best cornerback in college football, David Amerson, of NC State. Amerson is a big corner at 6'3" and 195 pounds. Last year, as a sophomore, he set an ACC record by intercepting 13 passes. That size coupled with his physicality help him get to seemingly every jump ball that comes his way. This kid is an absolute ball hawk.
Don't take my word for it. Here's what ESPN Draft Expert, Mel Kiper had to say about him:
He's that rangy, tall corner that can match up with these physically imposing wide receivers in the NFL. Great anticipation in coverage. He's a ball hawk.
Kiper has him as his top corner, and No. 5 overall prospect in next year's draft. Amerson would be able to step in on day one and provide big time playmaking ability and solid coverage at corner for the Colts. He'd be an excellent pick,
Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
The Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu from LSU, is another corner who could go in the top ten of the draft. He doesn't have the size of Amerson (Mathieu is 5'9" and 179 pounds), but he makes up for that with tremendous athletic ability and skill.
A finalist for the Heisman Trophy last year , Mathieu also excels on special teams as a returner and in coverage. He's an electric playmaker who, as a sophomore last year, tied for the team lead in tackles. He also had a combined 11 forced fumbles/fumble recoveries last season.
Here's what one NFL scout had to say about the Honey Bader:
He’ll get exposed a bit with bigger receivers, but he’s one of those guys who is always making a play when you need it.
Because of his size, he might get moved from corner to safety in the NFL. He'd help the Colts immediately at either position.
Eric Reid, S, LSU
The Honey Badger's teammate at LSU, Eric Reid, will be the best safety in the 2013 draft. Tom Zbikowski is a good fill-in at safety for the Colts, but he's not the answer they're looking for. Reid would compliment Antoine Bethea very well.
The 6'2" 208-pound Reid tied Mathieu for the team lead in tackles last year as a sophomore. He's a big-time hitter with great ball skills, who plays the run very well and is also skilled in pass coverage.
Check out what one NFL Scout had to say about the All-American safety from LSU:
Extremely athletic for a safety, Reid can do it all -- tackle, cover and make plays on the ball.
With Safety being an area of need, the Colts would be hard-pressed to pass up someone with Reid's resume.
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
After 10+ years with his hand on the ground, Dwight Freeney, is being asked to stand up as an OLB in the Colts new 3-4 defense. Freeney's also in the last year of his contract, and some speculate whether he'll even be with the Colts when they open the season.
Knowing that, an obvious area of need heading in to the 2013 draft will be the OLB position. Jarvis Jones, out of Georgia, is Mel Kiper's second-ranked overall prospect for the 2013 Draft. Here's what Kiper has to say about him:
Explosive, relentless edge rusher, profiles well as a 3-4 OLB. Great first step, violent hands, extremely good burst off the snap, tackles well, closes fast.
I get goosebumps just reading that, and thinking of Jones' potential as a OLB for the Colts. Freeney's probably going to be gone sooner rather than later. Robert Mathis won't be around too much longer either. Jones is the perfect pass-rushing, explosive OLB the Colts should be considering to replace those guys.
Sam Montgomery, DE/OLB, LSU
Sam Montgomery plays defensive end at LSU, but given his size (6'4", 245 pounds) he'd project more to an OLB for the Colts new 3-4 defense. Mel Kiper has him rated fifth overall on his 2013 Draft Board. Montgomery led the vaunted LSU defense with nine sacks and 13 tackles for loss last season.
Here's what Kiper has to say about him:
Lacks the frame of a 4-3 DE at next level, but could still get there, because his frame can handle it. Athleticism and rush skills are there, underrated against the run.
He may be underrated against the run, but this guy is a specialist at rushing the quarterback. Check out what one NFL scout had to say about Montgomery:
With his edge (rush) ability, he can play end in a 4-3, or outside linebacker in a 3-4. He’s so long, too. His wingspan makes him very difficult to engage and block.
Sounds like the prototypical guy to replace Freeney. The Colts would be wise to keep this guy on their radar.
Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
Montgomery's teammate at LSU, Barkevious Mingo, measures 6'5" and 240 pounds. He's another pass-rushing specialist who the Colts should look at for their OLB. He brings speed and power off the edge, and that spin move reminds me of Freeney.
Exceptional length, still adding refinement, but he's well past a mere "athlete" label. Very good pass rusher, able to use speed to get up the field and turn the corner.
Here's what one NFL Scout had to say about Mingo:
Don’t blink or you’ll miss Mingo streaking off the edge and sacking the quarterback.
Just like his teammate, Montgomery, Mingo would be a great replacement for Freeney.
On a side note, how good is this LSU defense going to be next year? I mean, WOW!
Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
Manti Te'o, just up the road from Indy, at Notre Dame. At 6'2" and 255 pounds, Te'o would be an ideal ILB for the Colts 3-4 defense.
The starters for the Colts at ILB next season? Most likely Pat Angerer and Kavell Conner. Who knows how well they will transition to the new 3-4 defense.
Enter Te'o, a super athlete who plays both the run and the pass extremely well. He had 128 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and five sacks last season. Mel Kiper has him as his 10th overall prospect in the 2013 Draft.
Here's what Kiper has to say about him:
Manti Te'o has been an impact player from day one in South Bend and developed as a blitzer last year. He reads the game well, takes great angles and makes tackles all over the field. Had he been in the 2012 draft, I'm pretty confident he would have been taken in the first round. He should work his way into the upper half of Round 1 in 2013.
There may be bigger need positions when the draft rolls around next year, but Te'o is still a player the Colts should keep an eye on.
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Any 3-4 defense worth anything has a BIG space-eating, disruptive NT in the middle. The Colts picked up Josh Chapman with their fifth-round pick in this year's draft. Chapman is coming off ACL surgery, and who knows how he will perform this year.
Star Lotulelei, NT, Utah. This guy is a monster. Even if Chapman does come back from the ACL injury and performs well in 2012, the Colts can not ignore this massive man. At 6'3" and 325 pounds, he's been compared to Haloti Ngata, the great NT for the Ravens.
ESPN Draft Analyst Todd McShay has him going No. 1 overall on his 2013 Mock Draft, coincidentally, to the Colts. He demands a constant double team, and most of the time, that's not enough, as he's outstanding at shedding blocks.
Check out the video above. Lotulelei even drops in to coverage. Amazing.
Robert Woods, WR, USC
Offense? I know I said the Colts should focus on defense in next year's draft, but wide receiver Robert Woods (6'1", 185 pounds), from USC, is a flat-out stud who the Colts may not be able to pass up if he's available to them. The Matt Barkley-Woods combination at USC has been nothing short of dominant, and it's not all Barkley. Woods is an athletic freak, and has superstar potential.
He’s going to play a long time in this league. He has position smarts; he knows the game and is loaded with ability.
Woods had an amazing 111 catches for 1292 yards and 15 TDs last year. Remember that's in 12 games because of USC's postseason ban. With Barkley coming back, he's poised for another huge year.
Listen, Reggie Wayne is not the elite receiver he used to be, and only has a couple years left. The Colts are going to need a number one receiver. Woods is a big-time talent the Colts will be needing at receiver soon.
Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
Another wide receiver, Keenan Allen out of Cal. Allen is bigger than the aforementioned Woods, at 6'3" and 205 pounds. Like Woods, Allen had an impressive year in 2011 with 98 receptions for 1343 yards and six touchdowns.
He’s not a name the average college football fan would know, but he’ll be a name you’ll know in the NFL in no time.
Two things to keep in mind about Allen's production at Cal. One, he's the only real receiving threat Cal has. Defenses key on him, and he still puts up the numbers. Two, taking nothing away from Woods, Allen doesn't have Barkley throwing him the football.
Whoever throws him the football in the NFL is going to have a big, playmaking receiver who will deliver game after game.
I'm telling you, don't be surprised if the Colts take Woods or Allen with their first-round pick. They want to surround Andrew Luck with weapons on offense.