Indianapolis Colts 2013 Mock Draft: Predictions After First Week of Free Agency
The Indianapolis Colts spread their money around this week and upgraded talent at their weakest positions. The Colts are not done with free agency yet, but the first week gives us a glimpse of their plans for the April NFL draft.
Colts' GM Ryan Grigson spent midlevel money in all four defensive position groups and on the offensive line. Colts owner Jim Irsay is hinting on his Twitter feed at a big signing at wide receiver, but so far the Colts haven't spent any money at the skill positions.
The Colts' needs were so big on defense and on the offensive line that there was very little speculation that they would do much with the skill positions beyond adding depth. This is still the case.
In the ultimate example of not putting all of his eggs in one basket, it appears that Grigson is going for smaller talent upgrades but covering all of the Colts' needs. Expect the Colts' draft picks to reflect the same strategy.
Right now the Colts have draft choices in the first, third, fourth and sixth rounds. They will also receive a couple of supplemental picks when the NFL owners meet this week.
In this mock draft the Colts follow the same plan as in free agency and shoot for upgrades at all of their needs, with each round's choice depending on the best available player that fits one of those needs.
First Round: Desmond Trufant, CB
The Colts' upgrade at cornerback is Greg Toler. Toler may turn out to be a steal if he can stay healthy and play as consistently as he did in 2010.
Given the importance of cornerback upgrades for Chuck Pagano's defense, the Colts will take Desmond Trufant in the first round.
Trufant is big enough to play press coverage and has the athleticism to cover downfield. He posted some impressive numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine.
If Trufant is not available the Colts may trade down and take Margus Hunt (6'8", 277 lbs.) in the second round. Hunt is an absolute freak athletically and has only played football for three years. He is the prototype 5-technique the Colts need to set the edge of their defense.
Hunt holds the NCAA record for blocked field goals with 10, but even bigger things are expected of him as he learns the game and adds size.
Third Round: Brian Schwenke, C
The only "needs" position the Colts have not specifically addressed thus far in free agency is at center.
Brian Schwenke was a bit under the radar at the end of the college season, but impressive performances at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine raised his stock.
Centers do not traditionally go high in the draft, and a couple of other centers with bigger reputations are still listed ahead of him in various draft rankings, but if he is still available in the third round the Colts will snap him up.
Another third-round prospect is Corey Lemonier (6'4", 255 lbs.) who played defensive end at Auburn. He demonstrated his athleticism at the Scouting Combine and Auburn's Pro Day and is now projected as a rush linebacker in the 3-4.
The Colts passed on the two big free-agent signings at this position, and Lemonier has the natural athleticism to develop into an NFL starter.
Fourth Round: Chris Harper, WR
The Colts had a great draft last year selecting targets for Andrew Luck. By the fourth round of the draft the Colts will be in full-on "best available" mode, and Chris Harper is the big, physical receiver the Colts are missing in the stable.
Harper's muscular frame enables him to fight off defenders and his 36-inch vertical leap gets him over the top of everyone else. He slipped a bit because his 40 times were in the 4.5 range, but he has great hands and is one of those receivers who is open even when he has a man on him.
Offensive tackle is a position that needs depth after the Colts signed one free-agent tackle and return 2011 first-round pick Anthony Castonzo. If the Colts draft a tackle in the fourth round it will be somebody with versatility, and David Quessenberry (6'5", 302 lbs.) is a potential sleeper.
Quessenberry posted some nice numbers at the Scouting Combine and impressed at the Senior Bowl with his skills and versatility to jump from guard to tackle and play both sides of center. Such a fourth-round multi-tool player could be a good investment for the Colts.
Sixth Round: Kyle Juszczyk, FB
The Colts need a bruiser fullback to lead-block, pick up blitzes and catch the occasional pass out in the flat. Kyle Juszczyk is adept at all three skills and earned praise at the Senior Bowl for his blocking and hands.
In addition to the skill set and good size the man's got some sick wits about him. With a Stanford QB and a Harvard FB the Colts could have the highest IQ backfield in the league.
Another big body that could be available in the sixth round is nose tackle Josh Boyd (6'3", 310 lbs.). This big 'un played a 3-4 in college and was an impressive athlete among the nose tackles at the combine.