Indianapolis Colts in Position to Pick Best Available Player in NFL Draft
The Indianapolis Colts will head into the NFL Draft not looking for a particular position, but the best possible player.
Ryan Grigson and Jim Irsay were certainly busy in the offseason. They went in with the mentality of picking up players that could fill key holes in the depth chart. They certainly had the money for it, as they had an estimated $45 million in cap space before free agency (h/t Mike Chappell of Indy Star).
The Colts were able to bring in a lot of guys. Some of the contracts were a bit expensive, but that's to be expected during free agency. However, the fact they were able to fill most of their holes with free agents was a good sign.
The offensive line situation may not be fully resolved, but bringing in Gosder Cherilus and Donald Thomas. Cherilus did a great job with the Detroit Lions the past few seasons and will be able to come in and play opposite of Anthony Castonzo. Thomas was a backup guard for the New England Patriots, but received a lot of playing time in 2012, playing in all 16 games and starting seven of them.
At wide receiver, the team was able to bring in Darrius Heyward-Bey. His deal is only for one season, but it gave them an immediate replacement at the No. 2 receiver spot after the departure of Donnie Avery.
On the defensive side of the ball, it seems like they brought in players at every position. They brought in Aubrayo Franklin and Ricky Jean-Francois on the defensive line, Erik Walden at outside linebacker, LaRon Landry at safety and Greg Toler at cornerback.
Who was your favorite addition in free agency?
With all of the pickups in free agency, the draft will be quite interesting. They will be able to look at the bigger picture, and pick up top talent rather than reaching for a prospect at a certain position.
That being said, there are still some positions that need to be strengthened. The offensive guard position was a wreck last year, and the addition of Thomas won't entirely fix that. They could definitely use another player in the secondary, especially in today's pass-heavy league. A pass-rusher would be nice as well, as the team only sacked opposing quarterbacks 32 times.
With the 24th pick, there likely won't be a solid offensive guard late in the first round. Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper are both big prospects, but they will likely both be gone before pick No. 20.
In the secondary, there are a couple of guys that could be there.
Xavier Rhodes, the corner from Florida State, would be an awesome fit for this team. He is a great physical corner that excels in press coverage. Bringing him in with Vontae Davis and Greg Toler would give AFC South quarterbacks nightmares.
Jonathan Cyprien has skyrocketed up draft boards at safety. He may come from a small school in FIU, but he is a big hitter that could be the first impact safety for the Colts since the days of Bob Sanders. The team may have added Landry, but Cyprien could be the guy for the future.
Pass-rush is a big concern, and both Datone Jones and Alex Okafor could fill in that hole. Jones is a versatile defensive end that can both stop the run and get to the passer with his big frame and quick hands. Okafor is quick off the snap and uses his length to get around offensive linemen. Either would be a good pickup.
Even at wide receiver, the Colts have options. Both Keenan Allen and DeAndre Hopkins could be available. Allen is the better route-runner, while Hopkins is a more physical prospect. Regardless, both are stud prospects at the position.
Thanks to free agency, the Colts got a lot of help. Once the draft weekend comes around, the Colts will be focusing on the best available players rather than filling obvious needs.
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