The NFL Draft is fast approaching, and while predicting the draft is still nearly impossible, teams are preparing to make their selections.
Free agency has begun to wind down, and teams are getting a good idea of what they still need and prospects they should be looking at. The Indianapolis Colts were one of the busiest teams during this period. Still, there are a few areas where they could be stronger, and there are some very talented prospects in this year's draft.
Here's a full seven-round mock draft for the Colts, focusing on the team's bigger needs.
(Note: This mock draft is ignoring potential trades in the draft, since it is extremely difficult to accurately predict where they would move and who they would trade with)
The Colts ranked 21st in pass defense last season. For a team that made the playoffs last season, this number has to improve, especially in the pass-heavy age of the NFL.
Greg Toler was brought in to help strengthen the cornerback position. With him playing opposite Vontae Davis, the secondary looks better. However, a third corner would be an even bigger boost and make this one of the more talented secondaries in the league.
One of the top corners in this year's draft is Xavier Rhodes. He was an excellent corner in press coverage with the Seminoles, frustrating receivers with his ability to jam and contain them. He's bigger than most corners at 6'1'' and 210 pounds, and he uses that size to his advantage, especially against more physical receivers.
A strong corner like Rhodes would bring some much needed aggressiveness to a defense that was considered soft by a lot of fans. The Colts would welcome a player of his ability, and he would be able to make an immediate impact on this team.
Barrett Jones came into the National Championship as one of the most appealing offensive linemen in this year's draft.
Unfortunately, a Lisfranc injury changed that.
The injury to Jones has had him in a boot on his left foot for a while now, even at Alabama's pro day. The injury concern has had him drop significantly down draft boards, but that could be a good thing for the Colts in round three.
The Colts' o-line was in shambles last season. Although they were able to bring in Gosder Cherilus and Donald Thomas, they are still in need of an interior lineman at guard or center.
When healthy, Jones is a very versatile linemen, playing all over the offensive line during his career at Alabama. He thrives in particular in the interior of the line, and did a great job at center last year. He did a very good job in both the passing and running game, using his size to contain opponents.
If Jones drops to the Colts, he would become a big piece to this offensive line. They need more help for the interior of the offensive line to get the running game going and keeping Andrew Luck upright. Although the injury to his foot might be a concern, he would certainly be worth a third-round pick.
The outside linebacker position is one of the areas where the Colts might have a false sense of security.
They brought in Erik Walden from the Green Bay Packers, but he struggled quite a bit last season and was quite inconsistent. Robert Mathis made the switch the outside linebacker last season, but he is beginning to slow down considerably.
A potential long-term option at the position is Sio Moore. He may only be 6'1'' and 245 pounds, but he certainly doesn't play like a smaller guy. In his senior year at Connecticut, he finished with 72 tackles and 7.5 sacks while being selected to the All-Big East First-Team.
Moore makes up for his lack of size and speed with great intelligence on the field. He does a great job sticking with his assignment, whether it's dropping back into coverage or filling up a certain gap of the line. For an outside linebacker, he actually did a solid job in coverage, particularly within five yards.
The lack of jaw-dropping physical talent makes Moore a mid-round prospect. However, his on-field awareness will make him a great addition to any team.
It's a miracle that D.J. Hayden is even alive right now, let alone preparing for the draft.
During a practice in November, Hayden tore his inferior vena cava, which is the largest vein in the body. The injury should have killed him, but his training staff did an excellent job recognizing the injury and quickly reacted, likely saving his life.
While many are concerned about the injury, Bleacher Report's Dave Siebert explains that Hayden should make a full recovery. He seems to be doing better, especially after running an impressive 4.40 seconds in the 40-yard dash (h/t CBSSports.com).
Hayden is a solid corner on the inside and out. He uses his quickness to keep up with faster receivers, able to break up passes. His impressive speed also makes him an appealing option in blitz packages out of the secondary.
Extra depth in the secondary never hurts, and the Colts should take a long look at Hayden. Before the injury, he was a big name as a potential pro prospect. With a full recovery, he can potentially get back to that level.
The seventh round is a place the Colts can try to go for a home run at a skill position. With the running game ranking 22nd last year, trying to find an impact player in the backfield is worth a shot late in the draft.
Miguel Maysonet is probably the best running back you have never heard of. He's only listed at 5'9'' and 209 pounds, so size isn't the area where he succeeds. In fact, he doesn't have breakaway speed either.
What he does have is excellent vision and legs that are always churning.
While most running backs hesitate in the backfield and look for a cutback lane, Maysonet almost always finds the first hole and heads right toward it. That lack of hesitation at the line of scrimmage gives him a lot of momentum, and he uses that to stay upright and fight for extra yards. He may not breakout on a lot of big plays, but he will consistently get four to five yards per carry.
Alfred Morris was a perfect example of a home run in the later rounds at the running back position. If the Colts are looking for a game-changer late in the draft, Maysonet should be their guy.
Mr. Irrelevant is a tough pick to guess on, but MarQueis Gray would be a good one to go for.
Gray was a versatile player in his final year with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. He was a dual-threat quarterback, but also played some wide receiver. At Minnesota's pro day, Gray worked out as a quarterback, receiver and tight end.
While it is uncertain where Gray would play in the NFL, the Colts could use him as a specialist player in certain packages. If Pep Hamilton brings a couple of plays involving the read-option or wildcat, Gray could be an ideal candidate to take some snaps from that.
Gray isn't the best passer, but developing and learning the game under both Andrew Luck and Matt Hasselbeck would help him out immensely.
Giving Gray the chance to play in the NFL wouldn't hurt the team, so it's certainly worth a shot to pick up such a multi-talented player.