Colts Mock Draft: Fresh 7 Round Predictions Post Week 1 of Free Agency
Free agency will continue, but the crazy period that is the first week is now complete. The Indianapolis Colts, like so many others, are not yet done, but we can see a final roster beginning to take shape.
With a few more needs filled from free agency, the Colts now can look to the draft with the freedom to go in almost any direction. This "best player available" strategy is well-loved by many, and would help the Colts take advantage of this deep draft. Of course there are still positions with higher priority, but the team doesn't need to limit themselves to one position, and we shouldn't either.
So how do our mock drafts change now that the final picture is becoming clearer for Indianapolis?
2nd Round, 59th Overall: CB Pierre Desir, Lindenwood
There are any number of directions the Colts could go with this pick. Even with their free-agent signings, the team still needs starters at center and safety, and there are multiple positions that could use an infusion of talent for depth and long-term help.
Looking at the talent projected to be in the top few rounds, one pick that seems to have "Grigson" stamped on the back would be Pierre Desir.
Reminiscent of the T.Y. Hilton pick in 2012, Desir is a small-school prospect loaded with physical talent. There are a few technical issues he could clean up, but with Chuck Pagano's specialty being defensive backs, don't think Grigson won't be tempted to bring in Desir. He has the desired build and length to play off and press-man, which would be perfect in the Colts' system.
Rob Rang of CBS Sports compares Desir to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, noting his exceptional size, athleticism and ball skills. Like Rodgers-Cromartie, Desir could stand to play more physically against the run, but as a cover corner, all of the tools are there.
With the potential to be a long-term starter for Indianapolis and insurance behind CBs Greg Toler and Vontae Davis in 2014, Desir could be the gem that Grigson is looking for.
3rd Round, 90th Overall: WR Cody Latimer, Indiana
The 2014 draft is incredibly deep at wide receiver. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock called it the "best wide receiver draft [he's] seen in years."
Considering the Colts' lack of long-term starting talent at wide receiver, it would be quite the oversight if the team passed on getting that potential talent in this draft. Fortunately, they may still be able to get that kind of talent even into the third round.
Cody Latimer isn't well-known due to playing on the rarely viewed Indiana team for three years, but he has all the talent to be a starting possession receiver in the NFL. Latimer runs quick, precise routes to get consistent separation, has strong hands and is physical, all the abilities you want in a starting receiver. He doesn't quite have the top-end explosiveness needed to be a deep threat, but he'll be a real weapon in the short and intermediate areas.
He could be the perfect replacement for Reggie Wayne, and the signing of Hakeem Nicks would allow him to learn from the two veterans before being immediately thrust into the starting lineup.
5th Round, 154th Overall: OG Jon Halapio, Florida
Currently, the Colts' guard depth is Lance Louis, Zach Allen and restricted free agent Joe Reitz (if he signs his tender). Louis started 28 games for the Chicago Bears from 2010-2012, but didn't play at all in 2013. Allen's only experience is on the practice squad. The team needs some real depth for the future.
Jon Halapio could be that depth. He has the intangibles as a team captain at Florida in 2012 and 2013 and the experience with 43 career starts. Halapio is a powerful run-blocker with a strong initial punch and grip to maintain his block. In a pure power-run scheme, Halapio could be devastating.
The one downside to Halapio is that he isn't the most agile of guards. If the Colts move to more zone concepts, Halapio's talents would be largely wasted. He has been asked to pull a decent amount at Florida, but it's not his strength.
6th Round, 187th Overall: OLB Prince Shembo, Notre Dame
The Colts pass rush is lacking outside of Robert Mathis, and the Colts need to keep bringing in potential edge defenders until they get one they can trust. Right now, they don't have one other than Mathis, who is aging and will need a replacement eventually.
Shembo isn't an ideal pass-rushing prospect, but he's extremely high-motor and should be able to contribute on special teams right away. He had just 5.5 sacks in 2013, including three in Notre Dame's win over Arizona State. Shembo likely wouldn't be a replacement for Mathis, but would compete for the strong-side OLB spot and allow Bjoern Werner to focus on pass-rushing.
The former Fighting Irish was investigated for sexual assault back in 2010, but was never charged.
7th Round, 209th Overall: FS Jemea Thomas, Georgia Tech
While watching late-round defensive back prospects this weekend, I was pleasantly surprised by Jemea Thomas, the former Georgia Tech defensive back. Thomas played safety in 2012, but was spread all over the field in a "rover" role in 2013.
What sticks out immediately about Thomas is his aggressive, attacking play. He's small at 5'10", 192 pounds, but his playing style is one of the most physical of any of the safeties in this year's draft. He attacks the line of scrimmage on run plays, sheds blockers and isn't afraid of throwing his entire body into a tackle. With his physical play, he even played press coverage from the slot at times for Georgia Tech.
Thomas also has shown flashes of exceptional instincts as a safety, although more consistency is needed there. But he does read and react well, and his ability to play multiple positions in the defensive backfield is a valuable one.
He's contributed as a returner and special teamer as well, and seems to be a lock as a depth player and special teamer at worst.