Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios for Indianapolis Colts' Top 3 Picks
The Indianapolis Colts don't have a ton of picks in the 2014 NFL draft, and there are a few best- and worst-case scenarios for their top three picks that could have a big impact on the future of the franchise.
As most Colts fans know by now, the team will not have a first-round pick after trading it away to the Cleveland Browns for Trent Richardson. The trade has been widely criticized after Richardson failed to rush for more than 3.0 yards per carry, but it's too late to look back for the Colts.
Now, the Colts will be focusing on adding talent through the draft, so let's take a look at the best- and worst-case scenarios for their first three selections.
Best-Case Pick No. 59
With Antoine Bethea now with the San Francisco 49ers, one of the biggest remaining holes on either side of the ball for the Colts is at safety. Fortunately for them, there are a handful of talented safeties that could come in and become potential starters.
The only problem is that the starting-caliber safeties may be gone before the Colts pick for the first time in the second round with the No. 59 overall pick.
If the Colts are lucky, a player like Deone Bucannon or Jimmie Ward will be there for them to take and potentially start at strong safety in 2014. The pick would force LaRon Landry to likely move to free safety, but given the talent of both Bucannon and Ward, it would probably be worth it.
Worst-Case Pick No. 59
Before the Colts signed Hakeem Nicks, I was a fan of them potentially drafting a wide receiver early in the draft. Now, the Colts shouldn't be thinking about adding another receiver unless it's a hidden gem on the third day of the draft.
However, the Colts may feel like they need another receiver that can instantly start. Reggie Wayne is coming off a torn ACL and won't play forever, and the Colts may want another reliable option to go along with T.Y. Hilton and Nicks.
That would be a mistake. The Colts already have a couple of talented receivers at the bottom of the depth chart in Da'Rick Rogers and LaVon Brazill that have proved that they're capable of making big plays, although they're both still developing.
This is one of the deepest drafts at receiver in a while, and while the Colts may be tempted to draft a guy like Martavis Bryant or Paul Richardson in the second round, they would be giving up the chance to find another player at a position where there is a more immediate need.
Best-Case Pick No. 90
The return of Donald Thomas in 2014 will help the interior of the offensive line considerably for the Colts, but the team still badly needs another dominant presence in the trenches to open up the run game and keep Andrew Luck on his feet.
With their third-round pick, the Colts should be hoping that Mississippi State offensive guard Gabe Jackson falls to them.
Jackson is a massive presence on the offensive line, coming in at around 6'3'' and 336 pounds. Along with his size, Jackson has long arms and solid technique to keep attached to opposing defenders. He doesn't have the burst and aggressiveness off the snap that some prospects have, but during his four years as a starter, Jackson has proved that he can open up lanes.
By adding a player like Jackson, the Colts could have another reliable option on the offensive line, and considering how often Luck has been knocked around his first two seasons, this would be a great pick in the third round.
Worst-Case Pick No. 90
Given what Richardson did last season, the Colts could be tempted to draft another running back early. After all, Ahmad Bradshaw is returning on a one-year deal and was unable to stay healthy in 2013 while Vick Ballard is coming back from an ACL tear.
While a third-round running back sounds exciting, the Colts might want to hold off on taking one so early.
The prospects that could be available here are definitely tempting, with names like Lache Seastrunk and Marion Grice potentially still on the board. But the shelf life of running backs is so short, and teams have proved that they can find valuable backs later in the draft. The St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals did just that last year, finding Zac Stacy and Andre Ellington on the third day of the draft.
If the Colts do want to draft a running back, they should wait until the sixth or seventh round and look somewhere else in the third.
Best-Case Pick No. 166
Along with not having a first-round pick, the Colts also won't have a selection in the fourth after trading for a fifth-round pick in last year's draft, taking Montori Hughes.
There are a number of directions the Colts could go in the fifth round this year, and it's incredibly hard to predict who they'll take at this point. I personally like the idea of trying to find a hidden gem that can rush the passer. Robert Mathis was terrific last year, but the team can't depend on just one play to create pressure on the opposing quarterback.
Depending on how the rest of the draft goes, there are a few names that could still be here. The biggest is obviously Missouri's Michael Sam, who recently came out and could be potentially the first openly gay NFL athlete.
Sam's personal life has nothing to do with how he plays football, and he can play. He has good arm length and size to potentially make the switch to a 3-4 outside linebacker along with the speed off of the snap and constant motor to get to the passer.
Sam isn't the only pass-rusher that will be available here, and the Colts will have a number to choose from, but taking someone like Sam here could give the team some more depth on defense and potentially another option to get to the quarterback.
Worst-Case Pick No. 166
It's really hard to come up with a worst-case scenario this late in the draft. Most picks this late will either be bench players or get cut during training camp and no one would be upset with either scenario happening.
However, the Colts could still make a really bad pick that ends up getting cut before the season begins. Just look at what happened to John Boyett last year. Boyett was a third-day draft pick that was arrested in September and later cut after telling police, "You can't arrest me, I'm a Colts player."
I'd rather not create a scenario like that about a prospect.
Instead, let's just say that the worst-case scenario is that the Colts take a player somewhere where there's enough depth and not a huge need for another backup.
One position would be at tight end, where the Colts already have Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen and three current backups on the depth chart. There are some talented tight ends in this draft, but there's no reason for the Colts to bring in another one, even if he's the top player left on the board.