Re-Drafting Indianapolis Colts' 2013 NFL Draft
Many fans were excited last year when the Colts selected Bjoern Werner out of Florida State with their first-round pick, as he was supposed to help solve the team's pass-rushing problems. Instead, Werner had a tough time transitioning to a 3-4 outside linebacker, making little impact on defense.
Last year's draft picks didn't make the same splash that the class before them did, but what if the Colts could go back in time and redo the whole thing?
Let's take a look at what the Colts would do if they could do just that. This re-draft is based off of what these rookies did in their first year in the league along with their potential down the road. Players that were taken before the Colts' pick can't be selected, but others that were picked later can.
Round 1, No. 24 Overall: Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin
Werner wasn't able to get the job done in his rookie season, but fortunately Robert Mathis was able to have a career-best year to give the Colts a lift.
Looking back, the best possible pick for the Colts would have been Travis Frederick out of Wisconsin, who was selected No. 31 overall by the Dallas Cowboys. Samson Satele, who was recently cut by the Colts, was a disappointment yet again last season at center, and when he was hurt the team was forced to move Mike McGlynn to the position.
As a rookie, Frederick had a terrific year with the Cowboys, especially in run blocking. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Frederick was the No. 1 center in the NFL in run blocking this past season, while Satele ranked dead last among centers to play in at least 25 percent of their team's snaps.
Had the Colts had Frederick, the interior of the offensive line probably wouldn't have been nearly as bad as it was.
Round 3, No. 86 Overall: Corey Lemonier, DE/OLB, Auburn
Since the Colts took a center in the first round instead of a pass-rusher, it would have made sense for the Colts to find someone that could get to the quarterback with their next pick in the third round.
Despite playing in limited snaps last season for the San Francisco 49ers, Corey Lemonier made his presence felt, showing his potential as a premier pass-rusher in the near future. In just 284 snaps played last season, Lemonier came up with 20 quarterback hurries, ranking fifth on the 49ers, according to PFF.
At 22 years old, Lemonier has long arms along with a constant motor that makes him a productive pass-rusher when on the field. In a few years, he could be something special, and he would have been a nice fit for the Colts.
Round 4, No. 121 Overall: Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
With all of the injuries in the backfield last season with players like Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard going down, the Colts ended up trading away a first-round pick for Trent Richardson. While that situation may have still happened regardless of who they drafted, it would have been nice to have another option besides Richardson in the backfield.
The Green Bay Packers took both Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin in last year's draft. While Lacy went on to have a terrific rookie season, Franklin's season was cut short by injury. However, when healthy, Franklin showed potential. During his game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Franklin ran for 103 yards and a touchdown, adding another 23 receiving yards on three catches.
Had the Colts had Franklin, they would have had a more versatile weapon out of the backfield that could make plays in both the running and passing game thanks to his explosive speed.
Round 5, No. 139 Overall: Montori Hughes, DT, Tennessee-Martin
I'm going to go ahead and keep this fifth-round pick the same. Looking at the picks that came after the Colts took Montori Hughes, nothing pops out. At the same time, Hughes didn't get a chance to prove himself in his first season.
Hughes only saw the field in a limited capacity last year, but with Aubrayo Franklin gone, the Colts will need someone else to step up in the middle of the defensive line. Hughes has nice size at the position and could help the team's run defense this coming season if the Colts give him a bigger role in the defense and he can stay healthy.
Round 6, No. 192 Overall: Jeff Baca, OG, UCLA
If the Colts could do it over, I highly doubt that they would draft John Boyett here considering the former Oregon safety was arrested shortly after and was then released by the team.
It isn't realistic to expect the Colts to find starting-caliber players with every pick, especially this late, but they could have found a solid depth player on the inside of the offensive line in the sixth round with Jeff Baca.
During his time at UCLA, Baca was an aggressive blocker that was strong in pass protection and had a high football IQ, frequently recognizing the blitz. If the Colts hadn't drafted Hugh Thornton and took Baca instead in the later rounds, there's a chance that he may have had to start after Donald Thomas got hurt, but there's no way to tell if he could have been as effective as Thornton.
Still, Baca would have been a nice depth piece to add this late in the draft, but we'll see how effective he can be in the league over the next few years with the Minnesota Vikings.
Round 7, No. 230 Overall: Aaron Mellette, WR, Elon
After Reggie Wayne tore his ACL, the Colts had to depend on a lot of young players to step up at wide receiver. T.Y. Hilton had another breakout year while players like Da'Rick Rogers and Griff Whalen were asked to produce, especially with Darrius Heyward-Bey's struggles.
Looking back at last year's draft class, one receiver I was curious to see at the next level was Elon's Aaron Mellette. While he didn't come out of a big program, Mellette had nice size at 6'2'' and 217 pounds along with strong hands to make plays in traffic.
He wasn't a speedy threat, but Mellette could have come to training camp and given the Colts a nice potential possession receiver near the bottom of the depth chart.
Round 7, No. 254 Overall: Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford
The Colts weren't going to find a Pro Bowler with the Mr. Irrelevant pick regardless of who they selected, but there were a few prospects that went undrafted that the Colts could have used as depth players last season.
At outside linebacker, Chase Thomas stood out at Stanford as a strong edge defender, coming up with 17.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks as a junior. Along with rushing the passer, Thomas proved to be a capable player in pass coverage, but he lacked the elite physical traits to be drafted.
Despite limited upside, Thomas could have been a solid backup at either outside linebacker spot that could hold his own had he been asked to step up.