Playing arm-chair GM for a Super Bowl team is a bit more challenging than getting on a soapbox and laying out a strategy on how to fix perennial losers like Detroit or Cleveland.
The Colts have the luxury of returning the Peyton Manning-led aerial attack featuring the emerging Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie.
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne and tight end Dallas Clark are among the best at their positions.
Jeff Saturday leads a once-dominant but suddenly vulnerable offensive line. Joseph Addai and Donald Brown would be more productive if Indianapolis focused more on the run game. But that’s the tradeoff when Manning is lining up under center.
Resigning Gary Brackett was critical but the loss of Marlin Jackson makes the cornerback position one of the primary weaknesses the father and son team of Bill and Chris Polian will focus on in the draft.
That and improving their interior defensive line, along with replenishing a few spots on the offensive line, will be among the Colts top priorities. Even with Brackett back on board, they might look to add some speed and explosiveness to the linebacking corps.
If the light goes on for Fili Moala, this season maybe the defensive line will be in better shape, but that’s a risk Polian might not want to take by passing up a bigger defensive tackle in the third or fourth round.
Often ignored outside of serious Colts fans and media circles is the atrocious return game, which hasn’t been exactly thoroughbred or stallion-like the past two seasons. In fact, the Colts ranked among the league’s worst in both kick and punt return yards per kick.
While cornerback is a major need, you’d think the other half of the secondary would be solidified with Pro Bowl-caliber players Bob Sanders and Antoine Bethea at strong and free safety, respectively. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Sanders is a personal favorite but despite unquestionable toughness, his durability has been frustrating for Colts fans. He’s missed more games than he’s played thus far in his injury-riddled career since Indianapolis drafted him in 2004.
If, and it’s a big if, he completely recovers from past injuries (primarily last year’s biceps tear) and avoids the IR, Sanders will make up one half of the best safety tandem in the league.
Two-time Pro Bowl free safety and current restricted free agent, Antoine Bethea, should remain in Indianapolis after they placed a first-round tender on the former sixth-round pick out of Howard University. That’s good news for Colts fans as they should expect to see both players on the field to open the 2010 season.