2011 NFL Mock Draft: Predicting All Seven Rounds for the Indianapolis Colts
For the first time in the Peyton Manning era, some serious personal decisions await the Colts in the offseason.
The suddenly look vulnerable, coming off a 10-6 season and losing in the first round of the playoffs.
Colts president Bill Polian has already said the team will make some moves in free agency, an unexpected decision from a team that rarely goes after big name free agents.
Some big moves have already been made: The team released oft-injured safety Bob Sanders, and two assistant coaches have already been fired.
Clearly, the Colts are not standing pat, looking to surround Manning with talent as he enters the final years of his playing career.
Previous Colts Drafts
One thing the Colts have always done well is draft. They often find hidden gems in later rounds, and many notable Colts players during the Manning era were actually undrafted.
Examples include Antoine Bethea and Robert Mathis, sixth and fifth round choices respectively, and Jeff Saturday and Gary Brackett, both of whom were signed as free agents by the Colts after going undrafted.
As Bill Polian put it: "You have to go back to basics... (Look for) who fits our scheme and where we're going to get him." (Indianapolis Star)
But the Colts have missed on several of their recent first round picks, something you can't repeatedly do in the NFL.
With their string of 12 consecutive playoff appearances almost coming to an end last season, the Colts certainly can't have another first round miss.
First Round Selection: Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi
After the Colts' Super Bowl loss two years ago, Polian criticized the play of the offensive line.
Two years later, the team will finally address that shortcoming.
Starting LT Charlies Johnson is a free agent, and it's uncertain whether he will be brought back. Even if he is brought back, he is not the franchise LT needed to protect Manning's blind side.
Carimi can be that player. At 6'7" 330, he has the size and strength to hold off large defensive lineman, but also has the quick feet needed to stop quicker pass rushers from running around him.
Carimi was also a four year starter for the Badgers. With his high intelligence and great instincts, he should instantly be able to step into the Colts starting lineup.
Second Round Selection: Alabama OG James Carpenter
The interior of the Colts offensive also needs work, so taking another lineman with one of their top picks is not out of the question.
Starting RG Kyle Devan was in the AFL developmental league before joining the Colts, and while he is a smart, hard-working player, the talent is not there.
Similarily, LG Mike Pollack was a second round draft choice that has not lived up to expectations.
Carpenter was an All-American at community college before transferring to Alabama, where he blocked for Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram.
He has above average size (6'5", 300 lbs.) for a guard and moves very well for a player his size. He has the speed and athleticism to get to the second level and open lanes in the run game.
Carpenter has the talent to instantly compete for a starting job, which is more than enough to ask for in a second round selection.
Third Round Selection: Iowa S Tyler Sash
Bob Sanders is already gone, and Melvin Bullet is a free agent.
After a number of injuries in the secondary last season, the Colts would be well-served to add some depth at the position.
Sash would be a great fit in the Colts Tampa Two defensive scheme because of his high intelligence and ability to diagnose plays.
He plays very well in zone coverage and plays excellent against the deep ball while still having enough makeup speed to make plays in the run game.
Fourth Round Selection: Kentucky RB Derrick Locke
Joe Addai is a free agent, and even though he has only two years experience, I think it's time to officialy call Donald Brown a bust (no Colts fan will tell you differently).
The Colts work best when they can give their number one back a break; their Super Bowl team of 2006 featured a RB duo of Addai and veteran Dominic Rhodes.
While Locke is probably too small to be a feature back in the NFL, he would work great as a third down or change of pace back.
He is one of the fastest players in the draft, with sub 4.4 speed. He is also an excellent receiver out of the backfield.
However, he still needs work in pass blocking, which is crucial in the Colts system.
If the Colts believe he can shore up that aspect of his game, he would be a perfect fit to play alongside Manning.
Fifth Round Selection: Cincinnati WR Armon Binns
The Colts receiving position was decimated by injuries last season, so again the Colts would be well-suited to add some depth at the position.
Binns a is a tall, possession receiver that is a great red zone threat; he had 10 and 11 touchdown catches his last two seasons.
His 4.6 speed and his lack of ability to get separation have some scouts worries, but drafting Binns would give Manning the big, possession receiver he has never had.
Sixth Round Selection: Oregon OT Bo Thran
The theme of the Colts selecting offensive lineman continues with this pick.
Thran needs to bulk up a little to play in the NFL (he is only 280 lbs.), but he played on an Oregon offense that put up some jaw-dropping numbers the past two seasons.
Thorn would add more depth to a weak area on the Colts roster.
Seventh Round Selection: Arkansas CB Ramon Broadway
Seventh round selections are never asked to do much, but Broadway has the potential to be a key contributor on special teams.
Broadway is a solid form tackler whose 4.3 speed could allow him to be a returner as well.
He is an underrated player who would be very good value in the seventh round, possibly even earning playing time as a rookie.