2011 NFL Draft: Indianapolis Colts Are on the Clock with the 22nd Pick

Alex Barrett@Alex_BarrettContributor IApril 13, 2011

Its odd seeing Peyton Manning in Tom Brady colors ...
Its odd seeing Peyton Manning in Tom Brady colors ...Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Indianapolis Colts

2010 Record: 10-6 (.625)

Team Needs: DL, OL, CB, S

Not much of a surprise to see mainly defensive needs in Indy, as the Colts return one of the most powerful offenses in NFL history.

Manning has proven time and again that it doesn't matter who runs out on the field for his offensive unit because he would be able to find a mosquito for a touchdown in triple-coverage.

The Colts rely on Manning's unique play-calling to upset team defenses, and other teams use the Colts' defense to upset Manning. Injuries and latent play have plagued the Colts, whom can't seem to catch a break in the secondary even with great draft picks.

Bob Sanders was a tremendous talent on the field for Indianapolis, but played in only 64 games out of 112 contests, including only two full seasons. Sanders signed a one-year deal with the Chargers in the offseason to try for a new start and to put his injuries behind him.

Late in the first round, the Colts really need to replace that speed and tenacity they miss from losing Sanders. Indy has a very quick defense, but not a very strong or fundamental defense, they would do well with a playmaker in the secondary that can spread the field as well as lay some hits; but durability and fundamentals are the big concerns.

With a draft class that is relatively light in safties, there is some cornerback talent to be had later in the round, mainly through Colorado CB Jimmy Smith.

Smith is being compared to an Antonio Cromartie-type of player, but after posting slower times at the draft combine, he may fit well with the speedy Indy defense, being able to line up his holes and hits a little better with all the other players in the secondary ball-hawking.

A.J. Green is considered one of the top picks in this year's draft, and Smith flat-out shut him down when Colorado played Georgia this past season. Not a bad guy to have looming around waiting for QB mistakes in your defensive lineup.

The dark horse for the Colts, in my mind, is Florida center Mike Pouncey. Pouncey is a bit further up the board, and probably won't make it to the Colts at 22, but eventually Indianapolis will need someone to replace the aging Jeff Saturday, one of the consistent stalwarts of the Colt offense.

A player like Pouncey, if anywhere near as good as his brother has been, could develop into a great player with an offense like the Colts and a player like Saturday to study under and learn from.

Speaking of players to learn from, don't be surprised if the Colts take a QB in some form on draft day; Peyton will eventually have to groom his replacement and this draft is deep with passing talent.

Notable 22 picks in NFL history:

  • WR Percy Harvin, 2009
  • RB Felix Jones, 2008
  • QB Brady Quinn, 2007
  • QB Rex Grossman, 2003
  • CB Will Allen, 2001