2011 NFL Draft Grades: Full Report Card for Indianapolis Colts Draft Picks

Mihir Bhagat@mihirbhagatSenior Analyst IIIMay 1, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Grades: Full Report Card for Indianapolis Colts Draft Picks

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    MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07:  Head Coach Jim Caldwell (L) of the Indianapolis Colts stands on the field during warm ups with President of the Indianapolis Colts Bill Polian prior to Super Bowl XLIV against the New Orleans Saints on February 7, 2010 at
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The 2011 NFL has come and gone, and we witnessed several intriguing picks, interesting trades and general bold moves be made. 

    With that said, there's a ton to process so far. How do we evaluate the draft picks of each team? Did they fill their needs and did they so with good value?

    Well, one thing's for sure. The Indianapolis Colts had a fantastic draft, and here's my full report card for all their picks. 

1st Round (No. 22 Overall): Boston College OT Anthony Costanzo

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    Anthony Costanzo may not have the highest ceiling out there, but the Colts don't necessarily need him to.

    Instead, they simply need a guy who they can plug in on day one and have protect Peyton Manning's blindside for the rest of his career. 

    With a high football IQ, proper technique and a burning desire to win and be the best, that's exactly what Costanzo brings to the table.

    Oh yeah, and did I forget to say that he was a huge steal to grab at 22? 

    Draft Grade: A

2nd Round (No. 49 Overall): Villanova OT Ben Ijalana

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    Well, the Colts draft plans were clear from the get go: lengthen Peyton Manning's career by providing him with the best protection possible. Great strategy if you think about it. I mean, is there really a guy who can replace Manning at the position? 

    While he may need some time to develop and prepare himself for the next level, the Colts can afford to have him sit for a year and learn the craft on the sidelines. 

    Note, the Colts moved up four spots and gave up a fifth rounder in the process to take Ijlana. Tack on the fact that general manager Bill Polian took a player from a small scale school, which he rarely does, just goes to show how much he likes this guy.

    Draft Grade: B+

3rd Round (No. 94 Overall): LSU DT Drake Nevis

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    BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 28:  Quarterback Ryan Mallett #15 of the Arkansa Razorbacks is sacked by Drake Nevis #92 of the Louisiana State University Tigers at Tiger Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty I
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    In my opinion, this is yet another steal for such a tremendous value.

    Nevis is an explosive three-technique lineman who's got a great first step off the ball and is tough to block one-on-one.

    The Colts have been meaning to add to their defensive line especially after registering just 30 sacks last year and ranking 25th in rushing yards allowed.

    Nevis should help fix both of those issue.

    Draft Grade: B+ 

4th Round (No. 119 Overall): Syracuse RB Delone Carter

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    CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 30:  Delone Carter #3 of the Syracuse Orange runs with the ball during the Big East Conference game against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Nippert Stadium on October 30, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    You can never have too many running backs especially when you rank 29th in rushing yards. That's why this pick makes a lot of sense and I'm glad they made it.

    Carter is a power back who will punish defenders and add another dimension to the Colts offense. He's a warrior who's constantly churning his legs for extra yards, which makes him a great option in short yardage and goal-line situations.

    Draft Grade: A 

6th Round (No. 188 Overall): Michigan State CB Chris Rucker

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    ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 01:  Chris Rucker #16 of the Michigan State Spartans warms up during the Capitol One Bowl against the Alabama Crimson Tide at the Florida Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Chris Rucker fits the mold of what the Colts like out of their defensive backs: physical guys who can play bump and run. Moreover, his versatility allows you to shift him around at either corner or free safety.

    The Colts needed help in the secondary, and while they may have waited a bit long, it's better late than never. And hey, in the sixth round, this is a good pick and you can't argue much. 

    The only real knock on this prospect are his off-the-field issues, but the Colts have had some good success with troubled players, and I think Rucker is worth the risk here.

    Draft Grade: B+