NFL Draft 2011: Indianapolis Colts Grades, Reactions and Speculation
Well, the draft is over and the lockout is back on, but there is reason for optimism among most NFL teams because of this draft.
The Indianapolis Colts are a team that has much reason for optimism after the haul they brought in this weekend.
The Colts upgraded the offensive line in a huge way by grabbing Anthony Castonzo in the first round and Ben Ijalana in the second. They then found a gem of a defensive tackle in the third round in Drake Nevis from LSU. They also added a running back in Delone Carter from Syracuse and added a cornerback in Chris L. Rucker from Michigan State.
The two missed acquisitions that we thought they could target was a wide receiver and a backup quarterback for Peyton Manning.
We thought that receiver might be an area of concern because of injuries to guys currently on the roster and aging superstars. However, the Colts’ best available mentality didn’t see those areas as the best value when they were on the clock.
As far as quarterback goes, it is the same story. Peyton Manning is getting older and some thought this would be the year to upgrade his backup and hopefully groom that person to be his heir. Looks like we will have to wait until next year for that.
If there were questions about whether the Colts were feeling pressure to upgrade the offensive line heading into this draft, those questions were all answered when the they took Ben Ijalana with their second round pick after picking up Anthony Castonzo in the first round.
Ijalana is an offensive tackle that played his college ball at Villanova.
Many thought that Ijalana could have been a high first rounder if he played at a major university but instead he became the first FCS player off the board when he was picked by the Colts in the second round.
ESPN’s draft tracker thinks that Ijalana is a great pick because he can play both guard and tackle.
“As the Colts quietly retool their offensive line, Ijalana is a good pick because he can play inside or outside. With LT Anthony Castonzo being picked in the first round, the Colts could move Charlie Johnson inside, although he could be a free agent and keep in mind that RT Ryan Diem has a lot of age and lacks consistency. OG was a revolving door in 2010 and Mike Pollak never developed and they could just not find any consistency. This is a unit that could have two new starters in 2011.”
I think Ijalana and Castonzo together are the start of an outstanding offensive line.
The No. 1 need for the Colts heading into this draft was offensive line especially tackle. In fact the last time the Colts took and offensive tackle in the first round, the year was 1997 and that guy was Tarik Glenn.
This year the biggest need for the Colts matched up with the best available prospect mentality that Indy’s front office has set up while drafting. The result was the Colts taking offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo from Boston College.
Castonzo was among the highest rated offensive tackles in this draft and he was a guy that the Colts had rated extremely high.
According to ESPN’s draft tracker, Castonzo is an outstanding fit.
“Offensive tackle may have been the No. 1 need and he is an excellent fit as an intelligent player in a very sophisticated offense. Even though the Colts get a lot of publicity for not giving up a lot of sacks, much of it is due to Peyton Manning’s quick release and not their pass protection. At LT, Charlie Johnson is a free agent and just not an elite player and at RT Ryan Diem is aging and has too many false starts. This pick gives them three tackles, if Johnson comes back, and Castonzo is a guy they could plug into either tackle spot.”
With this pick the Colts have added a guy that will keep Manning upright and allow him to have a longer career than the one he would have behind his current line.