Indianapolis Colts Mock Draft Roundup
With just two weeks to go before the 2014 draft, we're reaching the critical stages of predraft preparations. While some are frustrated with the later date for the draft this year, the extra two weeks means that we can do even more preparation for the busiest weekend of the offseason.
Multiple positions are considered high-profile needs for the Indianapolis Colts in 2014, and that combined with the team not having a first-round pick means that there is no consensus on how the Colts will use their second-round pick. Today we look at a few different experts' opinions on how the Colts could use each of their picks in 2014, as well as my ideal selection.
Experts referenced include Mel Kiper's most recent draft (subscription required), Matt Miller's seven-round predictions, Luke Easterling of The Draft Report, Rob Rang of CBS Sports, Drafttek, Draft Site and Walter Football.
Second Round, No. 59 Overall
Mel Kiper: WR Jarvis Landry, LSU
Matt Miller: DT Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota
Luke Easterling: G David Yankey, Stanford
Rob Rang: S Deone Bucannon, Washington State
Draft Site: S Deone Bucannon, Washington State
Draftek: C Weston Richburg, Colorado State
Walter Football: G David Yankey, Stanford
My pick: Bucannon
Most mocks have the Colts going with a safety in either the second or third round, and the drop-off between the two rounds is significant. Ideally, Bucannon would drop in the second and be available for Indianapolis at No. 59, but moving up in the second is a strong possibility as well.
Wide receiver has been a common pick as well in the second and third, but I would avoid a receiver unless Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews, Indiana's Cody Latimer or a projected first-round talent fell. Otherwise, the talent that should be available in the third round seems better.
Offensive line is another popular pick for Indianapolis early, but if they're going to go that route, I'd rather see them grab Richburg or USC's Marcus Martin over a guard. The team has two starting guards all but locked in Donald Thomas and Hugh Thornton, with Lance Louis and Joe Reitz providing depth and competition. Center, however, is a different story after Phil Costa retired.
Miller's pick of Hageman is interesting. The team does need a nose tackle, but the 3-4 defensive end spots are very crowded. Hageman has the versatility to play nose, but probably fits in a 4-3 scheme better. But he has such upside that if he falls to the late second, it would be hard to pass him up.
Third Round, No. 90 Overall
Miller: S Dion Bailey, USC
Easterling: S Ed Reynolds, Stanford
Draft Site: CB Keith McGill, Utah
Draftek: OG Trai Turner, LSU
Walter Football: CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska
My pick: C Travis Swanson, Arkansas
Most of the experts went with a secondary member in the third round, and I don't blame them. But having gone safety in the second round and Costa's retirement leaving a gaping hole, Swanson makes sense in the third round. The Arkansas senior is smart with great awareness that makes him an exceptional pass protector, which is something the Colts have lacked at the position since Jeff Saturday's departure.
Each of the secondary selections here make sense, although I'd prefer Bailey over Reynolds. Both Jean-Baptiste and McGill are big, athletic corners who fit the profile of physical corners in coach Chuck Pagano's scheme, but both need development and have significant questions.
Turner is a decent player, but probably isn't quick or balanced enough to fit as a guard in the Colts' scheme. Plus, as mentioned previously, a center makes much more sense this early.
Fifth Round, No. 166 Overall
Miller: LB Shayne Skov, Stanford
Draft Site: OG Chris Burnette, Georgia
Draftek: CB Deion Belue, Alabama
Walter Football: S Kenny Ladler, Vanderbilt
My pick: NT Caraun Reid, Princeton
I like the Skov pick by Miller in the fifth round, although any earlier would be undesirable. Skov's coverage skills, or lack thereof, make him a limited player, but his skill against the run is something the Colts could desperately use. If they could develop him into a two-down linebacker and special teams player, he could be very good value in the fifth.
But after going safety and offensive line early, it's time to fill in the secondary needs. Reid is a player I targeted early in the scouting process as a potential mid-round pick, because he possesses something the other Colts interior defensive linemen do not: Pass-rushing ability.
Reid has a surprisingly well-developed repertoire of pass-rushing moves, and the Colts could immediately use him on third downs in their hybrid scheme. At 6'2", 302 pounds, he's not ideal size for a traditional nose tackle, but he's strong and has a low center of gravity that allows him to anchor against double-teams.
Reid wouldn't be a starting nose tackle on Day 1, but he would be a situational pass-rusher with the potential to grow into a starter. In the fifth round, I'll take that every single time.
Sixth Round, No. 203 Overall
Miller: S Dezmen Southward, Wisconsin
Draft Site: OT Charles Leno, Boise State
Draftek: CB Dontae Johnson, North Carolina State
Walter Football: RB Tyler Gaffney, Stanford
My pick: RB Dri Archer, Kent State
Southward is a rarely mentioned name, but could be a very interesting developmental pick late in the draft. He's a physical, fearless run-stopper with good durability, and he's only been playing football since his senior year of high school. A bit raw, Southward could contribute on special teams early and has the athleticism to potentially crack the starting lineup down the road. Johnson is another secondary member with great athleticism and a high ceiling.
The running back pick is one that I've long been a fan of late in this draft. None of the Colts' current backs are big-play threats, and drafting a player who can contribute on special teams and potentially be a third-down back just makes sense. The Colts tried last year, drafting Kerwynn Williams in the seventh round, but it didn't work out.
Archer is one of the most dynamic players in the draft, with the combine's fastest 40-yard dash time and big plays on film to match. He probably won't have the durability to be an every-down, between-the-tackles runner, but he could be a special teams player and change-of-pace back, which is exactly what the Colts need.
Seventh Round, No. 232 Overall
Miller: RB David Fluellen, Toronto
Draft Site: ILB Christian Kirksey, Iowa
Draftek: DE Tim Jackson, North Carolina
My pick: ILB Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky
My policy late in drafts is generally to find players who will be able to participate on special teams right away, so I like the Kirksey pick, but it depends on whether he's available in the seventh. Fluellen seems like a short-yardage back and that is all, so he wouldn't really fit what the Colts need. Trent Richardson already fills that role, and Fluellen offers no more upside.
I like a linebacker late in the draft, and Andrew Jackson is an athletic, aggressive linebacker who projects as a two-down linebacker with special teams value. Jackson isn't great in coverage, but his ability to blitz effectively offsets that to some degree.