Indianapolis Colts Draft Picks: Results, Analysis and Grades
Despite the Colts' first-round pick resting in the bottom of Trent Richardson's locker room, fans are eagerly awaiting the most exciting annual offseason event. Even with just five picks, there has been plenty of discussions (or heated debates) about which direction the Colts will go. This week, we finally discover what the front office's plan is.
Are they going to try to fill an immediate need with their early picks by drafting a center, safety or both in the second or third round? Are they going to look for long-term needs and think about future starters at outside linebackers, wide receiver and cornerback? What about depth offensive skill players at running back and tight end? Are those an option late in the draft?
We know that the team has a plethora of needs but just a few picks to use. We know that Ryan Grigson has an extensive history of moving draft picks around. What we don't know is just how that translates to a 2014 draft strategy. I'm of the opinion that the Colts will trade at least once in this draft, but it's all dependent on finding a trade partner.
No matter what happens, we'll be on top of it here, with instant news, reactions and grades for each pick. Be sure to keep this slideshow open throughout the weekend to get the up-to-the-minute analysis.
Round 2: Colts Take T Jack Mewhort, OSU
One could say that Ryan Grigson is a bit unpredictable.
After everybody and their mothers projected receivers, centers, outside linebackers, safeties and cornerbacks to this slot, the Colts went out and drafted a tackle.
Mewhort projects as a right tackle, but can play inside at guard as well, having played both at times while at Ohio State. His athleticism isn't exceptional, but at 6'6, 309 pounds, he has excellent size and length. He relies on that size and strength to win against pass rushers, along with solid technique.
The good thing about this pick is Mewhort's ability to pass protect, due to his balance and lateral agility. The Colts have focused on run-blocking in the past, but Mewhort is a clear sign of the Colts being worried about their ability to protect Andrew Luck.
But in the end, the pick is still a head-scratcher. If the team wanted to go offensive line, a center or a guard seemed like a sure-fire hit. With top prospects like Gabe Jackson and Marcus Martin still on the board, the Colts could have gotten a natural interior linemen with a higher ceiling.
Just like last season, the Colts passed up on high-value talent at skill positions, with WR Allen Robinson, WR Donte Moncrief, CB Pierre Desir and S Terrence Brooks still available. Then there were the sliding defensive linemen Louis Nix III and Kony Ealy. Each seemed to be exceptional value at this point in the draft.
Mewhort will be a valuable depth player on the line for years, due to his versatility, but that's his ceiling for me. Why would you go that direction with your highest pick in a loaded draft?
EDIT: The more I think about the pick, the better I feel about it. Mewhort is a good player, although I don't think he's going to star. Still don't like the value, but this could be a productive pick for Indianapolis. I struggled with this grade, going from C- to D+ back to C-.
Round 3: Colts Take WR Donte Moncrief, Mississippi
As much the Mewhort pick baffled, Donte Moncrief is a perfect fit in Indianapolis.
The former Mississippi wide receiver is a physical freak at 6'2", 221 pounds. He ran a blazing 4.40-second 40-yard dash at the combine (per CBS Sports), and also had phenomenal broad jump and vertical numbers. That explosive nature is reminiscent of T.Y. Hilton, in that Moncrief can explode out of breaks and double moves to gain separation down the field.
Moncrief is a little raw, and could use work in route-running, but he gets to sit behind Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks in 2014. Learning from those veterans should be a huge advantage for Moncrief, and he has the ceiling to be a long-term No. 1 receiver in Indianapolis.
While defensive backfield is still a need, the Colts got great value with Moncrief and took care of a critical long-term need. Moncrief was one of my top players left on the board. While I still don't like Mewhort in the second, getting Moncrief and Mewhort overall on Day 2 isn't a bad haul at all.
Round 5: Ball State OLB Jonathan Newsome Becomes a Colt
At pick No. 166, the Indianapolis Colts took outside linebacker Jonathan Newsome out of Ball State. Newsome is a 6'3", 247-pound pass rusher that has great burst off of the line of scrimmage.
Colts fans saw Indianapolis "reach" for Robert Mathis in 2003 in the fifth round, and Mathis had a lot similar strengths and weaknesses to what Newsome does now. He's a little undersized and probably won't be able to set the edge well. He's not a natural cover guy. But, Newsome is explosive around the edge and uses leverage well. Like Mathis, he was also a hard-hitter in college.
This seems a little high for Newsome, who most had projected as a seventh round or even undrafted guy. Meanwhile the secondary prospects continue to dwindle for Indianapolis.
I don't love the value and the secondary depth hurts right now, but I like the thinking with Newsome. He's the kind of guy that should be able to learn from Mathis and will be an impact special-teamer from the get-go.
Round 6: Colts Select Western Kentucky ILB Andrew Jackson
The Colts haven't spend much time worrying about stopping the run in this draft, odd considering the coaches and front office members' consistent mention of the run game as the key component to winning. But with pick 203 in the draft, the Colts selected Western Kentucky ILB Andrew Jackson.
Jackson is an aggressive, strong inside linebacker who brings a much-needed toughness against the run to the Colts' linebacker corp. The rest of the Colts linebackers are smaller, more coverage-oriented, especially the top three of Jerrell Freeman, D'Qwell Jackson and Josh McNary.
Jackson isn't an immediate starter, and he likely never will be a starter. But he's good depth at the position and could be a key piece against run-heavy teams. At the very least, he's one more hard-hitting special teams contributor.
I mocked Jackson to the Colts in my final mock, albeit in the seventh round. It fills a need for the Colts and makes their linebacker unit a bit more well-rounded. The only knock here is that the secondary is a more important position group that needs shoring up. But if Jackson is the best player available, I have no complaints.
Round 7: Colts Take Georgia State OT Ulrick John
Once again, Ryan Grigson surprises.
With the Colts' final selection in the 2014 NFL draft, Grigson selected Georgia State offensive tackle Ulrick John. Other than having a great name, not much is known about John. He measures in at 6'6", 297 pounds and is a long, athletic tackle. John's 40-yard dash time of 5.02 seconds at his pro day would have placed seventh at the NFL combine. His vertical of 30" would have been fifth, and his three-cone drill of 7.20 seconds could have been best among offensive linemen.
But other than the athleticism, John doesn't have any outstanding traits. Was he really worth a flier in the seventh round, especially with the Colts desperately needing secondary depth? Based on the available information, John is a practice squad guy at best.
John wasn't deemed an important enough prospect to have any information on at all by any of the major scouting services, and watching the two videos available don't inspire much confidence. Theoretically, the pick of a tackle here doesn't make much sense. The Colts desperately need secondary depth, not more tackles.
If John develops into a starting tackle, the pick would be great, but that's about as long of a shot as it gets at this point.