Indianapolis Colts 2014 Draft: The Good, the Bad and the Baffling
The Indianapolis Colts were the class of the AFC South last year and then some in 2013, the only team in the division to post a winning record.
Now, after winning 11 games in each of the past two years and winning a playoff game last year, the Colts enter 2014 with one goal:
A trip to Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX.
However, where the 2014 draft is concerned the Colts were going to have to pick their spots, as the team's five picks were the fewest in the league this year.
Let's take a look at what the Colts did with the picks they had.
List of All 2014 Draft Selections
As we mentioned in the introduction, the Colts weren't exactly brimming with draft capital this year.
With that in mind, here's a review of the handful of players the Colts did add on Friday on Saturday (the Colts had no first-round pick as a result of last year's trade for running back Trent Richardson.
Jack Mewhort, OT/OG, Ohio State: Round 2, No. 59 overall
Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss: Round 3, No. 90 overall
Jonathan Newsome, DE/OLB, Ball State: Round 5, No. 166 overall
Andrew Jackson, ILB, Western Kentucky: Round 6, No. 203 overall
Ulrick John, G, Georgia State: Round 7, No. 232 overall (acquired in trade for A.Q. Shipley with Baltimore Ravens in 2013)
The Colts may not have as many holes to fill as their brethren in the AFC South, but that doesn't mean there still aren't needs to be addressed.
With only five picks the pressure was on to hit with each selecxtion, and where these players are concerned general manager Ryan Grigson and the Colts did just that:
Jack Mewhort, OT/OG, Ohio State
One of the needs the Colts did have was on the interior of the offensive line, especially after the abrupt retirement of center Phil Costa.
It's not an easy need to address either. Offensive linemen carry a high premium in the NFL draft, and while guards may not carry the draft value of their tackle counterparts, the second day of the draft usually features an early run at the position.
In acquiring Jack Mewhort, the Colts added a versatile and experienced lineman capable of not only challenging for a starting spot at guard but also filling in at tackle, the position he played in Columbus.
It wasn't a "wow" pick, but it was a solid start to the draft for the Colts.
Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss
At first glance, wide receiver might not appear a pressing need for the Colts, especially with the addition of free agent Hakeem Nicks.
However, not only are Nicks and Reggie Wayne both coming off injury-shortened seasons, but both veterans are entering the final year of their deals.
Given that, the Colts availed themselves of a deep class at the wide receiver position by using their third-round pick on Donte Moncrief of Ole Miss, a 6'2" wideout with 4.34 speed who Rob Rang of CBS Sports said, "does not possess the explosive moves of Southern Cal's Marqise Lee or Clemson's Sammy Watkins but might be a better player than either of them."
Since taking the reins in Indianapolis, I think Grigson has become one of the NFL's more aggressive and savvy general managers.
With that said, no one's perfect, and while it's too soon to offer any final verdicts on this year's draft the following pick doesn't appear to have been especially well spent:
Jonathan Newsome, DE/OLB, Ball State: Round 5, No. 166
On some level, it's hard to really criticize a late fifth-round pick. It's a late fifth-round pick. How badly can you mess it up?
Still, while it's understandable that the Colts would like to add a rotational pass-rusher, it's hard to figure out why Indianapolis settled on Jonathan Newsome of Ball State.
Newsome, who played primarily with his hand down in college, didn't post especially gaudy numbers (eight sacks, 11 tackles for loss) last year in the MAC. His measurables and workouts weren't especially good either.
This isn't to say Newsome isn't a good player, but on most boards he was marginally draftable at best.
The Colts could have, and should have, done better here.
At the end of the day, grading a team's draft is much like the evaluation of players before it. It's subjective, much more art than science. One man's trash is another treasure and all that.
Still there are some picks that aren't "good" or "bad" so much as they're just confusing.
Picks like these by the Colts:
Andrew Jackson, ILB, Western Kentucky: Round 6, No. 203
This should in no way be seen as an indictment of Andrew Jackson as a player.
The 6'1" 254-pound Western Kentucky linebacker has, in the words of Bleacher Report's Darren Page, "the body and skills to carve out a niche as a two-down linebacker in a scheme which plays to his strengths."
He's a classic two-down "thumper" of an inside linebacker.
With that said, Jackson also wasn't a real value in this spot. What makes the pick really weird is that, after adding D'Qwell Jackson, the Colts have a pair of entrenched starters inside.
When you only have five picks, using one on an "OK" option at a position of minimal need is the definition of baffling.
Ulrick John, G, Georgia State: Round 7, No. 232
Did Ryan Grigson let one of his kids make the Colts' last pick? His dog? A fan who had been "enjoying" the draft 12 ounces at a time for three days?
It's not surprising to see the Colts use the pick on an offensive lineman. NFL teams are always looking for depth in the trenches.
However, this pick is baffling, because nobody outside Indy seems to really know who he is.
It isn't just that John played at Georgia State. This is a player who was so off the radar that there's no profile for him at NFL.com. Or at CBS Sports. Or ESPN.
Either the Colts know something we don't, or Grigson's kids liked his backwards name.
Gary Davenport is an NFL Analyst at Bleacher Report and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Gary on Twitter @IDPManor.