INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 25, 2016) – Three days out from the NFL Draft and nothing has changed with the Indianapolis Colts.
With six selections in the seven-round process – round 1 is Thursday evening – they still need help, and lots of it. Along the offensive line and adding a young set of legs at running back. On defense with a pass rusher and inside linebacker, and at cornerback and safety.
Not that he’s asking, but general manager Ryan Grigson is getting tons of advice on how best to address the draft, most notably with the 18th overall selection.
Our suggestion: Offensive line, and take your pick as to which area is priority 1. Either someone to step in and stop the maddening revolving door at center, or a right tackle. We’d be fine with either.
Of course adding a pass rusher, any defensive playmaker for that matter, is critical, but does that really matter if Scott Tolzien is running the offense because Andrew Luck once again was incapacitated due to shoddy pass protection?
Fix the offensive line, then everything else.
And that seems to be the consensus as virtually everyone with a legitimate forum has offered his mock draft. The favorites: Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker and Eastern Kentucky defensive end Noah Spence.
Here’s a sampling:
Mel Kiper, Jr., ESPN: OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State
Comment: I have offensive line as a need if I’m the GM here, and Decker makes sense at No. 18. . . . I’m drafting with the idea that I can’t go wrong by adding O-line help. It’s about getting better in front of my franchise player both in the running game and in pass protection.
Todd McShay, ESPN: Decker
Comment: After failing to protect Andrew Luck last season, the Colts must come out of this draft with a more solidified offensive line. Decker would be a great place to start. He’s a perfect fit at right tackle, Indy’s biggest need, and has one of the highest floors of anyone in this draft.
Peter King, SI.com: Decker
Comment: GM Ryan Grigson knows he has significant roster holes, and none more gaping than the offensive line. Colts quarterbacks got hit way too much last year in addition to being sacked 37 times; the running game, at 3.6 yards per rush, was putrid.
Dave Syversten, Ourlads’: Decker
Comment: Andrew Luck hasn’t had a fair shake with the amount he’s been hit due to poor blocking. Jack Mewhort showed he can be a productive guard and if Decker comes in, they have a solid base to a good OL for a long time.
Cris Collinsworth, Pro Football Focus: Decker
Comment: The Colts are a team that has to be built around pass protection. Andrew Luck is similar to Ben Roethlisberger in that he is a big, strong-armed QB who likes to hold the ball a long time and make plays down the field. With Decker at right tackle opposite LT Anthony Castonzo, Indianapolis can buy Luck enough time to make things happen with their playmaking receivers down the field.
Peter Schrager, FOX Sports: OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State
Comment: Big, sturdy OT who can play – and protect – right from the get-go. Conklin could go top 10. I think Indy would be pleased to see him here.
Charley Casserly, NFL.com: DE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky
Comment: They need to improve their pass rush
Note: In Casserly’s first-round mock, Decker and Conklin were no longer available.
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: CB Eli Apple, Ohio State
Comment: The Colts miss the run on offensive linemen, and elect to upgrade the secondary over reaching for a second-tier blocker.
Note: Again, Decker and Conklin were no longer available.
Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com: DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
Comment: They need to get stronger up front. Robinson is a power player who would hold the point.
Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com: Spence
Comment: The Colts need to address their mediocre pass rush, and as long as they are comfortable with his character, Spence would be terrific value at this pick.
Comment: Indianapolis can certainly use some young blood at outside linebacker . . . there’s definitely value here with Noah Spence, who would be a top-10 prospect if it weren’t for his off-the-field issues.