The Colts offense for next year is shaping up to be an interesting one. Although many Colts fans more than likely expect that the team will be weak offensively, we can still project what the potential starting lineup could be by week 1 of the 2012 season.
QB- This is pretty much a no-brainer: it’s going to be Andrew Luck, and if the Colts decide otherwise they are making a big mistake. I’m not saying that Robert Griffin won’t be a great QB, but I really think Luck is the better player.
LT- There is little doubt that Anthony Castonzo will only improve in his second year, at least if he can stay healthy and protect the blindside of the Colts future.
LG- This is a tough one. It’s possible new addition Mike Mcglynn or someone like Joe Reitz could fill in here again. Whatever the case, this is the weakest spot along the line. Drafting here with the 64th pick or bringing in a solid veteran might be a good decision.
C- Samson Satele is a good solid replacement for Jeff Saturday.
RG- Second year player Ben Ijalana is the favorite here, as he showed some spark in 2011 and has the potential to develop into a starting NFL guard this year.
RT- Winston Justice from the Eagles is a player with a low cost who could bring high reward. He can certainly contribute, albeit not at the highest level.
RB- This is a position, in my mind, that must be addressed in the draft. Donald Brown showed improvement last year, but he just isn’t consistent enough. He could share the load with a new, more explosive RB who’s drafted. Delone Carter has a long way to go before he could be considered a starter in my eyes. One possible draftee is Isaiah Pead from Cincinnati with the 97th pick. He is not electrically quick, but he is fast(4.47 in the 40 at the combine) and has good vision.
WR1- The Great Reggie Wayne is a no-brainer here.
WR2- Donnie Avery brings that downfield speed if he can stay healthy.
WR3 –Austin Collie is effective in the slot and could easily turn into one of Luck’s favorite weapons. Hopefully, Collie can stay healthy and return to his form of 2010 before the concussions. I believe that Collie is very underrated and still has the potential to be great.
TE1- In my opinion the Colts need to do all they can to acquire Coby Fleener in the draft. I just don’t see him still being available come the 34th pick, so a trade would be necessary to move up to around Number 25 or even higher to get him. We’ve all seen how effective big receiving TE’s can be and Fleener’s familiarity with Luck could be dynamic for the Colts. The question really is whether or not we have the picks available to trade up for him.
TE2- Considering that head coach Chuck Pagano wants to install a run-first offense a good blocking TE will be vital to the Colts set-up. Brody Eldridge can block well, and though we know he’s not a threat in the passing game, maybe we don’t need him to be. It’s very likely that we will see a lot of two tight end sets under offensive coordinator Bruce Arian’s new scheme. This type of system is familiar to Luck, and it should allow the Colts to call play action effectively if they are able to run the ball.
FB- Currently, the Colts have two possible guys to play fullback on the roster: Chris Gronkowski and Ryan Mahaffey. I loved what Mahaffey did in the brief time he played last year, especially in the game against Carolina, where he blocked well for Brown and made a great one-handed grab. I believe Mahaffey could play FB for the Colts this year, although in reality an upgrade could be made at a position which will be substantially more important for the Colts under Arians.
This draft is going to be an important one for the Colts in order to establish their starting offense for the season. Making the right decisions will be key, and the defense needs a lot of help, too. In my opinion, the Colts offense isn’t shaping up to be all that bad this season. I think we can be optimistic.