Colts Running Back Situation and the NFL Draft
As most of us know, and the Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano have stated quite a few times, it is a deep running back draft class this year. But with an uncertain backfield in Indianapolis, aside from the aging Frank Gore, the question arises, should the Colts take a running back in this year’s draft?
Dec 28, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
First, lets take a look at the state of the backfield right now. As their starting running back, the Colts have Frank Gore at 5’9″ 217 lbs and almost 32 years old. Gore has more than made a name for himself in this league, accounting for several 1,000 yard rushing seasons with multiple touchdowns in each season of his 11 year career (3 TD’s being the lowest in his 2010 and rookie seasons). Gore is a great asset for the Colts in the here and now, but of course, not for many years in the future.
Next on the depth chart would be Dan “Boom” Herron. Boom had a fairly decent 2014 campaign after Ahmad Bradshaw went down (again) and “He who should not be named” *Trent Richardson* did not live up to his first round draft pick potential. Boom accounted for 351 yards and 1 TD, while averaging 4.5 yards per carry and showed a lot of promise and filled a big role for the Colts at the end of the season and playoffs. Could he be our RB for the future? I believe he is more of a good complementary player for years to come rather than a consistent starter.
The third spot could potentially go to Vick Ballard, if he can stay healthy. Ballard showed a lot of promise in his rookie season rushing for 814 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2012. Ballard was looking to be the starter for the Colts for the 2013 season, but unfortunately a knee injury ended his season after playing just one game. The following offseason, Ballard suffered a torn achilles in a non-contact portion of training camp.
Ballard has gone on record stating that he does not want to be called “injury prone”, but if he goes down again, it might be the most fitting description for him. If Ballard could stay healthy and not let his previous injuries affect him, he could potentially take the backup spot from Boom.
The running backs left on the roster are Zurlon Tipton and Jeff Demps. If the Colts were to not draft a running back at any point in the draft, I can see Tipton making the 53 man roster, and the Olympic Sprinter, Demps, fighting for a spot this season.
Question of the day: Should the Colts take a RB in the draft this year?
My Answer: Yes. Lets review the potential picks
2015 Potential Draft Targets at Running Back for the Colts
Jan 28, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
- Todd Gurley – Georgia
- Melvin Gordon -Wisconsin
- Duke Johnson -Miami (Fl.)
- Tevin Coleman -Indiana
Solid Mid-Round Pick ups:
- Jay Ajayi -Boise St.
- Ameer Abdullah -Nebraska
- T.J. Yeldon -Alabama
Later Rounds (Diamonds in the rough):
- Jeremy Langford -Michigan State
- Mike Davis -South Carolina
- David Cobb -Minnesota
Top Prospect Analysis:
After watching highlights and reviewing mock drafts of these prospects, I am assuming that both Georgia’s Todd Gurley and Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon will be long off the board before the Colts pick at #29.
The next question: Should the Colts take Duke Johnson or Tevin Coleman in the first or second round?
Both have a lot of talent and upside, however I believe that the Colts have greater areas of need in the first round (S, DL, OL, LB). One of these positions should be addressed first before a running back in my opinion. Going into the second round, I think that Miami’s Duke Johnson might be off the board by the time the Colts pick. So my potential draft pick for the Colts in the first couple rounds is non other than:
R2 P61: Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana-
Aug 30, 2014; Bloomington, IN, USA; Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports is 5’11” 206 lbs and on his pro day ran a 4.40 & 4.39 in the 40 yard dash. He set school records for the Hoosiers with 2,036 rushing yards and was a consensus All-American in 2014. Coleman would also be a threat out of the backfield as a catcher as well in an already stout passing attack. He has been known as a very violent runner, but not very patient at the line. But I believe that Coleman could have the potential to contend for the primary backup spot on the roster, and could very well be a future long-term starter in the NFL.
Tevin Coleman is 5’11” 206 lbs and on his pro day ran a 4.40 & 4.39 in the 40 yard dash. He set school records for the Hoosiers with 2,036 rushing yards and was a consensus All-American in 2014. Coleman would also be a threat out of the backfield as a catcher as well in an already stout passing attack. He has been known as a very violent runner, but not very patient at the line. But I believe that Coleman could have the potential to contend for the primary backup spot on the roster, and could very well be a future long-term starter in the NFL.
Bottom Line: If Tevin Coleman is available at #61, I think the Colts shouldn’t wait, and see if he still is available in the third round at #93, and simply use their second round pick on him.
Mid-Round Prospect Analysis:
Boise State’s Jay Ajayi, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, and Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon are all running backs that could go anywhere between the third and fifth rounds. If the Colts can not land Coleman in the first few rounds, I believe that the best bang for your buck draft pick between the three would be:
R4 P128: Not a Running Back
I believe that none of these three will be there at Round 4 for the Colts, and I would be very distraught if they used their third round pick on any of these above.
Diamonds in the Rough:
These prospects are a running back who will be a work in progress or will have to learn behind someone for a couple of years. I think that this is the best place for Indy to draft a running back, in rounds 5-7. Out of the running backs listed above, I believe the best fit for the Colts would be:
R5 P165: Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina
Oct 4, 2014; Lexington, KY, USA; Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Davis has a great balance between speed and power. He is a little shorter than average, but weighs 217 lbs and ran a 4.52 in the 40 yard dash. He does not have much side-to-side movement while running but can keep his feet moving and hit defenders with force. He may fall a little in the draft due to an idea that his conditioning may not be up to par. If this happens, I would sincerely hope that Indianapolis would pick him up in the fifth round. I could even see them reaching in the fourth for Abdullah, Cobb, or Davis, and I might be okay with that in the end.
With all of this being said, I think the Colts might actually reach a little in the draft to pick up a running back.
Let’s be honest, Grigson is not known for passing up on offensive players.
As much as most of us would like to see the Colts primarily focus on defense, I think at least 3 picks will go towards offense. Those picks potentially being OL, RB, and WR. But when it comes down to it, I think the Colts will be best off drafting a RB in rounds 2-3, hopefully
, or perhaps in the mid to late rounds and draft
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