Colts double down on offensive line in Kiper’s mock draft 3.0
The Indianapolis Colts can make the draft easier with a few key free agency moves, but one mock draft doesn’t believe that their priorities will change much at all.
It is no secret that the Colts need help along the offensive line. They are about to invest a ridiculous amount of money in Andrew Luck, who has been hit 450 times in his first four years in the NFL. In fact, offensive line has arguably been the top need for this team ever since GM Ryan Grigson took over in 2012.
The Colts will be able to attack this deficiency in free agency this week and again in the draft come April. Over at ESPN, Mel Kiper has released his third mock draft and this time has looked at how free agency could affect each team’s pick.
Kiper has the Colts once again taking Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker with the 18th pick. Here are his thoughts on the pick, and how free agency might affect the decision:
"Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio StateI think “best offensive lineman available” would be a smart strategy here, and Decker would join former teammate Jack Mewhort. The Colts would obviously move him off left tackle, but he’s a good athlete and could transition.Free-agency effect: Indianapolis could go a few ways in free agency, but I’m not sure any of them would change the reality that young talent on the O-line is a priority."
First off, Kiper finally acknowledges that Decker would slide over to right tackle since the team recently signed Anthony Castonzo to a long term deal. There is certainly nothing wrong with Decker, he would likely be a very good tackle for many years in the NFL. It will just depend on the value available at this point and just exactly how Grigson’s talent evaluation works (still a giant mystery).
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Kiper doesn’t believe the Colts can address their offensive line needs in free agency, but that really isn’t correct. There are a number of talented players (like Andre Smith or Mitchell Schwartz) at right tackle who could completely change up the team’s needs along the line.
If the Colts are able to get a right tackle this week, that means they could easily slide Joe Reitz to right guard, where he would be a much more effective player. That would leave the team with just center as the clearly inferior position. Both Khaled Holmes and Jonotthan Harrison have proven to be ineffective at center, but the Colts brass seems to really like the two (especially Harrison) and have given them more than enough chances to succeed.
But in this scenario, the Colts are potentially only looking for a center in the draft, and there isn’t a center in this draft with a first round grade. The Colts could take Alabama’s Ryan Kelly, but at 18 that would be a big reach.
Solving the offensive line in free agency (or at least part of it) would allow the Colts to be more flexible in the draft. This would lessen the pressure to take a lineman with their first round pick, and perhaps go after another area of need (like cornerback, linebacker, or pass rusher).
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Unless the Colts make big moves in free agency, which given their cap space and history of failure with big moves is highly unlikely, they are going to be looking for offensive linemen in this draft. It just doesn’t have to be with their first round pick.