The Indianapolis Colts need to improve their offensive line, but they don’t need to make drastic moves to do so in the upcoming draft.
Rule number one of mock drafts is that you don’t try to predict trades. A one round mock is more about addressing team needs based on the players available. The Colts hold the 18th pick in this year’s draft and should have a number of interesting players available to them at that point in the first round.
Over at NFL.com Charley Casserly breaks the mock draft rules, and has the Colts making a staggering move to improve their line. Casserly has the Colts trading up just two spots with the Lions to take Ohio State left tackle Taylor Decker. Casserly says that the Colts “can’t afford to come out of the first round without an OT.” That might be true if that was the only position they needed to improve on the roster. At 18, the Colts will likely be able to just select the best available player and move on.
We’ve broken down Decker so many times, and yes he’d be a good fit as long as he can move to the right side of the line. And that might not be the best of ideas anyway. Left and right tackle are vastly different positions and that move isn’t one that players can always easily make.
The issue is that Decker isn’t worth trading up a few spots to get. The Colts have just six picks in this draft and will need all of them to fill the multitude of needs on the roster. If they are going to trade, it is far more likely they’ll trade down to acquire more picks.
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In Casserly’s mock, the four picks following the Colts would be far more valuable in the short and long term. At 17, he has the Falcons taking Daron Lee, linebacker from Ohio State. At 18, the Lions take Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson. At 19, the Bills select Eastern Kentucky edge rusher Noah Spence. At 20, the Jets pick up Alabama inside linebacker Reggie Ragland.
All four of those players have been mocked to the Colts before, and in some cases multiple times. The Colts need to upgrade at inside linebacker and desperately need youth and skill at pass rush. Taking anyone of those players would yield better results than Decker.
It is also sounding more and more like the Colts are content to start Denzelle Good at right tackle heading into the season. Kevin Bowen recently wrote about how bullish the team is on Good’s abilities and see a bright future in him.
Colts owner Jim Irsay believes that he’ll be an “important player” if he continues on his current path. GM Ryan Grigson was awfully high on Good at the owner’s meetings last month.
"“I think Denzelle Good could play about any spot he wants,” Ryan Grigson said last month in Florida. “He has the aptitude to do that. He got better with each game. He blocked people in ways that you don’t typically see a rookie, let alone anyone, block—in terms of finishing, raw power and athleticism.”"
For a seventh round pick out of Division II football, Good played very well in limited action last season. The team clearly felt very highly about him as evidenced by Good remaining on the roster all season long. If Good develops, the Colts won’t need to look at a tackle in the draft, let alone one that need to switch to the other side of the line.
Decker isn’t necessarily a bad pick, but he isn’t worth the steep price of trading up in the first round. Couple that with the fact that there are arguably bigger needs on the defensive side of the ball, and the Colts won’t be moving up to get a tackle.