The Indianapolis Colts can point to almost any position and list it as a need, that’s why a recent mock draft has them adding to the secondary in round one, while taking linemen in the next two rounds.
It is doubtful that there will be a mock draft that doesn’t include the Colts taking an offensive lineman, but a new one has them taking linemen in consecutive rounds. Over at ESPN, Todd McShay has put up his “Grade: A” mock draft, which is somehow different from a normal mock. The difference being that he isn’t projecting picks but rather making them as if he were the team’s GM. (Raise your hand if you thought their mocks were always the latter, yep, lots of hands.)
In this mock, McShay has the Colts addressing their secondary in the first round and then going with the offensive line in back-to-back picks. Here are McShay’s picks and analysis for the Colts:
"Round 1 (18): Karl Joseph, S, West VirginiaRound 2 (48): Cody Whitehair, G/C, Kansas StateRound 3 (82): Jerald Hawkins, OT, LSUAnalysis: I wanted to get the Colts and offensive lineman with their first-round pick, but the value just wasn’t there. So I went with the best player on the board (Joseph), who could be their next Bob Sanders. Joseph is one of the more violent and efficient tacklers we’ve studied recently at the safety position. Concerns about his 2015 knee injury aside, he’s one of the fastest-rising prospects in this draft. Whitehair shows exceptional awareness on tape and would provide the Colts with a versatile interior lineman. Hawkins has the frame, skill set and football character to develop into a solid right tackle starter in the NFL."
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We’ve seen Whitehair going to the Colts before, and broke down that pick last week. He’d be a great addition who could start right away and would be a value pick in the second round.
We haven’t seen much on Joseph or Hawkins. McShay compares Joseph to Bob Sanders, which is simultaneous thrilling and terrifying. Will Joseph be the thumper who changes the run defense while also being a playmaker in coverage, or the player who was seemingly made of tissue paper and rarely on the field?
Joseph’s 2015 season was cut short due to a knee injury during non-contact drills in practice in early October. He already had five interceptions at that point. This could be a fluke injury or a sign that he’s going to be injury prone in the future. Most draft profiles note that he plays recklessly, with little regard for his body when going after the ball carrier, a trait similar to Sanders.
NFL.com compared him to Antonie Bethea. So between that, and Sanders, the Colts basically have to take him, right?
Comparisons aside, Joseph has all the tools and abilities to be a top tier safety in the NFL. Couple that with Chuck “The Secondary Whisperer” Pagano, and the Colts could end up with a Pro Bowler. Clayton Geathers is going to start this season, and while he showed flashes, it remains to be seen how well he’ll play in an expanded role. Mike Adams has had two exceptional years here, but he’s 35 and the Colts have to find his eventual replacement.
Given the current makeup of the roster, the Colts could ease Joseph into his role and bring him in with special packages much like they did with Geathers last year. His draft stock depends on his medicals but assuming his rehab in on schedule, Joseph should be ready to go by camp.
Hawkins is the kind of player where his landing spot will determine the future of his career. He needs the right coaching to work on his technique, but there is no doubt he has the potential to be a great player. Hawkins faced off against some of the best competition in the country in the SEC and he was always up to the task. Joe Philbin might just be the right coach to turn Hawkins into the bookend on the line that the Colts sorely need.
Coming out of the first three round with two linemen who might take over the starting spots in camp would be a boon for the Colts and Andrew Luck. Couple that with a potential playmaker at safety and this is a pretty good start to the draft. If they can manage to find a middle linebacker and effective edge rusher in second half of the draft, the future for the Colts will look much brighter.