Colts Draft Primer: Ranking Team Needs


The Indianapolis Colts head into the draft with plenty of needs across the roster, they can pick almost any position and it will help bolster the depth chart.

The first round of the 2016 NFL Draft starts in just over three days. The Colts hold the 18th pick in the first round and are looking at a roster in need of a talent infusion. The team has just six picks in this years draft and really needs to hit on all of them.

Aside from quarterback, special teams, and perhaps wide receiver the Colts are in need of some young talent. We can argue about QB, but as always the team is essentially screwed if Andrew Luck goes down and a rookie QB won’t change that. They need a backup, but it isn’t worth one of their few draft picks this year.

Today we rank the positions in terms of need, but keep in mind that the Colts will draft based on best player available, not need. We saw this last year with the selection of wide receiver Phillip Dorsett in the first round last year (and that pick looks a lot better after Andre Johnson was let go).

Here are the Colts positions of need:

Pass rusher.

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You’ll see this listed a lot as EDGE rusher. The Colts have to find someone who can pick up the mantle of

Robert Mathis

once he’s gone. Mathis has been on twitter talking about teaching a young player the ropes or reminding people that there are over 200 career sacks in the locker room right now. There isn’t a lot of top shelf talent at this position in 2016, but rather a lot of players with potential. The Colts defense will completely change if they can bring consistent pressure on opposing QBs. We know how devastating an effective pass rush can be, just ask

Tom Brady


Cam Newton

, and the Colts desperately need to rebuild this facet of their defense.

  • Offensive line. This could easily be the top need for the Colts. They are set along the left side with Anthony Castonzo and Jack Mewhort, but from center on they need a lot of help. The interior of the line (center, right guard) is much worse and really needs to be upgraded. Most mocks have the Colts taking a tackle (far too often a left tackle) when center or guard is arguably a bigger concern. The line is slightly less important than pass rush because Luck can do a lot to protect himself going forward. The least sacked QBs are always the ones who get the ball out quickly, basically negating an opponent’s pass rush.
  • Inside linebacker. After letting Jerrell Freeman walk in free agency, this position jumped up on the list of needs. This isn’t just because the team has a lot of question marks on the depth chart but rather due to a lack of linebackers who can cover effectively. D’Qwell Jackson is very good in run support, but terrible at covering tight ends and running backs. The Colts roster is full of linebackers who are either recovering from injury or are clones of Jackson. They need to find a dynamic player who can bring the same level of versatility that Freeman did.
  • Cornerback. The Colts thankfully let Greg Toler walk in free agency, but they’re is a distinct lack of playmakers at this position outside of Vontae Davis (who had minor offseason foot surgery). That leaves Darius Butler, a slot defender, D’Joun Smith, who spent most of his rookie year injured, and Patrick Robinson, who is also best in the slot. Jalil Brown is also on the roster and while he was a preseason and camp stud, it never translated to real games. This unit is awfully thin and the Colts need someone to put across the field from Davis (preferably one who doesn’t give up the deep ball at an alarming pace).
  • Safety. Mike Adams is 35 and the team needs to start thinking long term. Clayton Geathers played well in spurts, and the team schemed to get him on the field. The duo of Adams and Geathers will be just fine this year, but the bigger concern is down the road. They need depth at the position and someone who can be groomed into a long term starter.
  • Tight end. Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle are basically it. Allen is injury prone and Doyle is more of a blocking tight end. They need another receiving tight end, and while it could come from within that doesn’t seem too likely yet.
  • Running back. Frank Gore is nearing the end of his career (or at least his effectiveness as a feature back) and he isn’t a great receiver (might have been a finger injury too). Robert Turbin will back him up more than likely, but the Colts need to find a running back who is effective in all three phases. There is a reason Ezekiel Elliott has been mocked to the Colts, but it is doubtful he’ll fall to 18.
  • Wide receiver. The Colts have their starters set, but there is only one player at this unit taller than 5-10 (Donte Moncrief). If the Colts are going to look at receiver, it needs to be someone with some size. They’ve got more than enough speed, but there really isn’t a “possession guy” on the team right now. It is a minor concern, but one they can easily address late in the draft or with an undrafted free agent.
  • Defensive line. The Colts spent two picks on this unit last year and started both rookies. There is a lot of young talent here and if Henry Anderson and Art Jones can stay healthy, this will be one of the strongest positions on the roster.
  • Make sure to check back this week as we break down players who could fit each need and look at what is instore for the Colts in this year’s draft.