Colts Draft Primer: Potential First Round Picks
The Colts need to do a better job of protecting Andrew Luck. They also need to improve the line talent so that the run game becomes a viable option (which in turn takes even more pressure off Luck). There has been a lot talk about the Colts taking a tackle, but the interior of the line is much worse off right now. They really need to find a center or someone who can play right guard.
Ideal Player: Ryan Kelly, Alabama
The Colts have to find someone to lock down the center position. An underrated part of the Colts success through the 2000s was Jeff Saturday (an undrafted free agent) anchoring the middle of the line, calling out adjustments, and being a steadying hand on the team.
Luck hasn’t had any consistency with the person snapping him the ball and that has to stop. Kelly might be a slight reach at 18, but his ability to read opposing defenses (and he faced some of the best in the SEC) would be invaluable for a line that really hasn’t had a leader for years now. Kelly’s awareness and ability to adapt might be his best qualities to go along with his physical tools.
Players like Kelly are the reason why Bama has become a running back factory. It is a lot easier to get big gains when someone like Kelly is paving the way.
Plan B: Cody Whitehair, Kansas State
This really isn’t a terrible plan B for the Colts, and Whitehair might be higher on their draft board than Kelly. He’s certainly a more versatile player, and has basically started all four years with the Wildcats.
While Whitehair has played all line positions in college, he translates to a guard in the NFL. But there has been talk about him also playing center, primarily due to him being the one on the line to call out adjustments. The Colts haven’t had a lineman who can effectively read defenses and make changes to the blocking scheme since Saturday left in 2012.
These two picks are a bit of a toss up, but either one would be a great addition to the Colts inferior line.
Next: Inside Linebacker