The Indianapolis Colts 2016 NFL Draft was a mixed bag and not everyone was sold on this group of players.
Every so often a team needs a draft to restock some of the unsung positions on their team. The Colts did exactly that this year in a series of moves reminiscent of the team’s 2008 draft class.
The picks weren’t exactly inspired but they were necessary. The selection of Ryan Kelly in the first round tore fans apart on impact versus need. Despite talking about taking best player available, the Colts seemed to draft based almost purely on need. Outside of Kelly, the Colts appeared to be swinging for the cheap seats with each pick.
Over at Pro Football Focus, Steve Palazzolo has weighed in with his grades for every team’s draft haul. He gave the Colts a C for their selections. Here are his thoughts on the picks:
"Day 1: The Colts needed to address the center position, and they took the draft’s top option in Kelly. Every offensive line coach we ran into during the draft process loved Kelly, who surrendered only 10 pressures all season. His balance and power is a good fit for the Colts’ man-blocking scheme.Day 2: The second and third round featured pure projection picks for Indianapolis. T.J. Green has excellent size and speed, but his -10.8 coverage grade ranked last among the safeties in the class. He may switch to cornerback in the pros, but either way he is a risk at this point in the draft. Le’Raven Clark has the size and length at tackle, but he struggled with speed rushers off the edge at times in college, and that got exposed further during Senior Bowl week. He did finish ninth in the class with a +14.4 run-blocking grade.Day 3: Hassan Ridgeway is good value in the fourth round as he posted a +15.4 pass rush grade and a +17.9 grade against the run on limited snaps. Antonio Morrison brings attitude to the defense but he leaves far too many plays on the field, as evidenced by his 18 missed tackles on only 91 attempts."
The good news about some of these picks is that they likely won’t be starting right away. Green will start out behind Mike Adams and be able to work on his coverage skill in practice while making an impact as a gunner on special teams. Morrison will give the Colts depth at inside linebacker
More from Horseshoe Heroes
- Colts explored hiring former quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky
- When is the NFL Combine 2023? NFL Combine schedule, events, how to stream
- Latest NFL mock draft has Colts trading up to No. 1 for star QB
- Eagles offensive free agents that could follow Shane Steichen to Colts
- Here’s why Colts linebacker Shaq Leonard is going to love Shane Steichen
As for the four offensive linemen the Colts took, well it looks like they’re going to keep throwing bodies at the offensive line. This feels a bit like what the Colts did last season with the defensive line: draft a number of players, bring more into camp, and open every spot to competition. The same is going to happen on the offensive line, at least as far as center, right guard, and right tackle are concerned.
That could very well mean that the Colts task multiple rookies with protecting Andrew Luck next season.
Give the Colts a C grade may seem a little harsh, but the fact of the matter is that many of the players drafted were taken solely on potential and have some serious flaws that could be tough to correct. It should also be noted that the Colts had the lowest grade in the AFC South per Palazzolo. He gave the Texans a C+, the Titans a B-, and the Jaguars an A.
While the Colts biggest need in this draft was arguably pass rush, they have to be credited with not trying to force a pick in a draft light on pass rushers. The Colts didn’t just take a guy to take a guy and stuck with their plan overall. There are still a number of deficiencies on this roster, but hopefully they have at least address the protection issues that have plagued the team for years now.
Check back tomorrow as we look at how each player fits with the team.