The MMQB: Colts Biggest Draft Need is a ‘Defensive Player’
According to The MMQB’s Andy Benoit and Emily Kaplan, the Indianapolis Colts biggest draft need is a ‘defensive player’ with help desperately needed all over their defense.
Right now, the Colts biggest holes appears to be at ‘edge rusher’ and cornerback, but the team could also withstand to improve at inside linebacker, safety, and defensive end on that side of the football:
"15. Indianapolis ColtsMar 2, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano speaks to the media during the 2017 NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY SportsBiggest Need: Defensive PlayerAndy: Sorry to generalize, but sometimes it’s this simple. The Colts should take the best defensive player available with their first-round pick. And their second-rounder. And third-rounder. And probably two of their three picks in the fourth round. This is the NFL’s least talented defense. The fastest way to mask a deficient lineup is to find a dominant edge rusher. The Colts signed Jabaal Sheard, who is now their best defensive lineman. But Sheard is better against the run than the pass. Another way to mask an iffy lineup is to add a lockdown man coverage corner. One of Indy’s few solid starters is Vontae Davis, who can travel with No. 1 receivers outside. If they found a cover artist similar to Davis, they could at least trust their secondary in single coverage, which would expand the blitz packages that Chuck Pagano and defensive coordinator Ted Monachino like."
It’s worth noting that the Colts did sign Jabaal Sheard and John Simon as outside linebackers, but both players are more ‘energy and effort’ players off the edge than ‘pure’ pass rushers. That being said, each player can still offer some pass rush at the position.
Otherwise, the Colts released last year’s starting (oft-injured) cornerback Patrick Robinson, and with last year’s slot cornerback, Darius Butler, transitioning to safety, Indianapolis is left with Rashaan Melvin at the position (along with Vontae Davis) with little else in their cornerback cupboard.
Among the potential prospects for the Colts choosing with the 15th overall pick appear to be Alabama’s Reuben Foster, Tennessee’s Derek Barnett, Temple’s Haason Reddick, and UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley along with other defensive players.
However, The MMQB’s Emily Kaplan offered her own suggestions, with two of those aforementioned prospects mentioned as possibilities:
"Emily: If Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster falls to No. 15, he could be Indianapolis’ first-round guy. Another potential match would be Takkarist McKinley of UCLA. A scout first alerted me to McKinley in October: “Perfect for a 3-4 linebacker in the NFL. Could be the next DeMarcus Ware. Freak athlete.” If the Colts need to build a defense, “the next DeMarcus Ware” isn’t a bad place to start."
It speaks to just how bad the Colts historically woeful defense was last season though that new general manager Chris Ballard can pick almost any position, and he’d be filling an immediate need.
Right now, it looks like the Colts should simply take the best player available on defense because either way, they’d be filling a long-term hole.