INDIANAPOLIS – The season of the Indianapolis Colts ended off with a game-winning drive from Andrew Luck to lead them with an 8-8 record. Even with the victory, for the second straight year the Colts did not make the playoffs, and it is evident that there still a ton of issues with the Organization as a whole, and in order to be consistent year in and year out, the Colts must find a way to solve these issues.
Depth at the Corner Position
While the Colts have Vontae Davis, the Pro Bowl corner is sidelined very often due to injury. With Davis injured most of the time, as well as the Patrick Robinson experiment not turning out as planned, the Colts have had to rely on players such as Rashaad Melvin and Darius Butler more than they have liked.
Solution: Early-to-mid round Draft Pick
It is more than likely, the Colts will sign depth at Free Agency, but they should also be looking at spending an early draft pick on a corner. After this season, Patrick Robinson still has one year left on his deal, meaning drafting a corner early in April’s draft wouldn’t be the worst idea, due to the fact that he will not be rushed into action right away, as he would be playing behind Robinson.
Projected Corners in the 2nd or 3rd Round: Jourdan Lewis (Michigan), Tre’Davious White (LSU), Gareon Conley (OSU)
Once again, the Colts face the same situation about the protection of Andrew Luck. While they did attempt to fix it during the offseason by drafting Ryan Kelly, Le’Raven Clark, Joe Haeg, Austin Blythe and hiring Joe Philbin. While it has had its good moments, the line continues to leave Luck out dry, as according to Pro Football Focus, Luck has been pressured on 44% of his dropbacks.
Solution: Free Agency
After spending most of their draft picks on offensive linemen last season, the Colts have a plethora of young linemen with potential. While it doesn’t hurt to draft even more prospects, the Colts should look to spend some money this time around on veteran linemen, for example a Joe Thomas of some sorts, to model for the young pass protectors, and at the same time not rushing the young players to action with the acquisition of free agents.
Free Agent Options: Ryan Schraeder (RT, Falcons), T.J. Lang (G, Packers), Jonathan Cooper (G, Browns)
In the few moves made the by the Colts in Free Agency last season, the biggest mistake was letting Jerrell Freeman walk to Chicago. Before his PED suspension, Freeman was rated a 92, according to Pro Football Focus, the top rating among Inside Linebackers. Sio Moore was a disappointment, and D’Qwell Jackson getting up there in age, the Colts should look to upgrade the position.
Solution: Either second round draft pick or Free Agency
While there are solid options in the first round of the draft, the Colts should look to drafting a pass rusher before anything else. If the Colts think otherwise, Zach Cunningham from Vanderbilt, or Reuben Foster from Alabama would fit the bill. But if the Blue and White explore other options outside the first round, Raekwon McMillan from The Ohio State University would not be a bad idea.
On the other hand, Free Agency provides a nice short-term option for the team. If the team decides that Antonio Morrison, their 4th round pick from last season is the answer at Inside Linebacker alongside Edwin Jackson, who played well for the Colts down the stretch when D’Qwell Jackson got hit with a 4-game suspension. Edwin Jackson did not prove himself enough to earn a starting job, meaning testing the Free Agent waters for depth should be done.
Options: Brandon Spikes (Buffalo), Kiko Alonso (Miami)
Robert Mathis has retired from the National Football League, and Trent Cole has not been productive with the team, meaning for whoever is in charge this off-season MUST address the Pass Rush. The Colts ranked tied for 19th in sacks, and ranked dead last in the league in pressuring the Quarterback, doing so only 58 times.
Solution: Early draft pick and/or pay the price in Free Agency
The Colts hold the 15th pick in the draft, meaning there will still be some solid pass rushers available at that time, as the Colts can draft either and Defensive End (due to the injury-riddled season from Kendall Langford) or Outside Linebacker as both positions are needed.
Prospects available: Taco Charlton (Michigan), Tim Williams (Alabama), Jabrill Peppers (Michigan), Malik McDowell (Michigan State), Derrick Barnett (Tennessee)
Other Needs the Colts should address:
- Depth at Wide Reciever
- A young Running Back