With the 2017 draft quickly approaching, everyone (Especially Colts fans) has an idea of what areas the front office should address first. Most opinions fall on the defensive side of the ball since that was clearly the team's biggest problem not only last year, but for the past several to be fair. That's understandable. However, if the Colts went in a completely different direction and drafted say, a RB does that mean the Colts won't be able to address the holes in their defense? Let's explore the possibilities of that for second.
Contrary to popular belief, drafting a RB with the 14th overall pick wouldn't exactly spell "Phillip Dorsett" all over again. While a lot of Colts fans would probably be disappointed with the selection, this in no way shape or form would be a disastrous thing to do, especially with the available talent that will be there when the Colts are on the clock. Let's take a trip down memory lane, 1999 to be exact. Die-hard Colts fans should remember that year forever since we witnessed the birth of the "triplets." That was the year the team drafted Edgerrin James. The Colts went from 3-13 to 13-3 as James's presence provided balance to a Colts offense that would ultimately take them to another level. James took a lot of pressure off of Peyton Manning because he was a threat to take it to the house at any given moment. When you give a QB of Manning's caliber (Or Luck for that matter) a running game that opponents have to respect it opens up the field in ways that make it darn near impossible for the opposition to stop. The byproduct of that is that great offenses can also make mediocre defenses look "un-mediocre." A lot of people also forget that as good as Kurt Warner was in his 1st two years with the Rams, "The Greatest Show on Turf's" most important player was not their Cinderella storied QB. It was RB Marshall Faulk. Faulk was the glue that made that offense as prolific as it was because he was such a dynamic threat as both a runner and wr out of the backfield. Still not convinced? How about Terrell Davis and John Elway? For all of Elway's masterful brilliance as one of the best QBs to ever play the game, he didn't win a SB until the Broncos front office gave him a true all around RB to play with. By adding a viable RB to the Colts backfield not only are you adding a home-run threat to Indy's backfield, but you're also addressing the team's future successor to Gore.
At 14 the Colts will have their pick of some really good backs, and since it's highly unlikely that the kind of defensive day one difference maker will be available when the Colts are on the clock the smart choice would be to take one of the top RBs, especially if someone like Joe Mixon or Dalvin Cook is still on the board. Mixon in particular will probably fall due to character issues, but remembering what GM Chris Ballard said about drafting rookies that "pop off the tape consistently," Mixon definitely does just that. If not for his 2014 assault incident, Mixon would be in the top 2 conversation as the best RB prospect coming out of college. His size, speed and vision are rare combinations, reminiscent of Adrian Peterson except with better hands. I know he probably won't be drafted in the 1st round but if there's any chance the Colts can get him in the second, all reasonable options should be considered. All that said, does that mean the Colts don't get their defense fixed by drafting another weapon for Andrew Luck? The short and long answer is "No" it doesn't. What a lot of people seem to forget is that the Colts have over 50 million in cap space. With that kind of cheddar they can go "Costco" on ya via free-agency. I've said this before and will say it again. You don't draft a defensive player 1-15 unless he's a day one difference maker as a starter. You don't draft "projects" that high. You draft day one starters. If you can't get a starter when you're on the clock that high then you have to go BPA. I know some fans will ask: "But what about protecting Luck with drafting another O-lineman?" Again, if you can't get a day one difference maker even at that position are you really addressing it, especially since there's no guarantee that said player will ever develop into a starter? If the Colts do indeed draft a RB not only are the probable impact possibilities greater at RB, but adding a versatile threat to the backfield would not only add more juice to the offense, but even that would protect Luck better because teams won't be able to tee off and focus solely on him. Make no mistake, I'm not saying that my formula is the only one that's correct out there. Still, I have a hunch that the team's new GM will utilize free agency to fill more holes than many might expect, and that's regardless of the references he made regarding the draft at his introduction about "Growing your own." At any rate this should be an interesting off-season. One I think many of us can't wait to get underway.