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The Top Talent - Who To Take?


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As it stands, the Colts will be in the bottom 3 this year. The Rams and Dolphins could be right there with us. The top NCAA prospects thus far appear to be among the following:

Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

Matt Kalil, OT, USC

Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

Matt Barkley, QB, USC

Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina

David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia

There are also many, many others. Now, this list could stand to see some additions, subtractions, etc. The college season will change things, the NFL will change (ie: teams at the bottom now may not stay there, and vice versa), and prospective needs will change. I would be salivating to get a shot at most of those guys, and the Colts will have a chance to get a top prospect for a change.

As much as it displeases me, as well as those with a brain, taking Andrew Luck is still a popular option. I can see why. He's talented. He appears to be ready to move on. There are a number of good looking QB's near the top, in fact, and we may just end up with the pick of the litter should we choose to go that route. I don't believe it to be the most prudent option, for reasons I've elaborated elsewhere (and smashed the attempted debates in so doing), and I could see us trading down if a QB is the top player on the board when it comes time to choose. Keep in mind, I wouldn't be totally surprised if we did take the top QB available, but we will know more if and when Manning is healthy again. Until that time comes, I think it makes the most sense to look elsewhere. (Subtract the QB's)

I don't expect us to take an OT, either, after taking two of them last time around. Both Castonzo and Ijalana are exceptional talents, and both showed they can play in the NFL. Despite having patchwork guys next to them, and no Peyton Manning to help them out, they will be good once they get healthy. I fully expect them to form our bookends for years to come. (Subtract the OT's)

There's no way we draft a RB high, as their stock is dropping with each season that passes. It will be a while before they become highly valued prospects again. Furthermore, when healthy, I feel as though Addai, Carter, Brown/Evans will be a good package for us. (Subtract RB's)

Taking OG high is a bit of a reach, though we do have needs at the interior positions. Maybe we snag a good looking hog in a later round, or through a trade-down, but definitely not in the top 3. (Subtract OG's)

I don't feel as though the top DT prospects are of the NT mold we so desperately need, and taking another Nevis/Moala would just be superfluous. (Subtract DT's)

That leaves us with (among others):

Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina

All of these are good looking prospects. I feel as though we are strong at LB, though Sims may not hang around after his 1-year deal expires. We will likely try to make room for some of our guys, while also keeping at least one of the Anderson/Brayton pair. If so, we may need to draft a guy here to bulk up. Angerer is playing well, Connor is playing well, but Brackett is frequently injured.

LB is a good choice.

Defensive end may have some questions. Freeney will be 33, and only has 1 more season on his contract after this year. Mathis is in the last year of his contract, and may be due big money. Brayton or Anderson may not stay, and Hughes is a giant question mark at this point. We will need help at DE.

DE is a good choice.

Wayne is getting old, and he's in a contract year. Garcon is also in a contract year, and if he continues to put up relatively impressive numbers with Painter, he may want a pinch more money than he's worth. Gonzo gets injured if he hits the snooze on his alarm wrong. Clark is aging, and seems to be struggling mentally right now. Collie and Garcon are showing positive signs, and I expect them to be the corps of the future for us. Still, another guy outside, or even a speedy big threat, makes Manning a bigger nightmare than most Defensive Coordinators could ever imagine.

WR is a good choice.

Our secondary is a mess. Powers is decent, but he looks frustrated out there. He's being forced to make way too many tackles as a result of missed tackles up front. Those guys are just getting fatigued while our offense sputters it's way to a lot of 3-and-outs in quarters 2 and 3. Lacey got yanked, and we've shuffled the other guys with little success. Our safeties are okay, but we could use some depth. They are also getting little help from the CB's. Lefeged can play, and we know Bethea is a stud.

CB is a good choice.

I could see a case for someone like Quinton Coples, but is it perhaps better to trade down and get more value? Do you trade way down and get the OG's and LB's you need? Do you make the safe pick and go WR? We definitely need CB help, but man-to-man corners don't do us much good. Dre Kirkpatrick had played a little zone, but his aggressive gap coverage has also seen him burnt a few times against collegiate WR's.

Who do you take and why? Do you trade down? If so, with whom?

NOTE: The Cleveland Browns are not a realistic trade. They will not be pursuing another QB, so don't expect them to trade up to 1 if we're there. If they feel they need an OT, or a pass-rushing DE, they might trade up to 2 or 3, but really, I'm expecting they stay put where they are.

Discuss!

Edited by doogansquest
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1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

1b. Landry Jones QB Oklahoma

We are uncertain about Peyton's health and Luck/Jones might be the best prospect that we can get our hands on for the coming years.

2a. Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

I think that Coples could have the ability to rush inside and out. We need more sacks. Plus, he is a better player. He should stop the run better than most of our D-line currently. He could be like a Raheem Brock for us but much better. He would be our Justin Tuck.

2b. Matt Kalil, OT, USC

Peyton is getting older and less mobile. OT are probably the safest picks in the draft. Bringing in a talent like this could solidify our line through the end of Peyton's career and gives us the running game needed for breaking in a young QB.

I don't think that we can get a WR, CB or DT with our first pick because the value for each isn't there, but we should get the best one that drops to the second round. Those are all areas where we could stand to get some quality, but

Edited by GoGoColts
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Agreed with most of what you said Doogan, i don't know how you say Ijalana has proven anything he only played like a half of a game and it took him weeks to get in a game. I'm not saying he won't be ok, but if he can play guard also, i'm not sure we don't at least look at OT. If we do trade way back in the 1st Decastro is a stud.

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Agreed with most of what you said Doogan, i don't know how you say Ijalana has proven anything he only played like a half of a game and it took him weeks to get in a game. I'm not saying he won't be ok, but if he can play guard also, i'm not sure we don't at least look at OT. If we do trade way back in the 1st Decastro is a stud.

I am not fully convinced that Iajalana is going to be a tackle. He doesn't have great feet. He might make a nice right guard. I guess that the organization will get it sorted before the draft.

Edited by GoGoColts
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Just depends on where we draft from

1st pick- Take Luck or trade him away?? My 1st option would be to trade him and get a nice ransom for him. We have so many holes on our team it's not even funny like you stated above, we could solve many problems with the picks we get from Luck.

2nd pick- I'm leaning toward Quinton Coples, he's good against the run and could get to the QB a combination we don't seem to have now. As for Hughes i only see him blitzing from the OLB position, he plays so much better standing up.

3rd pick- It would have to be Justin Blackmon, his overall skill set seems to be the best fit out of all the recievers for the Colts to me!! He has no problem going over the middle and does a great job run blocking. The colts staff just needs to teach him how to secure the ball properly and he should be fine.

If we trade back to the 5th pick or further back a lot of the other names will come in play. I wouldn't mind picking Barkley or Jones from picks 10-15 and also the Cb's Claiborne and Kirkpatrick too.

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I wonder if a guy like Michael Floyd could drop to the second round because of the injuries that he has had in college. He would be a great pick up for a team like the Colts picking high in the second round. It might be a good gamble.

Edited by GoGoColts
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doogan, i agree with your post except for the wr. if manning is healthy he makes average wr's look good. de depends on what happens with mathis.

cb is by far the biggest need! then lb and saftey. it would be nice to have a mlb that doesn't get pushed around. cb's and ot's are supposedly pretty deep, so the only player i would want the colts to use a top pick on would be luck (if manning can't play). i would try to trade out of the top 10 (once or twice) and get extra 1st and 2nd round picks.

Edited by husker61
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During yesterdays Bengals game one of the guys doing the game stated Irsay has said he will take Luck if he has the chance.

But that was based on the overblown and misconstrued statements he made on Twitter suggesting he would "consider" it, as it could be like the Favre/Rodgers situation.

EDIT: let's not turn this into another Luck debate. I'm asking who you guys/girls would take, and why?

Edited by doogansquest
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But that was based on the overblown and misconstrued statements he made on Twitter suggesting he would "consider" it, as it could be like the Favre/Rodgers situation.

EDIT: let's not turn this into another Luck debate. I'm asking who you guys/girls would take, and why?

I don't want to turn this into a Luck debate either, but I would take him if we had the 1st pick. I would take him because, unlike some people, im not completely convinced that Manning will be back for 4 more yrs.. I think it will be 2 yrs. tops. Even if Manning recovers fully from his surgery, it don't change the fact that he's still going into his late 30's and history alone tells everybody that QB's very rarely remain effective at that age. Manning has never been the overly athletic type to begin with and I know for a fact that age starts creeping up on you fast in your late 30's. I know, he's a professional athlete and they keep theirselves in great shape, but I don't care how much you exercise and eat right, after yrs. of football abuse the joints start hurting alot worse and it takes longer to recover. Im just not sure it would be a wise thing to do to pass up on a guy like Luck, (who is probably the best talent to come out of the draft in over a decade), for hopes and dreams that your aging QB somehow defies the odds and plays at a very high level until the age of 40.

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doogan, i agree with your post except for the wr. if manning is healthy he makes average wr's look good. de depends on what happens with mathis.

cb is by far the biggest need! then lb and saftey. it would be nice to have a mlb that doesn't get pushed around. cb's and ot's are supposedly pretty deep, so the only player i would want the colts to use a top pick on would be luck (if manning can't play). i would try to trade out of the top 10 (once or twice) and get extra 1st and 2nd round picks.

I agree...this is why I would trade back and take Manti Te'o, MLB from Notre Dame. Even though CB is the bigger need, there's a more significant drop off in talent at LB. We could go OLB but I think MLB is a more pressing need because I doubt Brackett comes back. Angerer has played admirably at MIKE but like you said it'd be nice to have a MIKE that can make the stop without getting dragged for 2-3 extra yards.

Morris Claiborn would be a great first round pick but due to the depth at CB it would be more of a luxury pick. I say this because we can take Te'o instead and then pick the best CB still available at the top of the 2nd round and there will be several, and it's not completely out of the question that Claiborn might fall to the top of round 2 but I doubt it. Still, there will be some great CB's available in Stephon Gilmore, Chase Minnifield, etc.

I see what you're saying about WR but one thing we have to consider is life after Manning (wait us trade-down folks aren't supposed to be thinking about that are we? Lol I kid, I kid). Yes Manning can make average receivers look great an elite WR would help make the transition to the next QB easier. For this reason, as well as the tendency the Colts FO has had for drafting offensive skill players early, I could see them taking a WR early. If they take one in the first round my preference goes to Michael Floyd. However, much like the CB position, WR is very deep and we could still get a great outside WR at the top of the 2nd and if we do go the trade down route then we should wind up with at least 2 picks in round 2. One could be used on CB and the other on either WR. However, also in the trade down scenario, we would receive at the very least an additional first round pick in 2013 so we could take a mid round WR like Reuben Randle if he declares and he'd most likely be there in the 4th-5th rounds. Or Marquis Maze who could be a very good slot WR. Then next year we could go DE and WR and that would allow us to use the additional 2nd round pick this year on SS or OG, and whichever position we don't take here we could address at the top of round 3.

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I don't want to turn this into a Luck debate either, but I would take him if we had the 1st pick. I would take him because, unlike some people, im not completely convinced that Manning will be back for 4 more yrs.. I think it will be 2 yrs. tops. Even if Manning recovers fully from his surgery, it don't change the fact that he's still going into his late 30's and history alone tells everybody that QB's very rarely remain effective at that age. Manning has never been the overly athletic type to begin with and I know for a fact that age starts creeping up on you fast in your late 30's. I know, he's a professional athlete and they keep theirselves in great shape, but I don't care how much you exercise and eat right, after yrs. of football abuse the joints start hurting alot worse and it takes longer to recover. Im just not sure it would be a wise thing to do to pass up on a guy like Luck, (who is probably the best talent to come out of the draft in over a decade), for hopes and dreams that your aging QB somehow defies the odds and plays at a very high level until the age of 40.

It's not about hopes and dreams. It's about filling massive holes elsewhere that we dont have at QB. Those players help going forward, as Luck may eventually, but they also help now, which Luck doesn't. Football is MORE about the present than it is the future.

We aren't going on my hopes and dreams, but I sure hope we aren't going on your gut instincts that think Manning only has two years left. What has he done that matches up with historic trends? Nothing. He plays, studies, and breaks records like no one before him. He's also extremely durable, and hasn't shown signs of decline.

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In all seriousness, these are the scenarios I could see playing out - thus further proving just how difficult it is to work an NFL front office, despite what many fans think:

* Manning is recovering slowly, and it's possible he may never get back to 100%. This becomes evident in his workouts, and what limited practice time he sees before season's end. Another scenario would be that some team actually takes an interest in Painter based on his 2011 performance, and thus we can't afford to keep him (unlikely, but I've seen stranger). In order to avoid a potential disaster, the Colts draft Andrew Luck (if we're 1st pick), or the next best QB by trading down if we're not #1.

NOTE: All other scenarios pretty much assume Manning's recovery is going smoothly.

* Mathis wants money, or the market value on him is higher than anticipated. Freeney's contract is due after next season, and he'll be 33. Hughes isn't quite progressing as we'd hoped, and either Anderson or Brayton (or both) will be gone. Therefore, we draft Quinton Coples without question. He's great against the run, athletic enough to generate a pass rush, and much larger than our current DE mold at 6'6" 280+. There isn't another DE within miles of his talent, and he will likely play day 1.

* We re-sign Mathis, keep Anderson, and Hughes is showing us enough to breathe a little at the DE spot. The question then becomes whether or not we keep Wayne, Garcon, and Gonzo. Gonzo is probably gone, even though he would come cheap. He is just not durable. Garcon may demand a pinch more money if his numbers continue to swell with Painter, and Wayne is getting far too old to pay #1 WR money. He's still productive, but we may now be thin at this spot. Giving us another stud on the outside, or bringing up a target to prep the next QB, would become a high priority. We draft Justin Blackmon, Alshon Jeffery, or trade down for Michael Floyd.

* Brackett is getting old, and his body is betraying him. We can't afford to keep everybody, so Sims may be gone, and Connor seems weak in pass coverage. Obviously Wheeler is a situational guy. I'd like to move Angerer back to his original position and bolster our LB corps with some size, physicality, and young, talented leadership. The Colts trade down and snag Monti Te'o. This position could wait for a later round, however.

* Our secondary leaves a lot to be desired, and there's a wealth of talented CB's in the 1st round of the draft. We could trade down for Dre Kirkpatrick or Morris Claiborne, or wait until round 2 for Minnifield, Rhodes, or Gilmore.

These are my predictions. Polian has stumped us all before, and while there have been questionable moments, he's often proven us wrong. The guy knows what he's doing, and I'm sure these thoughts are just a speck on the galaxy of ideas his front office has been mulling.

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Another possibility to put under the Manning's recovery goes according to plan is trade back and take the best OG in the draft. I think we're set with Castonzo and Ijalana as the bookend OT's but the interior of the line needs to be addressed. Personally I'd rather wait until the 2nd or 3rd to address OG but I wouldn't really be all that upset if they took the best OG later in the first round.

I agree about the LB core...I don't think Wheeler and Conner were the 2 starters at OLB that we really want. We were kind of forced into starting them with Brackett going out and having to move Angerer into the middle. I would prefer to move Angerer back to the outside and would actually like to see how he does at WILL if we were to have a strong MIKE (perhaps in Te'o) and SAM (possibly Edds if he shows he can be a player in the NFL..SAM was his position at Iowa). I think we could have a very strong LB core with Te'o in the middle and the best combo on the outsides between Conner, Angerer, Wheeler and Edds. Historically, LB isn't a position the colts typically take in the first round but Bill was doing the drafting during those days. Chris may take a different approach (as we saw last year with the unprecedented drafting of OL in rounds 1 and 2) and this could also change if there winds up being coaching changes. if we don't take LB early then I'd like to see maybe James Michael Johnson targeted in a mid round.

In all honesty though, based on Colts drafting history, I think the biggest possibilities in the first round are either Coples (if Mathis doesn't re-sign) or trade back and draft CB Morris Claiborn, OG Cordy Glenn or OG David DeCastro.

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If our draft position is....

Pick #1

A - With Manning back full strength and throwing with full velocity....AND...with full intentions of playing out his 4 years, TRADE the pick for NFL trade value of 3000 points PLUS a premium of 1000 additional points in additional picks. Reference - NFL Trade Value Chart - http://walterfootbal.../draftchart.php

B - With the slightest doubt of any of the above factors...which I believe the doctors and/or Peyton will make clear to the team....draft Andrew Luck.

Pick #2

Target Quinton Coples....but listen to offers from QB-hungry teams who may want Landry Jones in the two-spot. Trade down to the #7 thru #10 range if the offer is par value PLUS a 300 point premium....basically an extra 2nd rounder according to the trade chart.

For reference...Cleveland got a premium of an extra 3rd rounder in the Julio Jones deal at the #5 spot. I know....it seemed like alot more, but go ahead and add it up.

Pick #3

Assuming Landry Jones is gone at #2....draft Coples.

Pick #7 thru #10 (trade down scenario from Pick #2)

Draft Dre Kirkpatrick.

IMO.....DT/CB/DE are all glaring or emerging need areas....but it appears need and value won't intersect for a Top 10 DT selection in this draft....which really sucks.

So pending Manning's medical outcome....I favor Andrew Luck, Quinton Coples and Dre Kirkpatrick as draft position or trade downs dictate.

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Pick #2

Target Quinton Coples....but listen to offers from QB-hungry teams who may want Landry Jones in the two-spot. Trade down to the #7 thru #10 range if the offer is par value PLUS a 300 point premium....basically an extra 2nd rounder according to the trade chart.

For reference...Cleveland got a premium of an extra 3rd rounder in the Julio Jones deal at the #5 spot. I know....it seemed like alot more, but go ahead and add it up.

I just wanted to add to this....there are several players that could garner enough interest that teams may be very willing to move up for them. I'm thinking Quinton Coples, Matt Kalil, Landry Jones, Matt Barkley, Alshon Jeffery and Justin Blackmon just to name a few could garner enough interest that a team would move up into #2-4 spots to draft them. I've always favored the multiple trade down approach. :)

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