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The Offseason Reading Series #3: Dissecting the 15th overall pick

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In this edition of the Offseason Reading Series, we dissect the 15th overall pick.


Previous ORS installments:

ORS1: The best Indianapolis Colts team ever

ORS2: Which Indianapolis Colt are you?


With the recent news that the Colts lost the coin flip with the Vikings/Eagles (I blame Pagano), it has been determined that the Colts will be drafting 15th overall in this year’s draft.  Let’s take a deeper look into the history of this pick and what kind of talent is available.


What’s the value?
Per the commonly used draft pick  value chart, the 15th overall pick is worth 1050 points.  This is roughly equivalent to two picks from the top of the 2nd round.  As someone who firmly believes in trading back to acquire more picks, and thus bring more players to your team, this pick would have the same value as trading for the 25th and 57th overall picks (currently held by the Houston Texans).  It’s also roughly equal to trading back to the 29th pick and also acquiring the 61st and 93rd overall picks (all currently held by the Packers).  Neither of those trades are very likely, but I’m still a strong believer that you should always consider trading back from your current pick to acquire more picks, even if those picks are for future drafts.


The last 10 years
In general, there is tons of talent available at 15th overall.  I was actually very impressed after looking at the last 10 years worth of selections.  Let’s take a look and see who has been selected 15th overall in the last 10 years.


2007: Pittsburgh Steelers selected Lawrence Timmons, LB, Florida State

1X Pro Bowler, 1X Second team All-Pro, 1X Super Bowl Champion

2008: Kansas City Chiefs selected Branden Albert, OL, Virginia

2X Pro Bowler
2009: Houston Texans selected Brian Cushing, LB, USC

1X Pro Bowler, 1X Second team All-Pro

2010: New York Giants selected Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida

2X Pro Bowler, 1X First team All-Pro, 1X Super Bowl Champion

2011: Miami Dolphins selected Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida

5X Pro Bowler, 2X First team All-Pro, 2X Second team All-Pro

2012: Seattle Seahawks selected Bruce Irvin, DE, West Virginia

1X Super Bowl Champion

2013: New Orleans Saints selected Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

2014: Pittsburgh Steelers selected Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

1X Pro Bowler

2015: San Diego Chargers selected Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

1X Pro Bowler

2016: Cleveland Browns selected Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor


When you look at what side of the ball is the focus of the last 10 selections, it is slightly favoured towards the defense, as 6/10 players are defensive players and 4/10 are offensive players.  Out of 10 years drafted, there are 3 LBs, 2 OLs, 2 DEs, 1 S, 1 WR, and 1 RB.  Every single player listed is still in the NFL.


Of the 10 selections, the pick changed hands via trade half of those times: 2016, 2015, 2012, 2008, and 2007.


Up to this point, the 10 above players have resulted in 13 Pro Bowl selections, three 1st team All-Pro selections, four 2nd team All-Pro selections, and 3 Super Bowl championships.  The only players to have not made the Pro Bowl from these selections are Kenny Vaccaro and Corey Coleman.  It’s impressive that 8/10 players (8/9 if you exclude Coleman, who spent most of last season on IR) have made the Pro Bowl.


What do the big boards say?
It’s impossible to tell who will be available at the 15th overall pick and how the Colts have set up their big board.  However, due to curiosity, let’s take a look at what prospect various scouts/”experts” have ranked as 15th overall and whether they would be a good fit for the Colts.

Blake Wyatt of USA Today: Tim Williams, EDGE, Alabama
CBS Sports: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Drafttek: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Matt Miller of the Bleacher Report: David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL)
Eric Galko of Sporting News: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Rob Rang of CBS Sports: Jabrill Peppers, S/OLB, Michigan
Charlie Campbell of Walter Football: Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
Turf Show Times: DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Scouts Inc.: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan


As you can see, there isn't much consensus on who is the 15th best prospect in this draft.  This isn't unusual, as after the top 5(ish) picks, draft boards can vary wildly.  Obviously, these websites do not mock the Colts to select any of these players.  This is just who they have ranked 15th overall in their big boards.  Tim Williams, Teez Tabor, Adoree’ Jackson, and Jabrill Peppers make the most sense since the Colts desperately need defensive help.  Rankings change significantly over time, so the above players might not be the 15th ranked prospects on those respective big boards in a few weeks.  These are the 15th ranked prospects as of March 4, 2017.


What do the mocks say?

We know the recent history of the 15th overall pick; we know who some people have as their 15th best prospect in the draft.  Now let’s take a look at what various mock drafts say the Colts will do with the 15th overall pick.


Jared Dubin of CBS Sports: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Maurice Moton of the Bleacher Report: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Charley Casserly of NFL.com: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Walter Football: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Drafttek: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama*
*Drafttek was last updated March 1, before the coin toss.  They have the Colts selected Humphrey with the 14th overall pick while the Eagles select Sidney Jones, CB, Washington with the 15th overall pick


There isn’t much consensus.  Most mocks have the Colts taking a defensive player, though the only player to show up on more than one mock was Dalvin Cook.  For the record, I am strongly against taking a running back in the first round.  Cook is a great talent, but I still think you get better value out of the pick if you go elsewhere.  As with big boards, mock drafts can change a lot as we get closer to the draft.  These are who the mocks have selected for the Colts as of March 4, 2017.


The take-home message:
There is a lot of talent available at the 15th overall pick.  If we go by the history, we’re likely to find a Pro Bowl talent player on the defensive side of the ball.  Of course, the history of this pick has no impact on what the Colts do with it in the 2017 draft.  While I still think the Colts would be wise to consider trading back and getting more picks, there is no doubt that Chris Ballard will have a very talented pool of players from which to choose.


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