We could definitely see a running back be drafted on the first day by the Colts. With a deep class of running backs, the Colts could easily get top prospect with the second round pick. Right now, the Colts have five running backs. They are the former first round pick Joseph Addai, sixth round pick Mike Hart who is coming off of a serious knee injury, Clifton Dawson, the Harvard grad who was IRed last season and a pair of undrafted free agents in Lance Ball and Chad Simpson. Addai is a former Pro Bowler and the rest have potential, but they will need an upgrade. Even if Dominic Rhodes is resigned, it won't be enough.
The Colts could take a running back anywhere in this draft. It's deep enough that a future starter could be found in any round Unlike my last preview of quarterbacks, I will have to break this down by round. There are so many options.
Knowshon Moreno, Georgia: Knowshon is the best back in this class by far. He only played two years at Georgia, but he was amazing from the beginning. Knowshon could do everything. He was a physical back but he could also break a huge run. He is an accomplished pass blocker and receiver out of the backfield. If he drops, I don't see how the Colts wouldn't take him. I like Hakeem Nicks and Peria Jerry a lot, but Moreno could end up being a Pro Bowler from his first season. An Addai-Moreno-Hart trio with a competent run blocking offensive line (unlike last year's) would be lethal. If the Colts could get him, the offense would be the best and most balanced in the league.
Chris "Beanie" Wells, Ohio State: I do not like Ohio State at all, but don't think that has any influence on my opinion on Beanie. He's not what the Colts need. Frankly, he is injury prone. I guess if Polian wants to take a risk on a talented player, Beanie is his guy. He's a good power back, but I don't want to see another Colt get hurt. It's bad enough already. I wouldn't write off Beanie just because no one knows what Polian will do and he loves the Big Ten players, but I wouldn't be too sure of the pick.
LeSean McCoy, Pitt: McCoy is a good receiver and has good speed. He will likely go at the bottom of the first or top of the second. I think some teams would benefit greatly from drafting him. The Colts aren't one. Look at the weaknesses listed by Mocking the Draft.
"Needs to get stronger. McCoy often tries to go off tackle instead of just charging up the middle to get the tough yards...Likes to cutback a lot but doesn't have the greatest quickness so this area of his game may translate poorly to the next level."
Does that remind you of a current Colts running back?
Donald Brown, UConn: Brown annoys me. He could be the Colts first round pick or else he could fall to the third round. His stock is everywhere. I will go with placing him in the second round like I did in my mock draft I did a while back. The Colts could benefit from his running style. He does everything that Addai doesn't. He hits the hole hard and sets up his blockers well. A mix of Brown and Addai would keep both of them healthy and give the Colts a true change of pace. Brown would be a great pick in the second round.
Rashad Jennings, Liberty: KingRichard's mancrush is really a great running back. If we draft him I would be thrilled. Anytime you see a 6-1, 232 pound running back run a 4.52 forty, you should get more info. Everything Jennings has done since transferring from Pitt has been impressive. He transferred because of family issues, not for a lack of talent. He was actually their second leading rusher as a freshman. He has improved as a receiver and is hard to take down. If Moreno and Brown don't fall to the Colts, Jennings is the best option left at running back.
Shonn Greene, Iowa: Greene is the best mid-round power back. He has all of the moves to be a great power back. However, he has had poor grades and is not the fastest back. Personally, I would not take him. However, if Caldwell can get him into shape and make him faster, he could be a great back.
Javon Ringer, Michigan State: The Big Ten has thrown out a nice class this year. Ringer has a good work ethic according to his coaches and is a good pass catcher. The problem with Ringer is that he is too small to be a power back and too slow to be a speed back. Either he gets stronger or gets faster or else he will plummet in the draft. His pro day 40 will be huge for him.
Kory Sheets, Purdue: I hate myself for liking a Purdue player. Kory Sheets is actually perfect for the Colts. He's quick, a good receiver and could return kicks. I'm sure the Colts wouldn't overuse him, which is a big concern. The more scouting reports I read the more I like him. All I have to do is think about the Notre Dame-Purdue game and I will realize how much Purdue sucks...There we go.
Ian Johnson, Boise State: I hate the 40 yard dash, but Ian Johnson's did tell me something. He showed up much bigger than expected to the Combine but ran a 4.46 forty. People were waiting for him to put on some weight, and he did it. Ian Johnson has had injury problems, but I was really impressed that he got up to 212 pounds from 195 without losing speed.
Javarris Williams, Tennessee State: For a sixth round pick, he could become a factor in games. He doesn't have a glaring weakness. The reason why he is projected so low is because he isn't great at anything. However, he could be great as a change-of-pace back who isn't expected to be a star. The sixth rounder combination of Hart and Williams would both take a huge load off of Addai.
7th and undrafted
Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern: I always enjoyed watching Sutton. He has a great motor and plays tough. He ran a slow forty time at the Combine, but I don't think anyone ran a fast one. Something was up with that. Either way, Sutton got up to 211 pounds. If he drops out of the draft, expect him to get a lot of interest in UDFAs. If he doesn't get drafted, I would love to see what he would do with the Colts. I personally think he is a much better back than Ball and Simpson.
Marcus Thigpen, Indiana: Hey, I have to balance it between IU and Purdue to be fair. Thigpen was one of the best returners in college football as a junior, but he slacked as a senior. After reading BBS's article on Ray Rychleski, I think he could get him back to his dominant state. Thigpen would be useless in the running game as he is way too small and didn't produce at IU.
Anthony Kimble, Stanford: When i was watching the Notre Dame-Stanford game, I noticed that Kimble was a hell of a back. He is a bruiser but small for a power back at 216 pounds. However, size doesn't matter as Gary Brackett and Robert Mathis have shown us. If Huey can get him to get bigger but not lose speed, he could be a great UDFA.
So after reading a bunch of scouting reports on running backs we will probably never hear about after the draft, I have decided that Kory Sheets is the best option for the Colts. If the Colts could draft a defensive tackle, wide receiver and linebacker or offensive tackle in the first three rounds, Sheets would make this a stacked class even before Polian finds his usual late day gems. Why did he have to go to Purdue???