While Shake 'n Bake, TheAngelsColts and others over at Mockingthedraft may have more expertise on doing these 7-round mocks, I've been trying my hand at them. I've done four over at my site, and the following is the result of the most recent one for the Colts. You can check out the whole thing here, if you want (and feel free to peruse the site, you know, if you're not busy).
Round 1-Pick 31
Rodger Saffold OT Indiana: I'm not a huge Saffold fan. He's got short arms, and while he is athletic, he wasn't anywhere near as fast at the Combine as Trent Williams or Bruce Campbell. I think of him as a poor man's Bryan Bulaga. Like Bulaga (who also has short arms), he's got lots of starting experience against the best Big Ten pass rushers like Brandon Graham and O'Brien Schofield. That said, he was only a slight reach here, and all of the other top tackles, Graham, Devin McCourty and Maurkice Pouncey were all off the board. Since I wasn't assuming any trades in this draft, I figured Saffold was the most likely bet. Most mockers have him going in the top 1/3rd of the second round, and Polian rarely cares what mock drafters think anyway. If he likes a guy, he takes him regardless of his projection. If nothing else, he'd be an upgrade for the Colts at LT who could probably start right away.
Round 2-Pick 62
Amari Spievey CB Iowa: Given the Colts' affinity for Big Ten defensive backs, and Spievey's good combo of size, speed and zone cover skills, I thought this was a no-brainer. With tackle already addressed, acquiring good CB depth seemed like a must. Spievey has some upside too. Some scouts believe if he came out next year, after his senior season, he'd be a first round pick. According to most mocks, this is still a bit of a reach. But after the mid 3rd in this particular mock, the CB talent took a serious plunge, so I thought the 62nd pick was the time to grab a good one.
Round 3-Pick 94
Matt Tennant C Boston College: Tennant isn't one of the big, mauling types the Colts have recently been trying to acquire, but he's a smart, very experienced lineman who's good in pass pro, and has the brains to help run this offense. If he can bulk up a bit, or get better run blocking technique, he should be ready to replace Jeff Saturday as soon as 2011 (if we have football in 2011). I'm not saying Saturday will be gone then, but it's time to start seriously thinking about replacing him, and Polian's last few tries seem like whiffs.
Round 4-Pick 126
Kyle Calloway OT Iowa: Calloway's a natural RT, and with him and Saffold on the roster the Colts would have two guys who'd be ready to step in and start at either tackle spot right away. Calloway's got good size, and he'd allow Diem to kick inside and compete for the RG spot in camp. Diem's washed up, and in my opinion, has been exposed in pass pro since Tarik Glenn retired. Calloway's basically a younger, possibly better version.
Round 5-Pick 158
C.J. Wilson DE East Carolina: I think restocking DE should be a huge priority for the Colts this draft. Really, they need two DEs; a pass-rushing specialist and a utility-type like Brock. Wilson could really fill both needs. He's got great size (6'3 290) and isn't terrible against the run like some of the other DEs in this draft range. In fact, some people talk about how he could play DE in a 3-4. I think he's more of a 4-3 guy. He's got near sub-4.8 speed. With a little experience and practice against the run, Wilson could be a starter for the Colts, or at least get starter's snaps, like Brock did for all those years, and they could move Mathis back to situational pass rushing, where he's probably most effective.
Round 7-Pick 222
Joe Pawelek MLB Baylor: Some mocks have Pawelek going as high as the fifth, others have him not being drafted at all. He doesn't have much hype because he wasn't even invited to the Combine, but he's got decent measurables, plenty of production and good tape. By all accounts, he's a smart guy and a good leader. The Colts don't necessarily need a middle linebacker after locking up Brackett long term, but I think most of us can agree they need more talent in the LB corps in general, and they need some smart, hard-working guys on special teams. Pawelek could be this team's MLB starter in three years or so if/when Brackett decides to hang 'em up, and in my opinion, if he were available here, he'd be a great value.
Comp Pick 1
Jon Amaya S Nevada: The Colts are pretty good at finding good DB value in the late rounds and in free agency. If Amaya's available here, and he was in my mock, I feel like he's a steal. He's got good size and speed, is very good in coverage and has lots of experience. The Colts are one legit safety away from being completely stacked at the position. With Amaya replacing Silva in the rotation, the Colts won't have any coverage liabilities on the field if Sanders and/or Bethea get hurt. I don't know what kind of a special teamer he'd make, and this may be a spot where the Colts try to find those types of guys, but he'd be a great insurance policy and perhaps a future replacement for Melvin Bullitt.
Comp Pick 2
Sherrick McManis CB Northwestern: Another solid Big Ten DB, McManis has prototypical size and a sub 4.5-40 time. He's good in coverage, and plays the ball very well. He'd be another late round "Colts-type" of DB value. With him and Spievey shoring up the CB group, there'd be no reason to sift through UDFAs to try and find the next Jacob Lacey. The team would be pretty-well stocked and could look for good DT values after the draft.
I know I didn't include any DTs. I'd be receptive to some, especially considering the team's two starters could both be gone as soon as 2011. But my feeling was that the Colts are really good at finding DT values after the draft, and Fili Moala should make some sort of a leap this year anyway (hopefully). Besides, having Bob Sanders back, and getting good play from the OLBs will go a long way to improving the run D in this system.
Also, I'm not stuck on any of these players. I feel like Polian does a pretty good job this time of year (save some troubling O-line misses), and I'm certainly no expert, so if he goes an entirely different direction, I wouldn't be surprised. For instance, there's some feeling out there that the Colts could use a TE in the mid-rounds. It wouldn't surprise me if he drafted one considering how deep the TE class looks this year. Also, as has been the case in the past, some trades are likely, they're just not reflected here.
What I don't think they'll do:
1. Draft a DT early-There are some really good DTs who could be available in the 3rd or 4th (Geno Atkins, Tyson Alualu, Arthur Jones, Lamarr Houston). After McCoy/Suh, there's a talent drop. I don't think there's much of a value difference between Brian Price/Jared Odrick and those 3rd-4th round-projected guys I mentioned, so why jump on DT early?
2. Draft a kicker-It's been a popular sentiment that the Colts need a PK, and I don't disagree, it's just that there are so many other needs, and good kickers are often available after the draft. Besides, if AV's healthy, he's not bad at what we need him to do (kick 30-45 yard FGs).
3. Draft a LB in the first three rounds. Although I love Sean Weatherspoon (if you look at my mock, he's not available at 31) I'd be a little upset if the Colts spent a top 100 draft pick on a LB if it weren't him. Polian rarely does it, and if Tyjaun Hagler comes back healthy, getting one late would seem smarter, and more his style.