The general consensus this year is the Colts most glaring need is on the Offensive Line, specifically at Left Tackle. I'm also a firm believer that a franchise LT must be taken in the first 2 rounds, much like QB and DE. At the beginning of the draft season, Indiana OT Rodger Saffold was a guy that the Colts would look at with their 2nd round pick, #63 overall. Ever since the Senior Bowl, however, Saffold has slowly been creeping up draft boards, first into the middle of the 2nd round, then to the beginning of the 2nd round, and finally, today, our own BBS interviewed NFL Network Draft Expert Mike Mayock, and he said:
I don't think [Rodger] Saffold gets past Bill Polian at #31.
That's quite a jump in value. Some stats on Saffold:
Experience is definitely not an issue for him. All 41 games were started at LT, which is exactly what the Colts would expect him to play. His senior year, in 12 games, only gave up 1 sack, and the entire Indiana OL only gave up 16 all season, ranking in the top 30 nationally. He was named Second Team All Big Ten, behind consensus top 15 pick Bryan Bulaga from Iowa.
Saffold really started making a name for himself at the Senior Bowl. From NFLDraftScout.com:
He especially stood out during East-West Shrine Game practices as potentially the top player on either team - on either side of the ball - because of his footwork in pass protection and excellent strength and pop on inside run drills.
At first, I was hesitant to think Saffold would be a good value pick at #31. However, after doing some reading, I can see why Mayock would say what he did. I would not be surprised if he ends up a Colt by late Thursday night.
Uses his athleticism and strength to get out in front of rush ends and hold them off to protect the quarterback's blind side. Strong punch and extends fully to push his man off his path. Has a wide base and strong anchor, rarely getting pushed back. Deep angle in his kick slide. Good recovery after a misstep and doesn't give up the inside lane. Needs to keep his feet moving after initial contact, as he will let up a bit. Wide ends give him a bit of trouble with their quickness; he will lunge instead of continuing his lateral movement...Explodes from his stance as a run blocker. Turns his man out of the hole, even jumping inside the tackle to do so...Not asked to trap or pull often. Would need to show the quick feet behind the line needed to succeed, but certainly has the strength and flexibility to take out and sustain against targets between the tackles...Vocal leader willing to get into teammates, but also there to congratulate them on a big play. Plays with a mean streak through the whistle, does not back down from a challenge thrown down by a defender.
Excellent athleticism --- Natural knee bender --- Shows nimble feet and polished footwork --- Nice balance and agility --- Able to protect the edge --- Understands positioning and angles --- Mobile with terrific range --- Offers some positional versatility --- Tough --- A hard worker -- Leader --- Lots of experience versus quality competition.
Doesn't have real long arms --- Not very strong or powerful --- Isn't overly stout at the point of attack --- Lacks a violent initial punch --- Does not always finish blocks --- Durability might be a concern.
I think I agree with Mike Mayock. I don't see how Polian passes on Rodger Saffold. Lots of experience playing LT, quick, and a leader. Only concern is limited experience pulling in the run game, which means we won't know how well he can block the stretch play. However, with Peyton getting older every year, we may see the Colts running less and less stretch plays. We've seen it the last two years. The Colts could do a lot worse than Saffold.