It's not that different from Version 4.0, which I did like, but there are still a few changes I made to it in the later rounds. Lemme know what you think.1st Round - Andrew Luck, QB - Yup.
2nd Round - Stephon Gilmore, CB - I'm still like Gilmore more than I like Minnifield. I think Gilmore has comparable athleticism to Gilmore and better size and strength. While Gilmore has shown some inconsistency, Minnifield has as well, so I'll take the guy with the higher ceiling.
3rd Round - Alameda Ta'amu, DT - I was criticized for drafting Ta'amu in the fourth round in my latest mock draft, so I have accordingly moved him up a round. I really like his ability to play nose tackle and hold his point of attack with his great anchor strength and his high motor that helps him overcome some of his physical limitations in generating a pass rush. I really like what Ta'amu could do for our offensive line.
4th Round - George Iloka, SS - I really, really hope Iloka is available here. In recent mock drafts I've seen, his been taken mid to late third round, so I it's not a terrible stretch to imagine we can grab him, but it's a stretch nonetheless. Anyway, with great size (6'3", 216lbs), continued development of his speed (confirmed 40 yard time of 4.49 last year), good tackling skills, and experience in coverage while playing cornerback, there is just a lot to like about Iloka. I may have moved him down a round, but that's because I'm a little higher on Ta'amu, who I see as more of a sure thing than Iloka.
4th Round (Compensatory) - Jarius Wright, WR - We need a wide receiver with the probable departure of Reggie Wayne, and I like Wright a lot. Good hands, good speed, good route-running. He is small, but he's a good value in the fourth round.
5th Round - Brandon Brooks, OG - While I'm excited for Costanzo and Ijalana as our bookend tackles of the future, our interior line still needs some work. Brandon Brooks is an absolute monster at 6'5" and 343lbs. He is a nasty run-blocker and a pretty good pass-blocker. While he is getting by on his natural strength right now, he could become truly dominant if he can continue to improve his technique.
6th Round - Jeff Allen, OT/OG - Jeff Allen falls on almost the opposite spectrum of Brooks. While he is certainly not small at 6'5" and 315lbs, he is at his best in pass protection where he can show off his flexibility and coordination. He needs to continue to develop his anchor strength, and one worries that he might never gain much more, but if he can improve his leverage, it shouldn't be to much of an issue. I think that after selecting Allen and Brooks for our interior line, we can make some more big steps in improving our offensive line and get good value in the 5th and 6th rounds.
7th Round - Ifeanyi Momah, WR - He's a 6'6" 230lb wide receiver. He's big, physical, and can go up to make the catch while in traffic with his outstanding size. Bruce Arians offense in Pittsburgh has struggled in the red zone, and I think at least some of those issues are from lack of a big red-zone receiver. Momah could certainly be that for the Colts. Additionally, he's a strong run-blocker, which could help what had been becoming a team more balanced in its attack. However, we have yet to see how our new coaches with approach the offensive strategy. He isn't exceptionally good at anything, but isn't awful either and needs to continue to develop. But what 7th round pick doesn't?
7th Round (Compensatory) - Desmond Marrow, CB - Another size/athleticism developmental pick for the seventh round. He's 6'3", 210lbs, is athletic for his size, has pretty decent ball skills, and tackles well. While he is raw, he could become at least a valuable contributor just with his size alone. Seattle has had some success with bigger cornerbacks. It's a path that might be worth experimenting with with this late round pick.
I want to take this space to discuss and defend my draft a little. First, I thought it was weird that I took positions in pairs. Two cornerbacks, two guards, two wide receivers. And although I was never a Polian basher, it think having to do that says something to the front offices failings in the secondary and on the offensive line. Additionally, it may seem like I have a lot of developmental picks. First, I believe all of these players I have drafted except Marrow should be able to make some significant contributions to the team. Would you say I was drinking the Kool-Aid if I told you I thought Gilmore, Ta'amu, Iloka, Brooks, and Allen could all start?
At cornerback, who would be able to keep Gilmore from starting opposite Powers. Could Ta'amu be a worse nose tackle than Antonio Johnson, who gets blown back from the line of scrimmage all the time? Will Bullitt stay healthy or even be on the team next year? If he's not, Iloka could be fighting to start at strong safety. Diem might be retiring, and I really trust none of our interior offensive lineman with the exception of Joe Reitz, who is okay. We could have Allen and Brooks at the guard positions. Lastly, I really think Luck will be starting at quarterback. I can't help but think that Peyton is done. I'm sad about it, but I'm also excited about the future of the Colts. Anyway, if we do have 5 or 6 rookies starting come next year, it certainly wouldn't be pretty. But one thing to consider is that it wouldn't have been pretty any other way. We are a team with a lot of weaknesses, and I think that by starting the rookies, so long as they are not thrown to the wolves, they could have a valuable opportunity to gain coaching and a significant amount of playing time, which would help them down the road when we hope to be more competitive.