I have a feeling that we're about to all get sentimental about Peyton's departure later today, so I thought I'd get my thoughts in about the Colts' immediate future. We're going to build an offense around a new franchise QB, and something tells me that it won't resemble that of the Peyton Manning era. Pagano has already given us hints that he wants a "run first" offense, which I read as a power running offense. Many may think that means we're going to get a big, powerful running back, but to me it means we have to add bigger, more powerful offensive linemen. We have one, maybe two, open OL positions at RG and C, which would be where I expect us to start. So, here's my current mock:
1) Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford. As much as I hate the term, it's a "no-brainer".
2) Kelechi Osemele, OG, Iowa State. A nasty run-blocker who was surpisingly athletic at the Combine. He's 6'5", 334 lbs, has almost 36" arms, put up 32 reps of 225 (which is incredible with 36" arms), and ran a 5.35 forty. He's also got the intangibles. Here is where the power offense starts.
3) Marvin Jones, WR, California. I'm not sure what's happening with Garcon. He turned down $9 million per year, but the franchise tag would have been worth $9.4 million. I was almost certain he'd come back, but now I'm not so sure. At any rate, whether Garcon is a Colt or not, we'll still need a WR to take Wayne's place and develop a special relationship with Luck. Jones is a very crisp route-runner who gets separation and has great hands. He impressed as a possession receiver in his all-star game, but scouts said he lacked explosion. He subsequently ran a 4.46 forty at the combine, whcih is considerably better than what you'd expect from a "possession receiver". He was also not overly productive in college, but much of that might be due to the All-PAC-10 performer starting at Cal's other WR position in 2011. If Garcon leaves prior to the draft, I might consider taking a WR who's even faster, like Chris Givens or Jairius Wright. If Garcon comes back, Jones would be the perfect complement IMHO.
4) Phillip Blake, C, Baylor. My favorite center after Konz. Equally good a run- and pass-blocking. If Saturday comes back, Blake can learn from the best. If not, he may have to battle with Pollack (who is supposedly a much better center than guard) for the starting role this year. But Blake would be a good center-of-the-future.
4 Compensatory - Session) Keith Tandy, CB, West Virginia. I honestly don't know which CB the Colts will favor, but we've got to add a few more options to the poor corps we return. Ideally, I think my favorite would be Jamell Fleming of Oklahoma, but I think he'll be gone in the 3rd or early 4th. Josh Norman of Coastal Carolina would be a good fit, but he shouldn't be available. Tandy is an athletic, ex-star High School QB. He's a great, physical tackler who will get lost in the middle of all the good, small-school CB prospects in this year's draft.
5) Nick Jean-Baptiste, NT, Baylor. The only thing we lack for a successful transition to a 3-4 is a big NT. There are two other guys I like here: Hebron Fangupo of BYU and Akiem Hicks of Regina. At least one of the three will be available, but I mocked the least heralded of the three for conservatism. Personally, I think we'll sign an aging 3-4 NT to start this year (like Pouha of the Jets or Garay of the Charger), and our draft pick will be a back-up/developmental prospect.
6) Justin Bethel, CB, Presbyterian. Another tough CB who should excell at ST. I've heard a lot of rumors about teams who like him, but I think he should be available here.
7) Drake Dunsmore, TE/FB, Northwestern. I watched him run routes on the NFL Network's coverage of the Combine, and thought he was the most impressive of the TEs. His shuttles, cones, etc. also were very good. However, I've seen no buzz about him. Pretty much all 7-round mocks have him available here, but I'm not 100% convinced. But if he's available, I'm taking him. He's supposed to be a good pass-blocker, but his size (231) probably precludes him from success as a drive-blocker. I do think that Pagano is going to love Brody Eldridge in his "run-first" offense.
7 Compensatory) Jerron McMillian, S, Maine. Primarily a run-stuffer in college. He had 92 tackles and 11.5 TFL in 2011, he ran a 4.56 forty at 203 lbls, and he posted a Vertical of 36.5". Overall, pretty good physical skills and college production for a 7th rounder.