The season ended too soon and I am going through major football withdrawal. During this time of year to get my football fix I spend a lot of time looking at available free agents and reading mock drafts, so I figured I would take take a stab at one myself. Keep in mind, I didn't take into consideration who might be signed in free agency but I did make a couple of assumptions about what could happen to the current roster.
Without further ado:
RD2 - Yawin Smallwood: ILB UCONN
Height: 6-3 Weight 236
Chuck Pagano and company preach their desire to stop the run. Adding a productive tackler and play maker like Smallwood would be a big step in that direction. Freeman often had little or no help playing with either a gimpy Pat Angerer or a slow and mostly ineffective Kelvin Sheppard. Giving him a productive partner would be a big boost for the interior of the defense.
Yawin Smallwood was a semifinalist for the Butkus award in 2013, First Team All Big East in 2012 and First Team Conference Formerly Known as Big East in 2013. In 2012, he led the Huskies in tackles with 120 and also had 15 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. He followed up that performance in 2013 with 115 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks.
RD3 - Weston Richburg: C Colorado State
Height 6-0 Weight 300
Picking a center here is dependent on my first assumption for the offseason, that Samson Satele will be cut. If Satele is on the roster this year, he will make $5,066,668. Regardless of how anyone feels about the salary of the Colts free agency acquisitions last year, I think it is pretty safe to say that Satele would be the most overpaid player on the roster should he not be cut. Luckily, if he is cut, the Colts will save $4,000,000.
There are a couple of options to replace Satele. First, Mike McGlynn could be resigned to play center. While I agree with most people that the line played better with McGlynn at C last year, I think that is this is the worst scenario moving forward. Replacing the weakest link on the line with an almost equally bad link is a recipe to suck.
Another scenario would have Khaled Holmes starting at center. Holmes may be a fine center. I couldn't tell you really because he never played. While I still have hope that he could have a fine career, I see him now as a backup C/G on the roster.
The third option (and the first good option) would be to pick up one of the talented C in free agency. That, however, goes beyond the scope of this post. That leaves drafting a C.
Weston Richburg started all 49 games of his college career. He was named First Team All Mountain West his senior season and was the first Ram to make be invited to the Senior Bowl since 2004. While there, he did not disappoint. While more highly touted OL like Gabe Jackson and Cyril Richardson struggled during the week against DL Aaron Donald, Richburg was the one interior lineman who as able to hold his own. NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah was impressed with Richburg's performance and stated that he is "ready made to plug and play" in the NFL. Grabbing one of the top C in the third round and having him contribute early for the Colts would be a huge win.
RD5 - Kenny Ladler: S Vanderbilt
Height 6-0 Weight 200
My second big assumption about the offseason is that Antoine Bethea will not be resigned. Despite many solid years wearing the horseshoe, it seems that Bethea has lost a step or two. A younger, faster safety that could help in coverage could help prevent the big plays over the top that contributed to big deficits last season. It would also allow Landry to play closer to the line where he could hopefully have more impact.
In 2012, Kenny Ladler started all 12 games for the Commodores and earned 90 tackles including 65 solo (tied for first on the team), 3.5 tackles for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and two interceptions. In his senior season at Vanderbilt, Ladler finished with 91 tackles including 65 solo (good for second on the team), 5 forced fumbles, and 5 interceptions He was voted First Team All-SEC Defensive back by the coaches in 2013 and Second Team All-SEC Safety by the AP. Rob Rang from CBSSports.com said the player that Ladler most resembles in the NFL is Antoine Bethea.
RD6 - Cody Hoffman: WR BYU
Height 6-4 Weight 218
A quarterback can never have enough weapons. Peyton Manning set the world on fire last season breaking all the single season passing records. He was able to do this with the help of a plethora of weapons on offense. The Colts have a solid young weapon in TY Hilton who continues to get better, a promising young receiver in Da'Rick Rogers, and of course, Reggie Wayne. Despite the potential of Rogers and Hilton, this group still faces some uncertainty. Rogers, along with LaVon Brazill have shown flashes but are inconsistent. Griff Whalen had some productive games towards the end of 2013 but was a roster bubble player and may not be in the long term plans for the team. Grabbing a big bodied receiver with high potential here could be a steal. A future with Rogers and Hoffman on the outside and the explosive Hilton flying up the field out of the slot could be a nightmare for defenses to cover.
Cody Hoffman is the all time reception, receiving yards, TD, and all purpose yard leader at BYU. He finished 43 consecutive games with a catch. In 2012, Hoffman had 100 catches for 1248 yards and 11 TDs. Despite these numbers, Hoffman's stock was hurt by a down year in his senior season in which he caught 57 passes for 894 yards and only 5 TDs. He missed the season opener with a sore hamstring and was suspended for one game during the season for violating a team rule. Besides those two games, Hoffman played every game in his college career and started in all but 3 of those outings.
RD7 - Phillip Gaines: CB Rice
Height 6-1 Weight 185
The Colts secondary had moments where it played at a very high level last year. Before the injury to Greg Toler against Denver, this unit was playing like world beaters. While Toler's play was inconsistent, as a whole the group was much better with him on the field. Toler came to the Colts with a history of injury and Cassius Vaughn and Josh Gordy were outmatched much of the year playing the outside. While some may think taking a CB in the 7th round is too late, I think this player could be a nice late round gem.
Phillip Gaines received First Team All Conference USA honors in his junior and senior seasons and was on the Water Camp watch list coming into 2013. He holds the school record for pass breakups at Rice with 38. He played in 52 games and started in 40. To me his most impressive accomplishment was that he was targeted only 40 times during the entire season and allowed just 13 receptions. On those 40 targets, he also managed to 9 pass breakups and 4 interceptions. Take a moment to think about that. He intercepted the ball 10% of the time it was thrown at him and only allowed a completion percentage of 32.5%. The competition over the course of the season wasn't great, but Rice opened their 2013 season at Texas A&M and opened against UCLA in 2012 so he has some experience in bigger games.
RD7 #2 - Patrick O'Donnell: P Miami(FL)
Height 6-4 Weight 220
My last big assumption is that Pat McAfee will not be brought back by the Colts. Despite being a fan favorite, I believe he will try and get a bigger deal than the front office should be willing to pay him. If that is the case I think they will (and should) let him go and get his big payday elsewhere.
O'Donnell is known to have a big leg and he has taken kickoff duties as well. In the event that Vinatieri is resigned on a short and inexpensive deal, someone will need to come in and take over the kickoff duties as well as punting duties. I see O'Donnell as a very similar punter to McAfee and believe he can do a comparable job at a fraction of the price.