I am among the very few... In fact, I don't know that "we" exist. But, just to let you know I enjoy pre-draft hype, speculation, and analysis just as much as I enjoy watching football on Sundays. For the past 6 years as the Colts final game of the season comes to an end my wife always says to me, "Well... no more football for awhile." And, I'm always quick to reply, "Oh no. The Scouting Combine is in XX weeks. And, the league year is just XX days away." She learns the hard way (but, she's getting it a little more every year) that football season never truly ends in our household.
Tonight I'd like to share my thoughts on the Colts 2014 2nd & 3rd round picks and see where you guys' heads are at. I'd like to preface this with a disclaimer:
----- Don't ***** about draft grade. Player rankings provided by CBSSports.com. -----
Round 2, Pick 59 Choice 1: CB, Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech (ranked 59 overall) Fuller is a high motor guy. On tape he seems to have adequate speed for the position to play press-man coverage. Though, he's mostly asked to play off-man and very rarely plays any kind of bump-and-go coverage. CBS Sports criticizes Kyle's "athleticism" and speed. But, his 4.49 40 and 38 1/2" vertical seem to imply he's up for the task. By comparison, Vontae Davis also clocked a 4.49 at the combine. CBS also thinks Kyle has room for improvement with strength and muscle tone. I say, rarely do you find a player late in the second round that won't take 2-3 years to reach full potential in the NFL. Bottom line is, on this Colts roster Fuller should immediately contribute as a starter. Greg Toler was atrocious after returning from a groin injury. And, even if he improves (to a point that would exceed anything he did in 2013) Fuller can also contributor regularly on special teams.
Choice 2: C, Weston Richburg, Colorado State (ranked 73 overall) Where I work we have a saying. "Fake it until you make it." What that means is, even if you don't know something be confident until you can figure it out. Not the case here... I'm just going to be completely honest. Watching game film on Weston Richburg will probably be the very last thing I'll do before May 8th. Not only is offensive linemen film hard to come by... I mean seriously? Who turns on a game Sunday to watch the linemen? Exactly. That's what Monday's are for. The post-game film analysis. Just me again? Richburg looked very smooth at the Combine. He caught my attention. Weston looks the part of an NFL linemen. Without diving into the film myself I'll just have to take CBS' word for it that Richburg is the 2nd best center available in the 2014 Draft. We should expect a big overhaul (If Ryan Grigson wants to keep his job) for the Colts interior offensive line this season. There's a lot to talk about between Hugh Thornton & Donald Thomas. But, the obvious story lies with Samson Satele. Satele has played center piece for Indy's line for 2 years and failed to produce at a high level in either year. According to Spotrac.com the Colts can save around $4M in cap space this season by cutting Satele loose. It's hard to say where Khaled Holmes is in possibly contributing for Andrew Luck's offense. But, I didn't feel it was a great big vote of confidence in Holmes when Indianapolis opted to substitute UDFA Xavier Nixon... whom had never played guard in his football career, over Holmes at right guard. Center and guard, although not always, are usually considered interchangable positions. Despite this, the Colts put the safety of their franchise on the contigency Nixon could learn guard on the fly over Holmes, a center... whom they'd invested a 4th round draft choice. Here's hoping I'm wrong. But, at this moment in time Khaled Holmes isn't the future for the Colts at center.
Choice 3: WR, Davonte Adams, Fresno State (ranked 58 overall) Once you start watching the game film it's hard not to fall in love with Davonte Adams immediately. He fully exploits his 6'1 212lb frame always shielding the ball with his body. It could be argued Adams benefited from the potentially NFL caliber accuracy of QB Derek Carr. A lot of Adams' success can be contributed to well executed back shoulder fades. Adams' build reminds me a lot of Da'Rick Rogers. But, where Rogers flashes explosiveness Adams seems to make up for with a more refined game and reliablity. At the end of the day, I'm not jumping off the Da'Rick Rogers band wagon until the Colts tell me to. His body and skill set are unlike anything the Colts have had as my memory serves. If the Colts feel they need help at the wide receiver position Davonte Adams may be able to provide Indianapolis another new wrinkle to their evolving offense. But, I don't know that I could argue Adams has the foundation to someday replace Reggie Wayne.
Round 3, Pick 90 Choice 1: ILB, Chris Borland, Wisconsin (ranked 92 overall) NFL.com has gone so far to criticize Borland as saying he has "Tyrannasaurus Rex arms." That's hurtful... In all seriousness though, Chris Borland is an absolute beast. Every year I scoure the list of later round middle linebackers trying to find somebody that may be able to help Indianapolis. I've never seen a player ranked as far back as Borland with such a tanacity to find the football. Borland is "football fast" and attacks the football with a thirst for blood. Watching his highlights I have been just so impressed with his ability to wrap up tackles. When in position, he has the power and strength to power through ball-carriers. But, all too often Borland will opt to latch on to the opposing player and simply drag him down with his weight and leverage. I like Chris Borland a lot. He may have some deficiencies in defending the pass. But, he has an infectious passion for the game. I'm confident that whatever (other than his height) is holding Borland back from a first round grade today will be greatly improved in 2-3 seasons from now vindicating any decision to draft him near #90. The tandem of Jerrell Freeman and Borland may not mirror the team of Ray Lewis & Bart Scott. But, it will be an improvement and positive step in building this team towards a Lombardi.
Choice 2: CB, Pierre Desir, Linwood (ranked 101 overall) Disregard name... Draft Chris Borland. Just kidding. I don't know a whole lot about Desir. I just learned his name yesterday while watching the Scouting Combine. But, here's what I can tell you about him. At the Combine Desir immediately caught my attention with his fluid motions and speed in position drills. He seems to have fairly good ball skills. And, he's got that trendy "tall" frame of a Richard Sherman. Desir measures out 6'1 198. I turned on some highlights of Desir. But, it's really hard to take anything away from it. Pierre didn't see elite talent playing for Linwood College (or University... whatever). What he did imprint in those highlights though is promising. Desir can make good use of his hands at the line of scrimmage. He's spotlighted his fair share of playmaking ability breaking on balls. And most importantly, he's the highest ranked cornerback who played in a man-to-man scheme in college when the Colts pick at #90. This one's on Grigs. I don't know much about Desir. But, from a casual fan's perspective Desir would appear to have what it takes to contribute at the next level.
Choice 3: WR, Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin (ranked 98 overall) Abbrederis is one of a few of my favorite "sleeper" receivers in this year's draft. Abbrederis just happens to make this list because I needed a 3rd choice, which is more or less a formality because in whatever capacity the Colts "utliize" their 3rd round pick... It better result in their drafting of ILB Chris Borland. But, lets just pretend that the Colts let Borland slip away and they don't want to draft Pierre Desir. Abbrederis is a talented receiver. I'm gonna pull the Rush Limbaugh card here and say that analysts look past Abbrederis because the color of his skin.
"Lacks ideal size."
6'1 195lbs. Reggie Wayne is 6'0 200lbs.
"Only an average athlete with ordinary speed."
4.50 40-yard dash. Da'Rick Rogers ran 4.50. Austin Collie a 4.53. Hell, Pierre Garcon only ran a 4.48.
The wannabe scout goes on to repeat himself a few times. If you wish to re-ask these questions of Abbrederis please refer to the previous. This is what I'll say about him. (Again, sorry for the race card. But, it makes for an easier comparison) You've seen the NFL Network commercials. Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice masking their identities and reentering the NFL Draft. Well, Abbrederis isn't Jerry Rice. Actually, from what I've observed it appears that Eric Decker and a Kevin Walter are planning to sneak into Radio City Music Hall. But no... Abbrederis isn't Eric Decker. Some might say, "Who the hell is Kevin Walter?" Or, the more educated NFL fan might say, "Woo hoo... Kevin Walter. Major sarcasm... you suck." But, the fact of the matter is although Kevin Walter wasn't perceived as an "elite" wide receiver. Or, a "dynamic" wide-receiver. What Walter did amount to was a very reliable and productive wide receiver for numerous years. Abbrederis isn't unfamiliar with an up-hill battle. He was a walk-on at Wisconsin. Wasn't good enough for college football. Now, somehow he has a 3rd round grade yet people are telling him he's not good enough for the NFL. What Abbrederis lacks in elite athleticism and natural ability he makes up for with hard work, reliable hands, and precise route running. If it came down to it... and Chris Borland was just in no way shape or form an option the Colts would have an asset in drafting Abbrederis. I'm confident that given the time to develop even though he's "not fast enough" for the NFL he'll have continued to improve his strengths to become a viable option for Andrew Luck.
I appreciate you reading my blog. I'm always interested in chatting football. Catch me on Twitter @Ross_Wheatley. Thanks.