Okay everyone, Free Agency is in full swing now, and Ryan Grigson has gone out and made some big time and some not-so big time moves. Whether we agree with them or not, the moves have been made. So it's time to rework our draft plans with our most recent roster changes.
Now with my strategy, I am going to be aggressive with this year's draft. I believe that with all of the depth here, and the number of players who are entering early being so high, next year's draft will be lacking in both talent and depth. As such, I am advocating a big move right off the bat that many of you will probably hate, but its my strategy so deal with it. I propose we trade next year's 1st and 4th round picks to St. Louis for this year's 2nd (2/12) and 5th (5/13). I understand the risk we are taking by again getting rid of our 1st round pick; however, I believe that with the current team we have we would be drafting late in the 1st round anyway. The depth and talent this year also put us in a unique position to acquire 1st round talent well into the 2nd round.
So the draft picks that we would hold would be: 2/12, 2/27, 3/26, 5/13, 5/26, 6/27, and 7/17. I will at times provide a secondary pick if I feel the first might not be available. Additionally, I am going to enter the draft with our roster at its current state, and while I understand future moves will be made and perhaps Mack will be signed, but for now I am sticking with this.
Round 2, pick 12 (Acquired from Rams):
Jimmie Ward (S - NIU)
- Ward is a quick, rangy centerfielder that has very good closing speed. Ward was held out of most of the combine due to a foot injury for which he will have surgery soon. Even with this, he still ran an unofficial 4.47 40 at the NIU pro day. While NFL.com rates Ward as a 6-7 Round pick, he is considered the best SS prospect in the draft, although his abilities are more in line with that of a FS. Ward would provide that over the top safety we need to solidify the backend of our defense. This would also allow Landry to play down in the box where he is best suited.
Round 2, pick 27
Stanley Jean-Baptiste (CB - Neb)
- SJB is a WR turned CB, and after 2 years has shown great ability at the position. He is huge, 6'3" and 218lbs. He profiles well as a press man corner with solid instincts, good route reading ability, decent speed, and excellent jumping ability. The only suspect area is his ability to change directions with his "stiff hips." Overall, SJB profiles well in the Colts system, especially with the opportunity to be coached up by Pagano.
Rashaad Reynolds (CB - Org St)
- I'm sticking with the idea of a play maker here, and that is exactly how you describe Reynolds. He has decent strength, enough that the big physical receivers won't be able to push him around while still having great quickness and top end speed to cover the likes of Tavon Austin. I think the biggest upside to Reynolds is his football IQ and ability to read and react on the fly. A final note on Reynolds, he is a 3 year starter and is extremely durable.
Round 3, pick 26
DaQuan Jones (DT - PSU)
- Jones is a beast up the middle at 6'4" and 334lbs. He is currently a DT, but I believe he would profile best as a NT in our system, especially with his seeming lack of finesse pass rushing ability. He excels at bull rushing. The biggest concern in the past has been Jones' motor from play to play, but it appeared as though he took his senior year more seriously by shedding some weight and staying focused.
Christian Jones (ILB - Florida State)
- Another Jones to add to our team who could bring physicality and athleticism to our linebacking core. He has the ability to play both ILB and OLB and if he can develop as a consistent pass rushing threat, he could become an above average player. One positive that Jones could bring as an ILB is his coverage ability, which is an area that Colts linebackers struggled at in 2013. Jones may or may not be available here, and some might say we would be better served attempting to get him here as opposed to D. Jones, but I think with RJF being so expensive and Redding's contract being up next year, D. Jones is more valuable.
Round 5, pick 13
Dakota Dozier (OT - Sourthern)
- I believe Dozier would offer excellent value here in the 5th. In some projections he is going as high as the 3rd, but in others he is as low as the 6th. After watching some tape of him, I feel he lacks lateral agility and hands to be efficient as a tackle, but his size and core strength would transfer well to an interior guard position. He is obviously not polished, but the potential for him to develop as a gritty, mean, hole maker is too much to pass up.
Round 5, pick 26
Adrian Hubbard (OLB - Alabama)
- This pick was a toss up between Michael Sam and Hubbard, and ultimately I went with Hubbard because of the better raw athletic ability. Hubbard is a project pick, he lacks burst and speed off the edge, but these are things that can be obtained. If he can develop his pass rushing skill, then he can become a solid weak side OLB with his already present run stopping ability.
Round 6, pick 27
Aaron Colvin (CB - Oklahoma)
- Colvin had the potential to be the best corner in the draft before his Senior Bowl ACL tear. No one can question his physical play style, but his overall athletic ability, especially since the injury, is somewhat questionable. I do not think Colvin will ever be a shutdown corner; however, I think he could develop into a reasonable #2 to nickel corner. He has the football knowledge and the playmaking ability to produce, but lacks the physical talent to be the greatest.
Round 7, pick 17
James Stone (C - Tennessee)
- I believe that Stone presents an interesting skill set here. He is already regarding as an intelligent center who calls good blocking assignments in game, but falls to this point in the draft because of his lack of elite strength. Stone, with time to improve his strength and quickness has the size and hands to become a very interesting center prospect.
This final pick could go a number of ways, depending on what you value as depth. If Grigson finds a way to acquire Mack, then this pick is better served elsewhere. I feel that Stone actually compares well to Holmes, and so this may be a pointless pick; however, if the front office doesn't see Holmes as a long term answer, then Stone has a skill set that gives value at this point in the draft.
I have wanted to do a mock draft piece for sometime, but I wanted to wait until after the important free agent pick ups because it allows me to see the areas of need. Positions such as center could still be addressed, and Grigson may still shake up the team by cutting Toler and going after another CB, but I don't think a move like that will influence or change my picks. I know that by trading away next year's first round pick, I have already gone against the opinion of many; however, I see our defense right now as a few players away from being great, and I see those playmakers like Ward available in this draft with a little push on our part.
Thoughts? Questions? Opinions?