Stampede Blue Tweetbag: Center, Defense, Draft, and More!

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Stampede Blue's Josh Wilson answers questions about the Colts submitted by fans via twitter.

Answering your twitter questions about the Colts:

In all honesty, there's a much better chance that they already have than that they will. They signed Phil Costa (who I'll look at in our free agent profile series tomorrow morning) last month and if any free agent signing is going to be the starting center this year for the Colts, it'll be him. It seems most likely, however, that Khaled Holmes will be the team's starting center next season, as the Colts like him a lot and with the lack of other moves they don't have a ton of options. Look for a competition at center in training camp between Costa and Holmes, and I expect Holmes to be the starting center next season when it's all said and done. So, to answer your question, I think the chances of the Colts adding another center who becomes the starter are very slim.

Good thought, but I doubt it. It's a totally different situation. Pagano is closer to the players based on the nature of his job (head coach versus owner), it happened during the season, and it was something that affected him and not a choice he made. His was an inspiring story of a battle with something he couldn't necessarily control, while Jim Irsay's situation isn't near as inspiring and it is a battle with something that had to do with choices he made. I'm not taking away from the fact that I realize addiction can be terrible and very hard to overcome, but the Colts won't be using it to motivate them this season like they did with ChuckStrong in 2012. In fact, I think many fans are overstating the impact that Irsay's absence from the team will have. His daughters have been involved in running the team for a while now and while the Colts would absolutely rather Irsay was there, he's not the meddlesome-type owner who needs to control everything. The Colts will be fine in Irsay's absence and they won't be using it as a motivating factor this following season.

Good question. While there aren't a whole lot of options here, there are several who need to improve. OLB Bjoern Werner, OL Hugh Thornton, OL Khaled Holmes, and DL Montori Hughes are the only ones still on the roster from last year's draft class. Werner certainly needs to continue to improve after being the Colts first round choice last year. Contrary to the belief of most fans, however, his 2013 season wasn't a disaster and it typically takes pass rushers longer to develop. Still, the Colts absolutely need more than just 2.5 sacks from him this year and need him to continue to develop like he did as the 2013 season went along. Thornton needs to develop too, as he wasn't good last season but was thrust into the starting lineup after Donald Thomas's injury early in the season. This year he will likely be playing right guard and absolutely needs to improve. Holmes, as I alluded to in the previous answer, will likely be the starting center this season despite hardly playing at all last year. While all three of those players need to show significant improvement this year, I think the one who needs to show the most is Hugh Thornton. He won't have any excuses this season, as he is moving to his more natural position and already has a year under his belt. With the questions at the center position the guard spots become even more important, and that means that Thornton needs to improve on his bad rookie season.

My expectations for the defense in 2014 are pretty simple: improvement. Chuck Pagano is entering year three (kind of) and by this time we should really begin to see the defense make strides. I'll absolutely say that the defense made improvements in 2013, but when I talk about improvement in 2014 I don't mean the marginal improvement that we saw from 2012 to 2013 but significant improvement. The defense can't get gashed on the ground like they did in the playoff game against the Patriots and they have to hold their own against the pass - much like they did early on last year. While the pass defense has some question marks, the run defense should really tell us how much improved the Colts defense as a unit is in 2014 and it better be noticeable, or else there will be rumblings about Chuck Pagano even outside of this blog.

There's always hope, but we have to balance that with realism too. The offensive line should be better in 2014, that much is clear. I don't think the unit they have right now will be a disaster by any means, but there are still question marks. Just with Donald Thomas returning from his injury last season the interior offensive line will be improved, and then the hope is that Hugh Thornton, moving to his more natural position at right guard, will improve as well. Those two alone would mean huge improvement on the interior offensive line, and then with the unknown of Khaled Holmes (who holds the inside track over Phil Costa), there is certainly reason to be both optimistic and doubtful about the Colts offensive line in 2014. In reality, we just don't know until we see it on the field, but my feel is that it will certainly be improved but questions and doubts still remain.

I received this question quite a bit when I asked, and it's hard to say for sure who the Colts will target as they don't have a first round pick and don't select until the 59th overall pick (barring an unlikely trade). First off, I think the positions that the Colts really need to be looking at are center, safety, cornerback, wide receiver, and defensive line. Obviously they can't address all of those with their second round pick and it's unlikely to get each of those positions in the draft too, as the best method in drafting is a modified best player available (best player available among the positions you need). In the second round specifically, I could really see the Colts going after a wide receiver or a safety, although a center like Colorado State's Weston Richburg could be an intriguing option as well. At receiver, guys like Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews or Fresno State's Davonte Adams could be options for the Colts, and at safety Florida State's Terrence Brooks, Stanford's Ed Reynolds, and USC's Dion Bailey could be names to keep an eye on. For each of the positions I mentioned earlier, I'll give a name that is a reasonable option for the Colts who I would probably most like to see them take: center Weston Richburg, Colorado State; safety Terrence Brooks, Florida State; cornerback Jason Verrett, TCU; wide receiver Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt; defensive lineman DaQuan Jones, Penn State.

Want to see more of this stuff? Vote in the poll below or let it be known in the comments. And as always, follow Josh on twitter @coltsfanwilson, where he routinely answers questions about the Colts and interacts with fans while providing up to the minute Colts information and analysis.

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