I'll start this out by saying that I hope all the guys drafted this year by the Indianapolis Colts succeed. It truly is a thrill to see these young guys see their dream of playing pro football come true. If you weren't moved when you saw a player like Michael Sam get the phone call informing him he'd been drafted, then you simply have no soul. This is a special time for these young men, and it's always important to keep that perspective. So, for Jack Mewhort, Donte Moncrief, Jonathan Newsome, , and Ulrick John, I really hope they find success.
That said, I hated this draft. Colts general manager Ryan Grigson needed to nail the five selections he had, and he blew it.
2nd Round- 59th Overall- Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio State
Because some readers and fans often confuse me hating a pick with me hating the specific player, I'll make it clear that I have nothing against Jack Mewhort. He's a good, young lineman who could develop into a quality starter. Ideally, I see him as a right tackle.
The problem: The Colts did not need a right tackle in this draft. Thus, I think this pick is bad because it's poor value and it's not at a position of need.
The Colts are trying to sell Mewhort as someone who is versatile, a guy who could slide inside and play some guard or, perhaps, center. Sorry, but I don't know too many 6'6 centers in the NFL, and the last time Mewhort played guard was when he was a Freshman at Ohio State. Sliding him inside will take time. He's a project player, in many respects.
The Colts could NOT afford to take a project player at No. 59 overall. Yet, they did.
Also, if the Colts are trying to sell me on the team needing better interior offensive line play, why take Mewhort over USC's Marcus Martin or Mississippi State's Gabe Jackson? Mewhort's not better than either of those players, and, with Gosder Cherilus locked up for years in a $35 million contract until 2017, Mewhort isn't playing right tackle anytime soon.
Grigson also passed on safety Terrence Brooks and nose tackle Louis Nix to take Mewhort. I don't understand that logic. Not at all.
Again, this is just a bad pick from a value and a need standpoint. Obviously, I hope Mewhort develops, but, on the surface, this just looks bad.
3rd Round- 90th Overall- Donte Moncrief, WR, Mississippi State
Of all of Grigson's picks this year, this is the one I agree with the most. Moncrief is a talented player with upside. He's big (6'2, 221 lbs), strong (13 reps on 225 bench), and runs like the wind (4.34 40). He caught 156 balls for 2,371 yards and 20 touchdowns in his career at Ole Miss, which are all third-best all-time. Moncrief is also a strong blocker in the running game.
He's also just a good value at 90th overall. Guys like nose tackle DaQuan Jones and corner Braushad Breeland were still here, but I don't consider them "better" than Mloncrief. Good pick here.
colts draft central
5th Round- 166th Overall- Jonathan Newsome, DE, Ball State
Newsome is an interesting selection here given his background. He was kicked off the team at Ohio State in 2011 for being academically ineligible and transferred to Ball State. In Muncie, Newsome seemed to mature and develop into a good player. In 2013, he had 8 sacks and 11 tackles for a loss. At 6'3, 247 lbs, he's best suited as an outside linebacker in Chuck Pagano's 3-4 defensive front.
However, while outside rusher was a need coming into the draft, corner and safety were bigger needs. Players like Virginia Tech's Antone Exum, Florida Atlantic's Keith Reaser, SMU's Kenneth Acker, and Missouri's E.J. Gaines were still there at No. 166. In fact, following the Colts' selection of Newsome, there was another mini-run on corners. 8 of the next 25 picks following Newsome were defensive backs with 7 of those 8 being corners. Nothing against Newsome, but he's not so much better than those corners to warrant selecting him over a player who fills a bigger position of need.
Pagano and grigson
6th Round- 203rd Overall- Andrew Jackson, LB, Western Kentucky
7th Round- 232nd Overall- Ulrick John, OT, Georgia State
I'm lumping these two gents together because, once you get into the 6th and 7th rounds, nitpicking about who should and shouldn't have been drafted is somewhat silly. It's very possible these two guys won't make the final roster in August. I hope they succeed.
However, I'd like to make this comment... neither of these guys are better than Missouri's Michael Sam. Sorry, but they aren't. Not in my mind. Sam had 18.5 sacks at Missouri during his career and was the SEC co-defensive player of the year in 2013. At 6'3, 255 lbs, he's not "too small" to play outside linebacker for the Colts. Nor is he too big to play ILB. His 4.70 40 time isn't great, but it isn't bad either. At worst, he's an "OK" special teams player. At best, you've got a playmaker who could, outside of football, help break down some of the ignorant stereotypes many people have about openly gay athletes.
I'd really like Ryan Grigson to explain to me how he thinks someone like Andrew Jackson (6'1, 254 lbs, 4.80 40 time) is more worthy of being drafted over Michael Sam? That's not intended to knock Jackson. He's just not better than Sam.
This was a bad draft. Very bad. The Colts came into this with massive holes in their secondary. In a draft that saw 53 defensive backs taken, not one DB was selected by the Colts. Not one.
Yet, they did spend two of their precious five picks on offensive tackles.
It's very hard for me to be excited about this draft class outside of the Moncrief pick. Prior to the draft, we said Ryan Grigson needed to nail this draft if the Colts were truly going to compete for a championship in 2014. He whiffed.
This Colts team is not significantly better today than it was before the draft. At least, not in my eyes.
As I always say, if I'm wrong in my evaluation and these guys turn out to be the correct selections and develop into good players, I'll be the first to stand up, smile a goofy grin, and admit I was wrong. I'd rather be wrong and the team right. Not the other way around.