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Colts first round selection in SB Nation Mock Draft

Mock THIS!
The first round of the SB Nation Mock Draft is complete. Please permit me to toot SB Nation's horn a bit. While many other community sites are struggling through the first round of their drafts, our writers got through the first round rather quickly. Just to give you a little background, our mock is three rounds and allows trades. The trades have to fit within the salary cap of the team if they involve a player. Allowing trades dramatically shifted the way the mock draft evolved, because there were some very significant,  but not outlandish, trades.

We're now at the 32nd pick in the draft, which belongs to the Colts. For the past week, I've tried to trade the 32nd pick to the New York Jets (we're getting a new blogger soon for the J-E-T-S crowd) for their two second round picks. From a value standpoint, it makes sense. It also makes sense because a player like Jon Beason or Michael Griffin may indeed be available at pick #32 for the Jets, while they might not be there in the late second round. I think players like Victor Abiamiri, Anthony Gonzalez, or Ray McDonald will indeed be there in the late second round, and those are players the Colts have targeted, in my opinion.

However, in this mock draft, the Jets did not take my trade offer. So, with the 32nd pick, I have the Colts selecting Justin Harrell, DT from Tennessee.

Why Harrell? Because the DT position is THE most important position in a Cover 2 defense. For all the glamour and praise Derrick Brooks got in Tampa Bay during their great days dominating on defense playing the Cover 2, he was next to nothing without the DT play of guys like Warren Sapp and Booger McFarland (both played DT). The Colts defense did not turn around until the Colts solidified their DT position by trading for Booger McFarland. However, if anything should happen to Booger, the Colts defense is sunk. Traditionally, the Colts have avoided taking DTs in the first round. They have passed on players liked William Joseph and Wendall Bryant, and for good reason. Harrell is different though.

Drafting Harrell makes sense for two reasons: 1) As an insurance policy in case McFarland gets hurt, and 2) Developing strong DT talent for the future. Although Harrell is a little big for Dungy's Cover 2 (310 pounds, 6'3''), but he is very quick, has a burst at the snap of the ball, and can penetrate into the backfield. He's a leader on the field with high intangibles and a strong work ethic. Guys like Joseph and Bryant in previous drafts were known slackers. Harrell works hard, plays hard, and plays hurt.

Durability is a concern, but the Colts are not looking for him to take heavy snaps in 2007. They will use him in their DT rotation, usually as the undertackle. With the loss of Montae Reagor and the eventual cutting of Corey Simon, the Colts are very thin at DT. Harrell immediately elevates the position.

Round one is now complete. Onto round two!

Update [2007-4-13 12:8:48 by BigBlueShoe]: Here is a nice fancy table to illustrate how the first round went (special thanks to BleedGreen):

2007 SB Nation Mock Draft - First Round
Pick Team Player Pos. College Drafter
1 Oakland Raiders JaMarcus Russell QB LSU Saint
2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Calvin Johnson WR Georgia Tech JScott
3 Cleveland Browns Joe Thomas OT Wisconsin ChrisPokorny
4 Detroit Lions Gaines Adams DE Clemson Sean Yuille
5 Arizona Cardinals Levi Brown OT Penn State Jeff G
6 Washington Redskins Jamaal Anderson DE Arkansas Skin Patrol
7 Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson RB Oklahoma Gonzo
8 Atlanta Falcons LaRon Landry S LSU Dave the Falconer
9 Miami Dolphins Brady Quinn QB Notre Dame Phinatic
10 Buffalo Bills Patrick Willis LB Mississippi Brian G
11 San Francisco 49ers Adam Carriker DE Nebraska Fooch
12 Denver Broncos Alan Branch DT Michigan TheSportsGuru
13 St. Louis Rams Amobi Okoye DT Louisville VanRam
14 Carolina Panthers Reggie Nelson S Florida Jaxon
15 Pittsburgh Steelers Jarvis Moss DE Florida Blitzburgh
16 Green Bay Packers Marshawn Lynch RB California Brandon
17 Jacksonville Jaguars Leon Hall CB Michigan River City Rage
18 Cincinnati Bengals Darrelle Revis CB Pittsburgh Kirkendall
19 Tennessee Titans Robert Meachem WR Tennessee Jimmy
20 New York Giants Paul Posluszny LB Penn State ETVal
21 Houston Texans Joe Staley OT Central Michigan Tim
22 Dallas Cowboys Aaron Ross CB Texas Grizz
23 Kansas City Chiefs Ted Ginn, Jr. WR Ohio State Chris
24 New England Patriots Eric Weddle S Utah tommasse
25 New York Jets Greg Olsen TE Miami (FL) SB Nation
26 Philadelphia Eagles Chris Houston CB Arkansas JasonB
27 New Orleans Saints Dwayne Bowe WR LSU Purple Reign
28 New England Patriots Ben Grubbs OG Auburn tommasse
29 Baltimore Ravens Justin Blalock OL Texas SB Nation
30 San Diego Chargers Dwayne Jarrett WR USC SB Nation
31 Chicago Bears Lawrence Timmons LB Florida State WCG
32 Indianapolis Colts Justin Harrell DT Tennessee BigBlueShoe

Important notes: Detroit traded down to the #4 spot. Tampa Bay traded up to get the #2 pick. Houston made multiple trades (acquiring several picks in later rounds) to trade down in the first round to #21. Denver traded up to #12 when TheSportsGuru saw DT Alan Branch sitting there.