The first round is always pretty tough. It's tough to try and project if 1st rounders will be left in the late first round and how late these players would go. That's one of the disadvantages of being great! Some of these will be reaches, as in they may or may not be on the board. My second round pick has a wide range of projection. I've seen him being projected as a first rounder, and I've also seen him projected as a mid-third rounder. I met somewhere in the middle. This is not the only guy that is being projected all over the place. Before the Combine, there is a less clear picture of where people will go. Drafting by need is something that I like and I believe Polian does it as well. That's why he traded up for Fili Moala and risked a 4th rounder on Terrance Taylor. Also, it's tough to take the best player available in a mock draft when it gets down to the 7th round. For the first few rounds, I will post the players that I also considered. By the 7th round, I considered enough players to have another post all about them. All of the stuff I talked about is after the jump, so click on it if you want to see a mock draft that will look ridiculous by the time April comes around.
1st: Charles Brown/OT/USC-One of my favorite late first rounders in this draft. I watch USC a lot to cheer against them, and this guy is great. The reason why Ugoh never panned out was because he was weak, didn't care, and was finesse. Brown is the opposite of all of that. The Pac-10 may have been the best conference in the country this year, and he dominated it. Brown is number one on my wishlist. With Brown being drafted, Charlie Johnson can move to right tackle and Ryan Diem can be cut or retire, anything to take his huge contract off the table.
Other possible picks: Greg Hardy/DE/Ole Miss, Trent Williams/OT/Oklahoma, Jason Fox/OT/Miami (Fla.), Anthony Davis/OT/Rutgers, Javier Arenas/CB-RS/Alabama
2nd: Brandon Graham/DE/Michigan-Defensive end is by far the biggest need for the Colts on defense. He is a solid pass rusher and has good size. I thought that Marcus Howard, a late round 2008 prospect for the Colts, was going to be the next Robert Mathis, but he was too small for Coyer's defense. Graham had the size for Coyer's D and the pass rushing ability for his Tampa-2 hybrid. When Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney weren't playing for the first 3 quarters in the Jags game, the defense gave up 31 points. In the fourth quarter, Caldwell put in the pair to go for the win. The Jags were shutout. On the final defensive play of the game, Garrard got nailed by Robert Mathis, and Jacob Lacey picked off the pass. If a solid pass rusher like Graham was playing in the first 3 quarters, the game wouldn't even have gotten to that point.
Other possible picks: Mike Johnson/OG/Alabama, Sergio Kindle/DE-OLB/Texas, Jason Pierre-Paul/DE/USF, Darrell Stuckey/S/Kansas, Perrish Cox/CB-RS/Oklahoma State
3rd: Devin Ross/CB/Arizona: Although the Colts have two very good rookie cornerbacks, the depth is not there. Tim Jennings is one of the worst football players in the history of the sport, and Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden are too injury prone to be counted on. Nothing would make me happier than seeing Tim Jennings get cut. Another 3rd rounder spent on a corner would probably do the trick. Right now, the Colts are undefeated and there are no weaknesses in terms of starters. It's all about finding depth at certain positions. Ross is a good tackler, and I think he can play zone defense well enough to be a dimeback.
Other possible picks: Kyle Wilson/CB/Boise State, Robert Johnson/S/Utah, Kam Chancellor/S/Virginia Tech
4th: Robert Johnson/S/Utah-Antoine Bethea is a free agent. If there is no salary cap, he is a restricted free agent. If there is a cap, he is an unrestricted free agent and he is most likely gone. Even if there isn't a cap, the Colts need some depth at free safety. Behind Bethea, there is Jamie Silva and Aaron Francisco. Luckily Bethea isn't Bob Sanders and he can stay healthy for more than 2 games. Of course, going into 2007, Marvin Harrison was a dependable player, and Freeney wasn't missing games before 2007 either. Johnson has been clutch for the Utes, picking off 6 passes and racking up 70 tackles. In the Colorado State game, Utah was trailing the Rams. Johnson stepped up with 3 interceptions, starting the comeback victory.
5th: Adam Ulatoski/OT/Texas-Another offensive tackle? Why not? He could also play guard, and he is a punishing run blocker. Right now, the Colts have good running backs, but they can't stay healthy and they can't get it going. Maybe this is because the offensive line either blocks perfectly or doesn't block at all, depending on the play. If the famous stretch play can get going, the Colts running game will resemble the 2004 one, when James had his first dominant season in a while since his injury. Joseph Addai and Donald Brown are both very good, but they need blocking. Too much hate is thrown on Addai and the backs when the offensive line has been the problem. Kyle DeVan has really improved this year, but depth is still required for a Super Bowl team. Another positive for Ulatoski is that he is intelligent, being a 2-time Academic Big-12. If Mudd sticks around for another year, he will be able to make Ulatoski into the next Jake Scott or Ryan Lilja. Ulatoski needs to work on his quickness off of the line, and if he can get that going, he will be a solid contributor.
7th: Trindon Holliday/RS/LSU-Hey, it's the 7th round! Why not take a risk? Holliday probably will never see the field as a running back. However, Holliday is a famous returner. He's been averaging 17.7 yards per punt return and has brought one to the house. So he isn't boom or bust at all. He's a consistent returner and one of the fastest players in college football history. He runs the 100 meter dash in about 10 seconds, which is absolutely ridiculous. This man could make Chris Johnson look slow. He could even be a nice decoy on a screen pass when it comes to the offense. Holliday will be a very good returner as a pro, and he is what the Colts need.
So that's it. I have the Colts taking a left tackle, a reserve defensive end, a dimeback, an insurance policy at free safety, a right tackle/right guard, and a return specialist. The Colts are 14-0. They haven't dropped a game. When a team is this good, it is tough to find places that really need a new player. After offensive tackle, there are no holes on the Colts starting lineup. I was comfortable mocking a Trojan and a Wolverine to the Colts even after the last two the Colts took haven't panned out, and I also hate USC and Michigan. I am confident that Brown and Graham will be solid players. Robert Mathis doesn't have that much more time left on his contract. Will he get re-signed? I'm not sure, but Graham would be a good backup policy. Also, it would be nice to have a punt returner who doesn't call for a fair catch every time a defender gets within 10 yards. Coach Rychleski will turn around the blocking on special teams. It takes time for a unit to recover from Russ Purnell. In the mean time, Holliday is actually good enough to catch the ball and make magic on his own. For Ross, Johnson, and Ulatoski, it's all about making sure injuries don't mess up this team. I would call this a very successful draft.