Vindication is the word that comes to mind when I look at the first two draft picks for the Colts. I've argued for weeks, and months, about who the Colts should and shouldn't draft, and man it feels good to be right.
From day one I've said that the Colts won't, and shouldn't spend a first round pick on yet another receiver. With Kenny Britt, Hakeem Nicks, and Brian Robiskie still on the board as the top receivers left, Bill Polian passed on all three; thus proving my point that the receiver position isn't as big of a problem as some of you believe. Did you really think that the optimistic feelings the Colts had towards Roy Hall and Pierre Garcon was a load of bull? Because I didn't. Bill Polian doesn't just blow draft picks. He meticulously hand picks the best talent out of each draft. Roy Hall and Pierre Garcon will go into the 2009 season competing for that 3rd receiver position. However I see both of these guys being used sparingly as Clark will mostly play from the slot, giving Tamme and Santi a chance to play on the line.
As far as the Moala pick is concerned, well, I was right in the sense that I knew Polian wouldn't draft an UT with his first round pick. Hood was there for the taking, but he passed on him, Hood's value just wasn't that good compared to Donald Brown.
Follow me over to the next page for some more in-depth analysis.
With the addition of Donald Brown, the Colts can hopefully restore their reputation as the most deadly offense in the league. I love me some Peyton Manning, but as you can see from the past two playoff failures, having a reliable running game, specifically running backs, is one of the most important pieces you need to reach the promise land.
What Donald Brown brings to the table is everything that Joseph Addai doesn't. He's a more physical north and south style runner, with a knack for making game breaking plays in the running game. The best part is, while being a phenominal runner, he still possesses good pass catching skills, and is more than capable as a pass blocker. The guy can do it all.
I realize there are a lot of Addai fans out there freaking out right now, and honestly, you should be. While I don't think Addai is going to be cut, he's basically on probation as far as I'm concerned. The Colts didn't make this pick just because they lost Rhodes (although I'm sure it was part of the reason), but because they realized what type of running back will produce more efficiently: a Rhodes-esque back. Addai's constant injury problems, and habit of dancing around caught the attention of Polian, as he called Addai out on it after the loss to the Chargers, and he sought to remedy the problem. When your #1 running back can't handle more than 155 carries without missing a ton of games due to injuries, and when he is healthy, fail to produce at all, something needs to be done.
Joseph Addai still has two more years left on his contract. During the 2009 season, I can see the Colts using Brown like they used Addai in 2006; have him come off of the bench, but still receive most of the carries. Something along the lines of a 60-40 carry ratio would suffice. Slowly but surely, Brown will work his way into the lead role, moving Addai to the second running back position where he belongs.
There's no question Addai brings some great attributes. He's amazing as a pass blocker, and when out in space he can be very deadly. So combining Brown's north and south running style with Addai's receiving abilities you end up with one sick backfield. Something very reminiscent of the 2006 season, except Donald Brown is a much better running back than both Addia and Rhodes at the time.
The depth behind Brown and Addai will be comprised of Lance Ball and Mike Hart. Lance Ball showed some promise last season, and will provide some quality depth, mostly for when Addai inevitably gets hurt. Mike Hart on the other hand, is still recovering from that ACL tear he suffered last season, and is due to be ready to roll near the season opening, but that's being optimistic. But as Polian mentioned several times in his press conference, Mike Hart was never going to be anything but a role player anyways.
All in all, the running game is looking much more polished now with Brown in the mix. Granted he's no Rashad Jennings, but that's fine by me.
I don't think there is a single Colts fan (aside from LukeNukem) who didn't want a DT taken in the draft this year. But while most fans were praying Hood or Jerry would be taken, I knew it just wasn't going to happen. Compared to the remaining players at the 27th pick, and the fact that Peria Jerry was drafted by the Falcons (which I predicted, a-thank you), it just didn't make sense to take Hood over someone like Brown, which is why Polian didn't pull the trigger.
Leading up to the Colts second round pick, there were a ton of players left that I was just salivating at the idea of taking. And when I saw the Colts traded up, I started to get really nervous. MRW, yellowsnow, and I were all puzzled as to who the Colts were targetting. But when the name Fili Moala popped up on the tv, I wasn't shocked, but I was definitely surprised. I sat there for a second in disbelief trying to figure out what just happened, and then it hit me. I let out a huge sigh of relief, because not only did the Colts just fill a huge need, but they drafted a quality player, and it was even relatively early in the draft, by Colts standards anyways.
Here's a little more on what Moala brings to the table, thanks to NFL.com:
Positives: Rare size for the position with the frame to add mass. ... Measures in at nearly 300 pounds, but considering his height, Moala almost has a lanky build. ... Good initial quickness off the snap. ... Powerful hands to slap away the offensive linemen trying to control him. ... Quick to recognize the play and work his way toward the action. ... Good size and strength to collapse the interior running lanes. ... High-effort player who will pursue laterally and down the field. ... Durable performer who has seen starting action every year of his career. ... Good bloodlines. Cousin Haloti Ngata was a first-round pick and is a standout defensive lineman with the Baltimore Ravens.
The great thing about Moala, aside from the fact that he is a HUGE (literally) upgrade from the current UT's we have, is his body frame. Yeah he's 6'4" 300 +/- lbs, but he doesn't look like some fat guy in the middle, and he certainly doesn't play like one. Hopefully with the addition of Moala, the DT position will be improved in both against the run and the pass, once and for all. Oh god, I can't freaking wait to see the havoc Freeney and Mathis are going to cause when the pocket is constantly being collapsed on QB's forcing them into Freeny and Mathis' way. HAS THE SEASON STARTED YET?!?!
So then, all in all, I give these first to picks an A++++++++++++++++++++++++++. What about you?