Coming into this draft the Colts biggest team weaknesses were in the running game on both sides of the ball. My final team needs list was as follows:
In the 1st Round of the draft they picked the top rusher in the NCAA in 2008. Donald Brown is everything the Colts look for in a RB, he can run, catch, block and could even be used as a returner. Some say he does not have long speed but he runs in the 4.4 40 area and certain is quick to and through the hole. He has great vision and is a high character guy who will work hard, is durable, and will play hurt if he needs to. Some think that Brown was selected as the 1B back to Joseph Addai, I think not. I think he may be a 1B to Addai as a rookie, as Addai was to Rhodes as a rookie, but I think Brown was drafted to be the 1A back, as Addai was. I'm excited about this pick.
In the 2nd Round of the draft the Colts picked up Fili Moala, a 6'4", 305 lbs. DT who has the quickness to play as a 3-4 DE and the size to hold up against the run. Moala hsa the strength to push the pocket, the speed to slip through the C/G gap, and the length to make plays in the interior of the defensive line. Additionally, he has the lateral speed to get after the QB and to chase plays down. He's an excellent UT for the Colts with their newly revamped defensive line and was such a big target on the Colts draft board that they traded up to be sure they grabbed him in the 2nd Round.
In the 3rd Round of the draft the Colts selected Jarraud Powers, CB from Auburn. Powers entered the draft as a Junior and has been a solid player for Auburn the last three years. Having said that, I'm shocked by this pick. I'm sure the Colts have a reason to make this selection and that Powers must have been at the top of their board. However, if I were drafting for the Colts I would have selected Victor Harris out of Virginia Tech. Powers is another short CB prospect at only 5'9", which means he joins Jennings and Brandon Foster and smallish cover guys for the Colts. To me, Harris would have brought more value in the cover 2, could have taken over for Marlin Jackson and would have brought value as a punt/kick returner. Only time will tell if this was the right pick but I'm not high on it and think there were a host of players still available which would have brought more overrall value to the team.
With their 4th Round selection the Colts picked Austin Collie of Brigham Young. Collie is a solid pick for the Colts receiving corps, has the ability to play inside and outside and also brings potential return ability. At 6'1 he has good size, displays good hands and I would call him a "poor man's" Brian Robiskie. He led the NCAA last year in receiving yards, runs solid routes, and should be a good target for Manning in the coming years. More high profile picks may have been available but the Colts obviously had their eye on this guy, and it looks like they got the guy they wanted.
With their compensatory pick in the 4th Round the Colts selected Terrance Taylor, DT out of Michigan. Taylor is a true NT at 6'0", 306 lbs, leading all DTs with 37 bench reps at the combine. Built like a "fire hydrant," Taylor is difficult to move off of the ball and plays very stout against the run. With Taylor and Moala on the inside of the DL the Colts have aggressivly upgraded their defensive line and drastically improved their run defense day one entering the 2009 season. The Colts camp competition for DT spots has gotten really busy with Taylor the clear favorite at NT and Moala the clear favorite as a starter at UT.
Traded to Miami with our 2nd Round pick to move up and grab Fili Moala.
In the 6th Round the Colts selected Curtis Painter out of Purdue. Had Painter entered the draft last year he would have probably been a top 5 QB who would have had a chance to go as early as the 1st Round. In terms of arm strength, accuracy and NFL readiness, it is hard to not like Painter as a potential back-up and developmental player at QB. However, I don't care for this pick because of others who were still on the board when we took Painter. Mike Mickens, CB out of Cinncinati, Zack Follett LB out of Cal, and Rashad Jennings RB were all still on the board and we picked up a QB who struggled his senior year of college after losing his primary receiving options and who has questionable ability playing under pressure both in terms of getting rushed by defensive players and playing in pressure situations in big games. There's as much a chance the Painter is a PS project QB as there is that he'll supplant Sorgi in 2009.
The Colts traded up to draft a P, giving up a 6th round selection in the 2010 draft. Pat McAfee of WV is known for his accuracy more than his leg strength and played with the special teams unit at WVU which was very strong. He was top-10 in the NCAA in avg. punt distance and had 25 punts inside the 20 yard line. With Dragosovich and McAfee we have a punter competition ready to go in camp and will hopefully have a suitable replacement for Hunter Smith. In addition, McAfee has a HUGE leg and may take over kickoff responsibilities from Vinatieri and he hsa the accuracy as a K to kick long FGs as well hitting 6/7 from beyond 40 yards.
With the Colts second Round 7 pick, the Colts selected Jaime Thomas, G out of Maryland. Once again, the Colts disappoint me with this pick. The G position is so stacked with prospects, including 3 picks last year who are all capable of playing G, an injured Lilja who must be on his way out the door based on our movement at the position, and two free agent pick-ups pre-draft. Thomas is a big drive blocker who can open holes in the running game but I just don't see a big need for this pick and passing up a player like Mitch King who is an instant STer and potentially could supplant Eric Foster as the UT on passing downs doesn't make any sense to me.
I give the Colts a B grade. The selections I like most are Donald Brown, Fili Moala, Austin Collie, Terrance Taylor and Pat McAfee. I'm less sure about Jerraud Powers and Jaime Thomas, who I feel were either reaches, unnecessary or simply not BPA when they were selected. I know the Colts already picked up two DTs so King was not a "need" in the 7th Round of the draft but neither was G and we passed up a hard-nosed player to make our G competition so big that it's almost certainly going to be impossible to get a good read on all the guys without guessing to some degree. I know we needed a CB and I'm happy we picked one up, but a 5'9 CB joining Jennings and Brandon Foster makes no sense to me. Victor "Macho" Harris is a player, plays very well in a zone coverage scheme like the T2, and brings return ability which would make our ST return competition even better this summer. However, the run D was vastly upgraded and the running offense was upgrade by adding a suitable 1A or 1B back in Donald Brown. The draft addressed 5 of the team's 7 biggest needs and we've not even entered the UDFA signings yet.