The NFL season isn't over yet (nor is the college football season) and the playoffs await in a couple of weeks for the Indianapolis Colts, the AFC South division champions. Some of you won't want to look at the draft whatsoever until the offseason, and that's totally fine. But for others, you can't get enough draft coverage. Our own Stephen Reed put out his first mock draft yesterday, which you can read here. Furthermore, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay released his first mock draft of the draft season as well. You can read it here (insider piece), but let's take a look at who he has the Colts taking.
McShay has the Colts picking 27th and selecting La'El Collins, a 6-4, 324 pound offensive tackle out of LSU. Wrote McShay:
Analysis: The Colts need to do a better job of protecting QB Andrew Luck, as he's taken a lot of hits this season, and finding a way to establish more of a running game should be a priority as well. Collins would help in both areas. He is massive at 6-4, 324 pounds, and projects as either a right tackle or guard in the NFL, as he is just average in pass protection but shows very good burst, strength and toughness as a run-blocker.
Stephen Reed also had the Colts taking Collins in the first round of his mock draft. Here were Reed's thoughts on the selection:
It was tough to make the pick between Collins and the top ILB Bernardrick McKinney. Obviously, I took Collins because protecting Andrew Luck should be both a short-term and long-term goal. Collins has the size and aggressiveness to slide inside to play RG and has the athleticism to kick out to RT if/when Gosder Cheilus is no longer with the team. Another OL early would make me very happy.
In both McShay's first mock and Reed's first mock, they had the Colts selecting Collins while inside linebacker Bernardrick McKinney was still on the board in each draft. The Colts certainly need offensive line help, as we've seen this year, and as Reed notes protecting Andrew Luck (the franchise player) has to be a big priority. So far, Ryan Grigson hasn't done a great job at doing that. The two weakest spots on the Colts line are arguably right guard and right tackle, and selecting Collins would help at both areas, as he could play either guard or tackle. As Reed wrote, the selection of Collins would likely be as an eventual replacement for Gosder Cherilus while at the same time being a guy who could step in at right guard in the meantime. Cherilus' contract escalates to a cap hit of nearly ten million dollars in the 2016 season, so it seems likely that he will be gone before that actually happens. Looking forward at right tackle is something that needs to happen.
At the same time, however, the team needs help on the defensive side of the football. Whether it be inside linebacker, safety, or another spot, the defense can use work. Since Ryan Grigson took over as GM of the Colts, he has used 22 draft selections, and 15 of them have been on offensive players (with only 7 being on the defensive side of the football). Furthermore, he has selected five offensive linemen with the 22 picks. He paid out contracts to Gosder Cherilus and Donald Thomas, among other free agents. So far, Jack Mewhort has shown promise (especially as a run blocker) and the team still really likes Ulrick John, a project tackle taken in the seventh round last year who has spent this entire season on IR. Hugh Thornton has been pretty terrible this season and Khaled Holmes hasn't seen the field much at all. Justin Anderson, a seventh round pick in 2012, was never on the active roster for a game with the Colts. My point is this: Ryan Grigson has invested plenty into the offensive line already, yet it hasn't worked out. I'm all for the Colts adding players to help protect Andrew Luck better, but I think the team needs to look at the defensive side of the football and I have doubts about whether Grigson would take a lineman in the first round considering everything else he has invested in the line. Hopefully I'm wrong, and a lineman wouldn't be a bad selection by the Colts.
I'd go defense, but in the first mock drafts from Todd McShay and our own Stephen Reed, they both have the Colts selecting offensive lineman La'El Collins. We still have a long way to go before the Draft, however, so we're just getting started. What are your thoughts on the Colts possibly selecting Collins?