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Report: Colts targeted Shane Ray in 2015 NFL Draft

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According to FOX Sports' Ross Jones, the Indianapolis Colts hoped that Missouri linebacker Shane Ray would fall to them in the 2015 NFL Draft, but the Broncos took him at number 23, leaving Indy to draft wide receiver Phillip Dorsett.

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It's Colts vs. Patriots week, and we all know the storylines that come with that matchup this time around.  It's their first meeting since Deflategate, yes, but it's also their first meeting since an embarrassing 45-7 defeat that the Patriots handed to the Colts in the AFC Championship game.

Since that moment, the Colts have made moves in an effort to close the gap with New England and be a team built to beat the Patriots.  It has been widely assumed that was the case, and FOX Sports' Ross Jones wrote it definitively this morning: "everything that the Colts did in the offseason was designed to help them beat the Patriots."  Jones wrote that the desire affected everything: including their draft strategy.

Interestingly, Jones says that the Colts were targeting Missouri linebacker Shane Ray at number 29, hoping that he would fall to them.  Of course, that didn't happen, as the Broncos took Ray with the 23rd overall pick.  It always seemed like a stretch that Ray would fall to the Colts, but many people saw the fit with the Colts if he did.  So far this season with the Broncos, Ray has played in five games and has recorded four tackles and two sacks.  The Colts noticed their obvious need on the defensive side of the football and in the area of pass rush, which reportedly led to them targeting Shane Ray.

When Ray didn't fall to them, however, Jones reports that the Colts' focus shifted to wide receiver because of the AFC Championship loss.  "They [the Patriots] took T.Y. out of the game by pressing him and having someone over the top," a source told Jones.  "When they shut him down, it messed with the entire complexion of the offense."  That led to the Colts selecting Miami wide receiver Phillip Dorsett - so that teams no longer could focus in on the team's only deep threat.  Even if the Patriots succeeded at taking away Hilton as a big play guy, the Colts would now have Dorsett to make those plays downfield.

In five games this year, Dorsett has caught eight passes for 129 yards and a touchdown, indeed providing big-play ability by averaging 16.1 yards per catch and providing three plays of over 20 yards.  Even if he wasn't the team's ideal choice at number 29, he was the highest-rated player on their board (perhaps weighted due to perceived need) and they love his potential.  Along with T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief, the Colts could have a formidable receiving corps for several years, which is a good thing when pairing them with Andrew Luck.

Of course, it sounds as if the motivation behind getting Phillip Dorsett was, once again, beating the Patriots.  Bill excels at taking away an opponent's top weapon, so the Colts want to have enough weapons so that, even if Hilton is taken out of the game, the Colts offense will still be able to move the football and score points.  Have they done that?  We'll have to find out Sunday night.