Yes, it's early but we're in the latter portion of the NFL season and the college football season is entering its final 6 weeks, so it could be a good time to unveil my very early Colts mock draft.
As the months pass by and prospects rise and fall, mock drafts will change. This will definitely change. Also, let's keep the criticism to constructive and not just "Player X sucks" or "your stupid".
Now, without further ado, here's the mock draft, which I have done using the FanSpeak simulator.
1st Round -- 23rd Overall
Germain Ifedi -- Offensive Tackle / Guard -- Texas A&M
Ifedi is a versatile offensive lineman from a good system. Ifedi has a lot of experience, having been a starter since his redshirt freshman season. He has experience at right tackle and guard, but could be better suited to play as a right tackle to start his career. The Colts could use a good right tackle, so it works out well for both sides. Ifedi has very good size and with his experience he should have no big issues switching to the NFL. He comes from a program with some good offensive linemen who are in the NFL as well, and I believe that matters. Ifedi can be an immediate starter for the Colts.
2nd Round -- 54th Overall
Nick Martin -- Center -- Notre Dame
Martin is a strong, efficient man blocking center who comes from a team that has one of the best rushing attacks in the nation. The Colts are not strong at center. Khaled Holmes has been an ineffective center with the Colts, and Jonotthan Harrison, although better than Holmes, is not the long-term answer at center. The Colts need to commit an early draft pick to a healthy, experienced and productive center from a school that has created a lot of very good offensive lineman. Martin could and should be an immediate starter for the Colts.
3rd Round -- 86th Overall
Cam Sutton -- Cornerback -- Tennessee
Sutton is an experienced, versatile cornerback. Sutton started every game as a true freshman, meaning he has 3 years of experience at cornerback. He has the size at 5'11, 190 lbs to play either in the nickel or as an outside cornerback, although a lot of his cornerback play comes from the outside spot. He's an instinctive player who tracks the ball well and knows how to knock the ball loose even if the receiver is able to make the initial catch. He's an underrated player in this draft and could be an immediate starter for the Colts. Greg Toler is a free agent in 2016 for the Colts, and Sutton could be a good replacement for him.
4th Round -- 118th Overall
Antonio Morrison -- Inside Linebacker -- Florida
The Colts are weak in terms of depth at inside linebacker and have Jerrell Freeman as an impending free agent in the 2016 offseason. The Colts could use a good 3rd inside linebacker and a good special teamer. Morrison is known more as a thumper and plays very well against the run. He can also blitz the quarterback. He isn't great in coverage, but if Freeman is re-signed, which is more likely to be true than not true, Morrison wouldn't have to be relied upon to be an immediate contributor, but has the tools to be great on special teams. This is more of a long-term, safety net kind of pick that the Colts need, especially at inside linebacker.
5th Round -- 148th Overall
Kevin Hogan -- Quarterback -- Stanford
Matt Hasselbeck is old and Andrew Luck isn't as invincible as people think. The Colts need to start looking at long-term backup options. Hogan is a good option in the middle rounds. Personally, I like to follow a lot of the Bill Parcells rules for drafting a quarterback. These rules include:
- Player must have a degree
- Player must have 22 wins
- Player must have 3 years of starter experience
- Player must be a senior
Hogan checks off all those boxes, whereas most quarterbacks don't. On top of that, he's performed well in the very same offense that Andrew Luck quarterbacked in college, which is a pro-style offense. Hogan's completion percentage over the last 3 years is 64.6% and 67.2% percentage this season (through 11 games). He is known to be a hard working player and he and Andrew Luck did share a season together in 2011. Like Luck, he has shown the ability to run with the football and has a couple of games in his career where he has amassed over 100 yards rushing. I see Hogan as an almost perfect backup to Andrew Luck.
7th Round -- 212th Overall
Jake McGee -- Tight End -- Florida
With Dwayne Allen's future up in question (and with the top 2 tight ends on the Colts being free agents), the Colts could look to draft a tight end in the draft. I'd be almost shocked in Coby Fleener ends up on another team, but as mentioned before, Allen's future with the Colts is a question mark. McGee is an experienced starter from a good program in Florida and is a well rounded prospect. He's a good blocker, but has shown the ability to be a good receiver, hauling in over 70 catches over the past two seasons (and the season isn't over). If Allen is gone, he could easily become a #2 tight end for the Colts.
Overall, the big issue for the Colts continues to be the offensive line. Anthony Castonzo and Jack Mewhort are two good starters who will be here for awhile, but every other place is a question mark. Joe Reitz is a good plug and place offensive lineman, but someone like Ifedi is a much better long-term option. Reitz could then be moved to right guard. I think it's important to focus on the offensive line and not be afraid to make a few picks early on. The Cowboys have made it a point to select offensive linemen early in drafts and it has worked out very well for them. They have the best offensive line in football.
As for the rest of the picks, I see Sutton as an immediate starter for the Colts. Morrison and Hogan are depth picks who can do the job if needed. Both can also be good long-term players. McGee is an underrated player who could be a good #2 tight end if Dwayne Allen were to leave.