With the big moves of free agency all but done and the NFL Draft getting closer, mock draft season is definitely in full force. We're taking a look at many of them, and you can see that the predicted pick for the Colts at number 29 is really up in the air right now, with a number of different players slotted to Indianapolis near the end of the first round.
One player that hasn't been mentioned much in the first round for the Colts, however, is the same player who Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has the team taking with their 29th overall pick in his most recent mock draft released on Friday: Miami running back Duke Johnson.
In Miller's most recent mock draft, many of the players who have been commonly predicted to the Colts were already taken when Indy's pick rolled around, such as La'El Collins, Landon Collins, and Arik Armstead. So instead, Miller has the Colts addressing their running back position by adding Johnson - who, according to this mock draft, would be the third running back taken in the first round (along with Todd Gurley to the Chargers and Melvin Gordon to the Cardinals).
Duke Johnson, a 5-9, 205 pound back, spent three seasons at Miami, carrying the ball 526 times for 3,519 yards and 26 touchdowns (averaging 6.7 yards per carry), while adding 69 receptions for 719 yards and 4 touchdowns. He had a great 2014 campaign, as he rushed for 1,652 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 6.8 yards per carry, and caught 38 passes for 421 yards and three touchdowns.
The Colts could indeed use help at the running back position, as Frank Gore isn't the long-term answer at the position. Because of that, it wouldn't at all be surprising to see them add a running back at some point in the draft. But in the first round? That's probably unlikely. After spending money to get Frank Gore and extending a tender to Boom Herron, while still having around Zurlon Tipton, the Colts have a solid backfield already for 2014. What they really need most is defensive help, and that doesn't have to mean forcing a player who isn't a good value pick just because of the need - they don't need to be picky about that need, as safety, defensive line, inside linebacker, and pass rusher could all be considered a need for them right now on the defensive side of the football.
Duke Johnson is a good running back, and he would help the Colts and more importantly hopefully provide a long-term answer. But in the first round, the team needs to go a different direction. Johnson has commonly been projected as a second round pick, and so if he falls to the Colts in the second round then it wouldn't be a bad idea to take him. That's not likely to happen, but that doesn't mean the Colts should reach to grab him in the first round with much bigger needs on the other side of the football.