ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released another mock draft this morning, and in this mock he predicts the first three rounds of the draft as if he were each team's general manager. He notes that in this mock draft he won't pass on a player at a certain pick just because he likes the fit better with another team - though I thought that was what all mock drafts were, but maybe not Kiper's previous ones?
Nonetheless, let's take a look at who he had the Colts taking in the first three rounds of his draft. In the first round he has them taking Miami offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, in the second round he has them drafting LSU defensive end Danielle Hunter, and in the third round he has them selecting USC cornerback Josh Shaw. Here's what he wrote about those picks:
Analysis: I know the offensive line made strides last year, but for me the difference between five to six wins and 12 wins is No. 12, and if you look at the overall talent profile of the offensive line year and conclude, "Yeah, we're good." I think you're being optimistic. I'm adding talent. Flowers has the upside of a starting left tackle, and he has a chance to push Gosder Cherilus out of the starting role at right tackle right away. For me, the focus on the offensive line isn't just about protection, but about taking pressure off Andrew Luck and finding consistency in the run game. Hunter was more productive than his numbers indicated last season, as he had a number of pressures that didn't result in a sack. At 6-foot-5 and 250-plus pounds with a sub-4.6 time, he has the frame and quickness, he just needs molding. Our top two pass-rushers going into the season are 34 (Robert Mathis) and 32 (Trent Cole), so it's worth adding some youth in that area. Shaw has a ton of ability but comes with some character concerns after the bizarre incident at USC that kept him off the field for most of 2014. Still, if he's staying in line, he's a potential steal this far down the board, and I'd take the risk.
Kiper seems determined that the Colts will draft an offensive lineman in the first round (it's now three mock drafts in a row for him), and so let's just say that the team does look to the offensive line with the 29th overall pick. In that case, I think that Ereck Flowers would be a good pick and would be a solid lineman for a number of years who could take over for Gosder Cherilus in a year - or this year, should Cherilus not return healthy or play poorly when he does come back. So while I would look to a different position if I were the Colts' general manager, I don't mind the pick of Flowers as much because he's a good player, would help the Colts, and is good value at the pick.
As far as the later rounds, if Danielle Hunter is still available when the Colts pick in the second round he would be a good addition, as Kiper noted that he would help the pass rush - an area where, as general manager Ryan Grigson noted this offseason, you can never have too many guys. And for the third round, Kiper has the Colts adding a cornerback in Josh Shaw, and they could use a corner. Kiper notes that if he stays out of trouble he could be a steal, and those are always players that teams are looking to take a chance on.
What are your thoughts on this mock draft for the Colts?