The 2015 NFL Draft will be held on April 30 through May 2 in Chicago, and it is a time where the 32 NFL teams will look to add some pieces to improve both this year and in future years. The Indianapolis Colts currently have nine picks in the Draft, including at least one in each round, and therefore they should be active on Draft day. Who might they target? We're taking a look at a number of different prospects, and today we take a look at Pittsburgh offensive lineman T.J. Clemmings.
Clemmings (6-6, 315 pounds) played defensive end upon first arriving to Pittsburgh, and he stayed there in the 2010 and 2012 seasons (as well as a redshirt season in 2011). He played in eight games and started six in 2012 at defensive end, recording 20 tackles (and a tackle for loss). The Pitt coaching staff moved him to offensive line, however, and he started every game at right tackle for the Panthers over his final two seasons. He was a team captain in 2014 and was named first-team All-ACC, as well as getting an invite to play in the Senior Bowl.
Has great size, athleticism, and natural talents that will make him an early draft choice, whether in the first round or early in the second. Has a lot of potential that teams will absolutely love. His athleticism is apparent right away and he moves well, but he also has the strength to hold his own in the trenches.
He still needs work and needs developing, as the talent is clearly there but doesn't always translate as well onto the field. Likely will need to go somewhere with a solid coaching staff to continue to work on his game and reach his potential.
Big Board Rankings
NFL.com (Mike Mayock) - tied for number 5 offensive tackle
CBSSports.com - 28th overall, number 5 offensive tackle
Mocking the Draft - 22nd overall, number 3 offensive tackle
Mock Draft Predictions
Stephen Reed's most recent mock draft: selected by San Francisco 49ers, 15th overall
Josh Wilson's most recent mock draft: not drafted in the first round
How Would He Help the Colts?
Clemmings has two major factors going for him when it comes to the Colts possibly adding him: 1) he's a right tackle; and 2) he has yet to reach his potential. The Colts need a right tackle to eventually replace Gosder Cherilus. There are questions even entering this season about his health and productivity, and then further questions surrounding his contract after the season. A long-term replacement is needed, and while that doesn't have to come this offseason, if the Colts were to spend a top pick on a lineman it would almost certainly have to be the long-term replacement for either Cherilus or guard Todd Herremans. T.J. Clemmings has the ability to take over and be a solid starter for many years to come at the right tackle position for the Colts.
Furthermore, Clemmings has yet to reach his potential. While there's always risk involved in the draft, it's often a risk worth taking for many teams who see the best still ahead of a prospect. That's T.J. Clemmings, as with a little more work he could not only develop into a serviceable starter but a top-notch starter at the NFL level. Again, his technique needs work and he's still rather raw, but the talent is undeniable.
So those are the two main factors in favor of Clemmings in the first round for the Colts if he's still available at pick number 29, and like a number of these offensive linemen that we're looking at, it wouldn't be a bad pick for Indy if they added Clemmings with that pick - though perhaps not the best or most likely option at the pick for Indy, considering other needs and players that figure to be available.