The Indianapolis Colts hold the 29th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, and barring a trade, it will be just the second time in franchise history that they have selected at that spot.
They also did so in 2005, and they grabbed a young defensive back out of Michigan named Marlin Jackson. He spent five seasons with the Colts, appearing in 56 games and starting 32 of them, adding 221 tackles, 0.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, 15 passes defensed, and four interceptions. He was a part of two AFC Championship teams and a Super Bowl champion, and he experienced a five-year run in which the Colts went 65-15 in the regular season, won four division titles and made five playoff appearances, and compiled a 6-4 playoff record, making it to two Super Bowls and winning one. Obviously that wasn't because of Marlin Jackson (rather, it was some guy wearing number 18 on the other side of the football), but he enjoyed a terrific period of the Colts' success.
I should backtrack a bit, however, and note that the success wasn't all because of Marlin Jackson. But he did provide the crucial play that sent the Colts to the Super Bowl in their dramatic 38-34 AFC Championship game win over the Patriots. He picked off Tom Brady to seal the game. Bob Lamey's call of the play still rings fresh in the minds of Colts fans: "INTERCEPTED!! MARLIN JACKSON!! MARLIN'S GOT IT!! WE'RE GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL!!"
Until this year, that was the only time the Colts have ever picked at the 29th spot in the draft. And while it won't go down as one of their all-time great picks, Jackson did a solid job while he was in Indy. How have other players at the pick fared? Let's take a look at the history of the 29th overall pick, dating back to the 2000 NFL Draft.
|Recent NFL Draft History at Pick Number 29|
|2014||Patriots||Dominique Easley||DT||11 games played (2 starts), 6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass defensed, 1 interception|
|2013||Vikings||Cordarrelle Patterson||WR||32 games (13 starts), 78 receptions, 853 yarsd, 5 TDs|
|2012||Vikings||Harrison Smith||S||40 games played (39 starts), 187 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 23 passes defensed, 10 interceptions (3 TDs)|
|2011||Bears||Gabe Carimi||OL||48 games played (26 starts)|
|2010||Jets||Kyle Wilson||CB||80 games played (28 starts), 139 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, 18 passes defensed, 3 interceptions|
|2009||Giants||Hakeem Nicks||WR||86 games played (65 starts), 349 receptions, 5,027 yards, 31 TDs|
|2008||49ers||Kentwan Balmer||DE||46 games played (11 starts), 39 tackles, 2 passes defensed|
|2007||Ravens||Ben Grubbs||OL||122 games played (118 starts)|
|2006||Jets||Nick Mangold||OL||141 games played (141 starts)|
|2005||Colts||Marlin Jackson||DB||56 games played (32 starts), 221 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 15 passes defensed, 4 interceptions|
|2004||Falcons||Michael Jenkins||WR||130 games played (79 starts), 354 receptions, 4,427 yards, 25 TDs|
|2003||Packers||Nick Barnett||LB||153 games played (139 starts), 732 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 7 fumble recoveries, 42 passes defensed, 12 interceptions (2 TDs)|
|2002||Bears||Marc Colombo||OL||111 games played (95 starts)|
|2001||Rams||Ryan Pickett||DT||207 games played (185 starts), 382 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, 33 passes defensed|
|2000||Jaguars||R.Jay Soward||WR||13 games played (2 starts), 14 receptions, 154 yards, 1 TD|
You'll likely notice another familiar face for Colts fans on that list in wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. Drafted by the Giants 29th overall in 2009, he had a pretty good career with them before his play dropped off due to injuries. The Colts signed him for the 2014 season hoping that he could re-gain his form from early in his career, but that didn't happen. Now, he's with the Titans trying to do the same thing he was trying to do last year with the Colts, only this time without Andrew Luck at quarterback.
There are some good picks at the spot, such as Ryan Pickett, Nick Barnett, Nick Mangold, and Ben Grubbs, but then there are also some very bad picks as well, such as R.Jay Soward and Kentwan Balmer. It's an average group of players for a first round pick, and clearly just like any other pick there have been stars and busts. For the Colts in this year's draft, it's crucial that they grab someone who falls into that first category and not the second.