The Indianapolis Colts will host the New York Jets on Monday Night Football at Lucas Oil Stadium this week, and just like last week when the Colts faced the Bills, it will again be a matchup of a good offense against a good defense. And as we look at it, we see that the two franchises have really taken opposite strategies in building their teams.
For the Colts, they've opted to take the approach to build their offense, which makes total sense when considering the fact that Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck have been their quarterbacks. At the most important position in the game, the Colts have had one of the best for most of the past eighteen years (besides a certain 2011 season that we try to forget about). So it makes sense for the Colts to surround their star quarterback with talent, as they've taken the approach to use eight of their last twelve first round picks (over the past 15 years) on an offensive player. Overall, they currently have four former first round picks on the offensive side of the football (Luck, Anthony Castonzo, Andre Johnson, and Phillip Dorsett). The Jets, meanwhile, have only spent five of 17 first round picks (over the same time span) on an offensive player, and their roster only includes two former first round picks on that side of the football (D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold).
Defensively, however, it's the opposite. The Jets have opted to build their defense, and that has been their draft strategy over the past 15 years, spending 12 of their 17 first round picks on a defender. They have nine former first round picks on defense: Quinton Coples, Antonio Cromartie, Calvin Pace, Darrelle Revis, Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams, Calvin Pryor, Sheldon Richardson (suspended for the first four games) and Dee Milliner (on injured reserve with a designation to return). The Colts, meanwhile, have drafted just four defensive players in the first round over the past decade and a half, while their current defense has only two former first round picks: Vontae Davis and Bjoern Werner.
Of course, "first round pick" doesn't automatically mean that the player is a good one (see Richardson, Trent and Werner, Bjoern), but at the very least it reflects the franchise's strategy in building a team. I don't think we can say one or the other is right or wrong, because they're both coming from different situations. The Jets are still trying to find their franchise quarterback, and so they've opted to try to build their defense to compensate for that fact. The Colts, meanwhile, have their franchise quarterback and have opted to build the offense around him.
The Jets have focused mainly on building their defense, while the Colts have focused mainly on building their offense. And on Monday night, the two teams will meet on Monday Night Football for an intriguing matchup.