It seems way too early for this, but mock draft season is very much underway already as the fanbases for all but eight teams are looking forward to the offseason and how to improve. There will be several long months ahead of draft talk and speculation until the actual thing, and the mock drafts have already started.
Today, ESPN's Mel Kiper released his first mock draft of the year, and safe to say his selection for the Colts was... interesting. Kiper has the Colts, who will select 18th in the upcoming draft, taking Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker in the first round.
Suffice to say the Colts should come out of this draft with at least one offensive lineman capable of stepping in early. Decker has a ton of experience -- he could have entered the draft last year and landed late in Round 1 -- and could be your Week 1 starter at left tackle in Indy. Conklin is another option if Decker went off the board first.
So basically, Mel Kiper is saying that the Colts should spend their first round pick on a position that already has an established starter on a long-term contract - when several other spots along the offensive line could use massive upgrades. There are times when you can dislike a particular player in a mock draft, but then there are times like this one where the pick itself makes little sense (cue Colts fans saying, "then Ryan Grigson will probably make it"). The Colts have two legitimate starters along their offensive line who are locked in to start next year: left tackle Anthony Castonzo and left guard Jack Mewhort. Just last offseason, the Colts signed Castonzo to a four-year, $43.812 million extension as they committed to him being their left tackle of the future. So not only does the team have a lot invested in Castonzo, they also have much bigger needs along the line that need addressed. Colts owner Jim Irsay told the Indianapolis Star recently that "we have to be looking inside" when it comes to the offensive line, saying what most have noticed: that the Colts' biggest needs along the line are on the interior, at center and then at guard. He also said that Castonzo and Mewhort are guys they can build around and clearly also has high hopes for right tackle Denzelle Good.
Simply put, there's no reason for the Colts to take a left tackle in the first round. They have massive needs (such as a pass rusher or interior offensive line) and it would be stupid to add a guy at one of the few positions that the team has locked up long-term with a reliable starter. Even the owner of the franchise has admitted that the team's biggest needs along the line are on the interior, so unless the tackle is a guy they absolutely LOVE, it doesn't seem likely that they would spend their top pick - one they absolutely have to nail - on a tackle, especially a left tackle.
Maybe Kiper thinks that Taylor Decker projects as an NFL right tackle, which would make this pick much more reasonable. There's a chance that Decker could slide over to right tackle in the NFL, an area that the Colts very well could use an upgrade at. But Decker played left tackle at Ohio State and Kiper did say that Decker could start week one at left tackle, so it's likely that Kiper instead simply projected the best offensive lineman on his board to the Colts at number 18 without really considering the fit. Anyway, this mock draft really doesn't mean anything considering how far away the draft is, but it's good discussion material as we approach the offseason.