Every year after the NFL season has wrapped up (or is getting close to wrapping up), draft talk begins to take over headlines. One of the aspects of draft talk is draft re-grades, which is basically analyzing a draft class based on what we now have seen on the field. I typically do this after three years, as I think by that time we have a pretty good idea about the players drafted, but ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. does this after one year.
He gave his draft grades immediately after the 2015 NFL Draft, and recently he offered up his re-grade of the draft (it's an Insider piece). Basically, he didn't love the Colts' draft when it happened and he still doesn't love it, as he actually lowered the grade for the Colts' most recent draft class after one year, from a B- at the time to now giving them a C. Here's his explanation:
This was how I ended my grades write-up: "If there's a big gripe, it's the Colts seem to consistently take for granted that Andrew Luck won't get hurt despite all the hits. They didn't add serious talent at tackle or guard, and I think more bodies and competition up front would make a difference for a team that really should have Super Bowl aspirations. Hopefully, they stay healthy up front." And while Henry Anderson could be one of the steals of the draft (even after the injury),David Parry was solid and Phillip Dorsett is still a talented "We'll see," I just think the team took a step backward this season, and the draft played a role. There were useful O-lineman available in several spots.
It seems that Kiper's rationale behind giving the Colts' draft a C lies in the fact that they didn't really address their offensive line. Considering the fact that their offensive line struggled at times once again in 2015 and that the Colts drafted a wide receiver in the first round instead of some capable linemen, Kiper isn't giving the Colts a great grade in his re-draft, which is understandable when considering that point of view.
At the same time, however, we have to realize that Andrew Luck's kidney injury came while scrambling, so it's hard to blame the offensive line for that, and we have to consider that the rest of the draft doesn't look too bad. The Colts didn't use a top pick to address their offensive line, but what they did do was add some guys who could potentially be solid contributors for the next several years.
Every single member of the Colts' eight-player draft class from last year played in at least three games for the Colts in 2015, while four of them started games. Combined, the draft class accounted for 69 games played and 31 games started. A few really stood out, especially defensive lineman Henry Anderson. Through the first nine games of the season, Anderson was one of the team's best defensive players and was looking very impressive before a torn ACL unfortunately ended his season after only nine games. Fellow defensive lineman David Parry started 16 games this year while playing as the nose tackle, and while he seemed to hit the rookie wall later in the season, he still showed promise and the ability to be a contributor inside on the defensive line. Safety Clayton Geathers played in 15 games and started two and really lived up to his reputation as a big hitter, and he could factor into the safety position much more moving forward. Even seventh round pick Denzelle Good was on the roster for the entire season and started four games at right tackle, proving to be a guy who the Colts have high hopes for in the future.
Of course, the top pick receives the most attention, and the Colts' top two picks never really got a chance to show what they could do in 2015 due to injury. First round pick Phillip Dorsett missed several games, while third round pick D'Joun Smith missed most of the year. Their lack of production surely hurt the Colts in this re-draft, along with the fact that they didn't address their offensive line until the seventh round. I don't particularly think that Kiper is too far off in the grade he gave the team (it might be a bit low, considering the one he gave them a year ago), but I do think that the draft class exceeded my expectations overall. There were some hits and some questionable picks, but I think it should turn out to be a solid class for Ryan Grigson and the Colts.