It's officially the week of the NFL Draft, and that means two things: first, that mock drafts are nearly done, but second, that there will be a lot of mock drafts released this week.
As is his usual custom, SB Nation's Dan Kadar released his latest mock draft on Monday morning, and he has the Colts adding much-needed pass rush help by taking Eastern Kentucky's Noah Spence:
This is the range in the draft where there will be interest in Alabama center Ryan Kelly. But what offers more impact for a team, a center or a pass rusher? If the answer is the latter, Spence is the easy choice for the Colts.
Spence will certainly be in the discussion for the Colts, as it is expected that he will still be available at the 18th overall pick. He is a very talented pass rusher and had a productive collegiate career, but he also has some drug concerns. After a terrific sophomore season at Ohio State in which he recorded eight sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss, and was named first-team All-Big Ten, Spence was banned from the conference for multiple failed drug tests. He then transferred to Eastern Kentucky, where he had a standout season in 2015 in recording 11.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss. The off-the-field questions are likely a big reason why he could drop in the draft, but at the same time, we haven't heard of any issues recently and a terrific Bleacher Report profile on Spence talked about how he has embraced drug testing to keep him in check.
It will be interesting to see what the Colts do with Spence, assuming the edge rusher is still available at pick number 18. General manager Ryan Grigson has said before that he doesn't take players with character concerns early in the draft, but he also gave himself an out last week by saying they were still removing red flags from players. All it would take is for the Colts to feel comfortable-enough with Spence to remove the red flag from his draft profile, and that's a very realistic thing to think might have happened. We can't know the Colts' thoughts on him, but I think Grigson's comments last week make it increasingly possible that Noah Spence could be considered with the 18th pick. The Colts desperately need pass rush help, and while they also need help along the offensive line, it's easier to get help along the line later than it is pass rush. SB Nation's Danny Kelly wrote a terrific piece recently on how you need to draft a pass rusher early in the draft if you want a good one, and I think that's something the Colts need to do. They can't force a pick, but Noah Spence would be nice value at the spot and would address a major concern.