Seeing as we're just a few days away from the NFL Draft, the Monday Morning Quarterback's Peter King has decided to get in on the mock draft fun and release his predictions for the first round.
Though King's mock draft is interesting and involves another trade for a top-five pick, his pick for the Colts is expectedly boring, as it's the same pick many others have had throughout the process: King has the Colts taking Ohio State tackle Taylor Decker with the 18th overall pick.
GM Ryan Grigson knows he has significant roster holes, and none more gaping than the offensive line. Colts quarterbacks got hit way too much last year in addition to being sacked 37 times; the running game, at 3.6 yards per rush, was putrid. Decker's not quick, but he's NFL-strong at 6-7 and 310, and you're not going to bull-rush him.
We've all read about Decker a hundred times already, so there's not much for me to add here. Decker played in 54 games, started 42 of them, helped Ohio State win a National Championship in 2014, and was a first-team All-American in 2015. We know all of that, and we also know that Decker would slide in at right tackle along the Colts' offensive line - a position I don't consider to be as big of a need as other positions - even other spots along the offensive line, such as the center position.
It's that area that I want to focus on when it comes to King's mock draft, as we've seen a number of mock drafts with Decker to the Colts already. In King's mock draft, he has Alabama center Ryan Kelly going 29th to the Arizona Cardinals, and here's what King wrote about Kelly and the Cardinals' pick:
There are not many more highly respected or well-liked players, overall, in this draft than Kelly. He seems like as much of a lock to be good for several years as anyone in this draft, and that's not an exaggeration. With Arizona scotch-taping this position together in recent times (A.Q. Shipley is currently the starting center, and he is a placeholder for the next center), GM Steve Keim would be filling a need spot with a steady-eddie player who should play in the Pro Bowl one day. Or many days. (Dark-horse possibility here: Illinois defensive end Jihad Ward.)
King thinks that Ryan Kelly is one of the most highly respected players in this draft, is as safe of a pick as anybody, and could make multiple Pro Bowls. My question to King would simply be this: what is it about Taylor Decker at right tackle that makes it a better pick for the Colts than Ryan Kelly at center, a bigger area of need? Most people who have the Colts passing over Kelly simply do so because they don't think a center is good enough value there, but I think Ryan Kelly could potentially make a bigger impact on the Colts' offensive line than Taylor Decker could, as it would be addressing a bigger area of need. That's not to say that the Colts have to draft Kelly or even an offensive lineman in the first round, but I'd think the Colts would be very happy to get a safe, long-term starter who will make multiple Pro Bowls at a huge area of need. That part of King's mock draft is interesting to me, but it seems he (like so many others) simply took the best lineman available and slotted him to Indianapolis in this mock draft.