Last year, the Colts' first round selection of wide receiver Phillip Dorsett was universally criticized by most "analysts." This year, it's the exact opposite when it comes to Indy's first round pick, as their selection of Alabama center Ryan Kelly in the first round is being universally praised today.
Keep in mind that some of the people now praising it were the same ones who insisted for so long that the Colts absolutely had to have a tackle or that the Colts needed to move Jack Mewhort back to guard (something that happened after week two last year), so it's important to note that the opinions of these "analysts" often are misguided - but the one thing that was clear amongst pretty much everyone in the national media was that the Colts needed offensive line help, so the fact that they added help up front in the first round makes plenty of people happy. Let's take a look at what some people are saying about the Colts' top pick:
NFL Media's Mike Mayock didn't give a grade, but he did rave about the Colts' selection of Kelly:
He is scheme diverse, and can play zone or man. He can play all three interior offensive line positions. He's as good a center prospect as I've seen in years. I think he will be a Pro Bowler.
The Colts had a hole in their offensive line, and it was stopping franchise quarterback Andrew Luck from actualizing his potential. With Kelly playing the pivot, maybe now we can find out how good Luck can be. My rating on Kelly isn't as high as some, but he fills a big need.
A very safe pick for general manager Ryan Grigson, who has made his share of head-scratchers in the last few years. Andrew Luck has been getting killed with pressure up the middle, and Kelly can come right in and make a big difference. He's a road-grader at the point of attack, but he can also move to the second level and dominate when asked to seal-block linebackers and safeties. Kelly becomes the first solid center for the franchise since Jeff Saturday.
The offensive line has taken a lot of heat in Indianapolis, but they grab the top center on the board in Kelly. Kelly gave up only 11 hurries on the season. He's strong in the run game, playing with good balance both at the point of attack and at the second level. Every offensive line coach that we talked to this offseason raved about Kelly's ability, both on and off the field. He's a great fit for the Colts' power run scheme and he'll go a long way toward shoring up what has been a poor center position the last few years.
CBS Sports' Pete Prisco loved the pick, giving it an A+ (one of only two first round picks to receive an A+ grade):
Love this pick for the Colts. They had to get him. Great pick.
All along, the narrative was that the Colts needed a tackle, but the truth was the interior was the weakest spot. Kelly is a smart, tough, battle-tested, respected pivot who will be a great match mentally for Andrew Luck. A history of knee injuries for Kelly scared off a few teams, but he was universally praised for his strong virtues. A few ugly games aside, he's as solid as there is on the interior in this draft.
The MMQB's Peter King didn't assign a grade, but he really liked the Colts' pick:
I think the Colts made a brilliant pick in Ryan Kelly, based on my recent talks with people around the league on Kelly. I was sure he'd last well into the twenties, only because of the relative strength of the center crop this year and the feeling by GMs that centers aren't as important as tackles. But with a quarterback like Andrew Luck, GM Ryan Grigson knew he didn't want to scotch-tape such an important position for the franchise's long-term future anymore, and it was a relatively easy call.
NFL.com's Chad Reuter gave the Colts an A for their pick:
Ryan Kelly will be a stud in the middle, and protecting Andrew Luck became truly important after he missed time last season.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller didn't hand out grades, but he did take to twitter to express how much he likes Kelly and the Colts' pick:
Ryan Kelly has the highest grade for a center I've ever assigned. #Alabama— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 27, 2016
Lastly, our readers seemed to like the pick a lot as well, as 83% of you gave the pick an A at the time this article was published while another 15% gave it a B - meaning that 98% of you think the pick was either an A or a B, a unanimously good grade for the team.