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T.J. Green and Le'Raven Clark Are Not Ideal Picks for Colts

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Stampede Blue's Andrew Aziz explains why T.J. Green and Le'Raven Clark are not ideal selections for the Colts.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

I'm not going to argue that the Colts "should have taken Player X" because that's a very silly argument to make. I'm going to argue why the day 2 selections are not ideal selections for the Colts.

The Colts lost several players in free agency and have glaring needs at a few positions. They are not in a position like some other teams, where they can start stacking towards the future. This team not only needs some young blood, but they need some young starters.

T.J. Green and Le'Raven Clark are the same type of players. They play completely different positions, but both are the same in one regard: they are developmental projects. They are players that need at least a couple of years of development, but have the tools to be successful. To dispel the picks and to say that they will not be good would be irresponsible and silly on my end and that is not what I'm saying. What I am saying is that the Colts are not in a position to be drafting long-term players when they need players to help out immediately.

Colts Twitter darling and fellow Canadian Jeremy "MyColtsAccount" Stevenson sent out a tweet that stuck with me:

The Colts have made it a point to draft impact players in the first 3 rounds. I think most teams want to find impact players in the first 3 rounds. Grigson has done a hell of a job in the 3rd round. Dwayne Allen and T.Y. Hilton in 2012, Donte Moncrief in 2014 and Henry Anderson in 2015 is a very good record to have. Even Hugh Thornton in 2013 isn't bad because he's become a decent depth player who can occasionally come in and start. Almost all of these players have had profound impacts on the Colts. The players that Jeremy Stevenson mentioned are all players that had big impacts as rookies. You will not see Le'Raven Clark in 2016 or even 2017 unless it is due to injury (which is entirely possible). The general consensus by just about every analyst (myself included) is that Clark needs to develop and improve his technique. This will require a few years of development. Le'Raven Clark comes from a spread system at Texas Tech. The Colts are not a spread offense and Clark will need to adjust to a pro style NFL offense. His tape is pretty ugly, but the tools are there.

T.J. Green is another player who defines the word raw. Green started his career as a wide receiver and spent the past 2 seasons on defense as a defensive back. Again, the consensus on him is similar to that of Clark's: he needs to develop and he's at least 2 years away from starting. He can play and he has great potential (as does Clark), but I'm under the opinion that the Colts should be drafting players that can contribute immediately because this team isn't that far away from a Super Bowl. Green has the length, he has the athleticism and he has the tackling ability to be a productive player down the line. I expect him to be a good special teams player to start his career and I wrote in one of my articles last week that the Colts needed to get some players who can play on special teams. In that regard, Green is a good pick. Safety is another story. Mike Adams is getting up there in age and may not be as productive this season. Clayton Geathers is a big question mark as well. There were safeties on the board that had potential to start immediately. I don't get the logic to settle for a guy in the 2nd round who will start 2-3 years down the line. Safety is one of the most complex positions in football. You need to be versatile, have good vision and be a quick twitch athlete (just to name a few important traits). Some of these things take years to learn and a young player with 2 years of experience on defense most likely does not know these things.

On a side note, I believe that Chuck Pagano and Joe Philbin made the 2nd and 3rd round picks, respectively, based on the idea that they can develop them. Both are talented coaches with a good record of developing young players, so I get why they would want to make those picks.

Another issue I have with the picks is that both picks are very risky. These players are not developed and you're putting 100% of your faith into the coaches to develop these players properly. These risky type of picks are either hit or miss. For every Terron Armstead, there is a Manelik Watson. For every Kam Chancellor, there is a Walt Aikens. It is risky to go after developmental players, especially going after two of them in the 2nd and 3rd round.

What I find surprising is that the Colts went with Ryan Kelly in the 1st round and then Green and Clark in the 2nd and 3rd round. Ryan Kelly is perhaps the exact opposite of Green and Clark. He's considered by many to be one of the "safer" prospects in the class and he can be an effective player immediately. He's developed and experienced, which is the exact opposite of Green and Clark. You would think that after going with a safe, strong prospect in Kelly in the 1st, that they would would go with other players that will immediately affect the team. You would think that based on Grigson's drafting history, that they would go with players that can be effective immediately. This is the most surprised I've ever been in the Grigson era when it comes to the draft. One project pick I can get, but both of them being projects who will only start down the line? Even then, you do not know if these players will ever become starters with the Colts. Whether you agree with the picks or not, you have to admit that Grigson going with two developmental players is a surprise.

So, here were are. The Colts have 5 selections remaining. The edge defender/outside linebacker spot is still the biggest need and still has three 30+ year old players in the last year of the contract. While I could be wrong, I doubt the Colts will find a starting edge defender on day 3. Jonathan Newsome had his flashes, but in general, it's tough to find year 1 contributors on the 3rd day of the draft.

To be clear, I'm not saying that Green and Clark are bad players or that they are busts. Again, that would be silly to say that. What I am saying is that the Colts should not be thinking about using high picks on potential future starters when there are many glaring needs on the team right now. Fix the problems you have now then worry about the future.

This isn't a bad draft class. The last two picks just aren't the right ones for the Colts at this point in time.

To see the 2nd and 3rd round picks be subject to backup roles for the first couple of seasons is something that rubs me the wrong way as a fan and as an analyst. I'm not upset, I'm perplexed.

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