For months, national "analysts" had been arguing for the Colts to address their offensive line in the 2016 NFL Draft, and the franchise definitely did just that. In fact, of their eight picks in the draft, the Colts spent four of them on the offensive line. Because of that, it makes sense why several of those same national "analysts" like the team's draft class.
One such person is ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., who graded each team's draft and gave the Colts a "B" grade - tied for the 12th highest in the NFL.
I've been hard on the Colts in this space pretty much since they drafted Andrew Luck. The reason has been I just don't think they've done enough to protect him. They definitely were thinking about protection -- and using the run game to do so -- in this draft.
Ryan Kelly was my No. 18 player, a high grade for a center, and he went to them at No. 19, and figures to start. Le'Raven Clark is a massive guy with some talent but in need of more seasoning; even if he doesn't stay at tackle, he could be moved to guard. Joe Haeg has a chance to stick after blocking for Carson Wentz. T.J. Green can be moved around in the secondary, and is an exceptional athlete with length. I thought he could have gone much earlier than the late second. Hassan Ridgeway can be a steal if he becomes more consistent and can stay on the field. Antonio Morrison is a better player than athlete, and has a chance to stick here. This draft should make Luck more comfortable behind his line -- and that is what's most important.
Kiper's grade seems to be right in line with the grades of most other people, as most people seem to think the draft class was a very solid one. An interesting thing to note is that Kiper had Ryan Kelly as his 18th overall player, which would actually be perfect value at pick number 18 (Kiper accidentally said pick 19). I bring this up because many people have viewed the pick as a bit of a reach but see Kelly as a good player nonetheless, but Kiper doesn't seem to view the pick as a reach whatsoever.
Based on Kiper's comments here, he seems to think that most of the players from this year's draft class can stick around. Obviously, Ryan Kelly will be the starting center, while Le'Raven Clark, Joe Haeg, and Austin Blythe all have a chance to compete for spots - whether backup or starter spots. T.J. Green is a nice developmental safety and Kiper thinks that pick too was good value - something that also has been a subject of disagreement. The opinions of Green seem all over the place and it honestly probably comes down to who you believe - do you trust Pro Football Focus or several of the analysts who think Green was a solid second rounder. Kiper seems to fall into the category of liking the pick and the value. The other two picks received nice reviews as well - with Kiper saying Ridgeway can be a steal and Morrison has a chance to stick around - and this year's draft class seems to be shaping up nicely.
Of course, draft grades at this time of year have to be understood as being conducted before seeing players even take the field, but they are based on the film that people have watched for months. And based on that film and those opinions, Mel Kiper seems to like the Colts' draft as they attempted to improve the protection for Andrew Luck.