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Mike Mayock ranks top players in 2017 NFL Draft at Colts positions of need

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NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts have needs all over their roster, particularly on the defensive side of the football.

New general manager Chris Ballard realizes that he has plenty of work to do on defense, and that will surely start with the front seven. The Colts desperately need pass rush help, and they also need starting inside linebackers. In all honesty, the Colts need four starting linebackers. They have needs other places, too, and one of those places you’ll see people talking about is at running back. With Frank Gore set to turn 34 this spring, the Colts need a young back to play with Gore and be the running back of the future.

The Colts won’t be able to truly address every need this offseason in a satisfying way, but they’ll certainly do their best to fill as many as possible in free agency and the draft. Free agency is less than a month away, while the draft is still a little further away. The NFL Scouting Combine is just a couple of weeks away, however, so there will be a lot of draft talk coming in the next few weeks.

Because of that, NFL Media’s Mike Mayock has released his initial position rankings for the 2017 NFL Draft, listing the top five players at each position. The Colts have a number of needs, but let’s take a look at his rankings for three Colts needs in particular:

EDGE Rusher:

1. Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

2. Tim Williams, Alabama

3. Derek Barnett, Tennessee

4. Solomon Thomas, Stanford

5. Takkarist McKinley, UCLA

This is easily the Colts’ biggest need, and the good news is that there are plenty of good players at the position in this year’s draft. While there’s absolutely zero chance that Myles Garrett will still be there when the Colts pick, the other guys on Mayock’s rankings could be, depending on how teams rank these guys and how the draft goes. The Colts have to be rooting for as many quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, etc. as possible to go before their pick, as that would push a lot of the defensive talent down the board.

Linebacker:

1. Reuben Foster, Alabama

2. Haason Reddick, Temple

3. Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt

4. Jarrad Davis, Florida

5. Alex Anzalone, Florida

I think, just like most people would agree that Myles Garrett is the best overall prospect in the draft, most people would agree that Reuben Foster is the best inside linebacker in this draft. It was reported yesterday that he underwent shoulder surgery, however, which could push his draft stock down a bit - meaning he could possibly be there for the Colts’ pick.

Running Back:

1. Dalvin Cook, Florida State

2. Leonard Fournette, LSU

3. Christian McCaffrey, Stanford

4. Alvin Kamara, Tennessee

5. Joe Mixon, Oklahoma

It’s certainly worth noting that Mayock has Dalvin Cook as his top running back over Leonard Fournette, though that’s not a crazy opinion as others share it too. I think there are varying opinions about whether Cook or Fournette is the top back in this year’s draft, and it’s possible that both will be gone by the time the Colts pick. There are a number of mock drafts that have the Colts taking Cook, and while he would certainly be a big help, there are other running backs who will be available in later rounds that could also be interesting fits.

The good news for the Colts is that there seem to be a number of good options at their positions of need who will be available when they pick in the first round. Chris Ballard will have some key decisions to make, and a big part of that will be the scouting process over the next several weeks. But if you want to get an idea of who the best players are at some of Indy’s top positions of need, Mayock’s rankings are a good place to start.