If you were on Twitter today, you might have seen a lot of talk about Mike Mayock and his thoughts on the NFL Draft. That’s because Mayock, a draft analyst for NFL Media, held a pre-Combine conference call in which he fielded a wide range of questions.
One such question was about the Colts and their need for a pass rusher. Mayock is very high on this year’s defensive talent, calling it “one of the best defensive drafts I’ve ever seen” and pointing to edge rushers as an area of particular strength in this class. That’s good news for the Colts, but with the depth at the position in the draft do they have to target an edge rusher in the first round, or can they wait until day two?
“Yeah, I think one of the messages in this year's draft at edge, corner and safety is there is great quality at the top, but there is depth throughout,” Mayock said. “So just for instance, say they're looking in the second or third round for an edge guy. I would tell you that DeMarcus Walker from Florida State is intriguing, and he's going to go in the second or third round. Tarell Basham from Ohio University, he's a really good football player, and he can play for somebody this year as a rookie. He probably -- he might not go to the third, but I've got a second-round grade on him. Jordan Willis from Kansas State. There is this freaky kid from Villanova named Tanoh Kpassagnon. He's 6'7", 280, and just kind of starting to figure out how good he might be some day. He's going to be an intriguing guy to watch at the combine. I mean, he could go as high as the second round, as low as the fourth round, but he's got freaky gifts. So there is talent throughout for the edge-rush group.”
Mayock’s answer is very helpful in identifying a couple of guys who might be available in rounds two and three that he likes that could be options for the Colts if the team decides to go another direction in the first round.
Ultimately, you can look at the EDGE depth one of two ways: it either means the Colts should be able to get a good one in the first round or it means that the Colts should be able to wait to get a solid one on day two. Both of those things can be true, but the latter doesn’t mean that the Colts shouldn’t address it in the first round either. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with addressing it both on day one and then also on day two and/or three. The Colts need so much help that they shouldn’t be limited to taking just one EDGE rusher.
Nonetheless, if the Colts do go another direction in the first round - like inside linebacker, cornerback, or running back - they will undoubtedly be looking very intently at the pass rushers available in rounds two and three. This draft is so deep that there are likely to be some solid ones still there, and Mike Mayock named a few of them. That doesn’t mean, however, that it shouldn’t be addressed with their first pick either - it just gives them a bit of flexibility in their decision-making.