Colts fans have been talking about the team’s needs all offseason, and here’s the good news: the team seems to agree with the popular sentiment about what those needs are.
Speaking with the media yesterday at the NFL owners meetings, Jim Irsay explained that the Colts are wanting to get edge rush help, a cornerback, and a later round running back in the 2017 NFL Draft.
“We’d love obviously to deal with our lack of pass rush and get some real edge rushers that can make a difference,” Irsay said, according to Colts.com’s Kevin Bowen. “We no question need a young corner. And we would love to be able to, in the end, come away, like we had Vick Ballard in 2012 - that type of impact from a later running back draft pick. We would love to get a young back that can come in and help us offensively.”
There are a couple of things to note from Irsay’s comments. First of all, notice that he mentioned edge rushers (plural) and he knows the Colts need difference-makers at the area. They haven’t had much pass rush in recent seasons, and that needs to change. Expect that to be a huge (and maybe the primary) emphasis for the Colts in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Secondly, Irsay also knows that the Colts need a young cornerback. This is important for multiple reasons: it not only addresses an immediate need, but it also gives the Colts flexibility in the future with Vontae Davis entering a contract year. The Colts could really use another cornerback to develop, and I’d expect that to be another big focus for them.
And third, the Colts want to come away with a running back in this draft - but note what Irsay said: “a later running back draft pick.” The example he gave was Vick Ballard, who the Colts took in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft and went on to rush for 814 yards as a rookie before injuries plagued him moving forward. Running back has been an incredibly popular pick for the Colts in mock drafts, and while that’s still theoretically possible Irsay’s comments leave little doubt about what the Colts want to do. It seems they want to focus on pass rush and cornerback early while finding a running back with a later pick. In a strong running back class, that may be possible.
Of course, that isn’t a comprehensive overview of all the Colts needs, and you could argue that inside linebacker should be mentioned along with those others, while some might throw in an offensive lineman. So these comments shouldn’t be viewed as the definitive plan for what the Colts will do in the draft (Jim Irsay knows that the draft dictates what you do) but rather a good idea of what the Colts’ focus is entering the draft. Because of that, it’s still very important to pay attention to.