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NFL Mock Draft 2017: Colts once again projected to take Dalvin Cook

NCAA Football: Orange Bowl-Michigan vs Florida State Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

A mock draft that has the Colts taking Dalvin Cook in the first round shouldn’t surprise anybody by now, as it seems that is a very popular pick people keep making for the Colts.

Once again, that’s who SB Nation’s Dan Kadar has the Colts taking in the first round of his latest mock draft:

If one of the top three running backs is left on the board, the Colts should strike on them in the first round. In this case it’s Cook, who could be brought in to replace Frank Gore. Cook ran for more than 4,400 yards and 46 touchdowns in three seasons at Florida State, and he caught 79 passes. He could be a factor immediately in the NFL.

We’ve already spent a ton of time talking about Dalvin Cook, and basically he’s a good player who would be a nice fit in the Colts offense but who might not be the best pick for the Colts at number 15. What’s especially interesting in Kadar’s latest mock, however, is the players who go right after Cook. Kadar has the Ravens taking Takkarist McKinley at number 16 and the Redskins taking Reuben Foster at number 17. So in other words, to take Cook the Colts would be passing over McKinley and Foster.

McKinley would be an upgrade at the Colts’ biggest position of need, as he could be a legitimate pass rush threat. Foster would be a terrific inside linebacker, another area of need for the Colts. To pass on both of those guys so that the Colts could take a running back is... interesting, to say the least.

The question here seems to be that of need. It seems that Kadar is of the impression that running back is a huge need for the Colts and that it’s not just about how good Dalvin Cook is, as Kadar says the Colts should take any of the top three (Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, and Christian McCaffrey) if they’re still available. Saying that, plus having the Colts pass on McKinley and Foster, suggests that running back is among the very biggest needs on the roster.

It is without a doubt a big need, and the Colts will almost certainly address the running back position in the NFL draft. But it’s not even close to being the team’s biggest need, and the Colts seem to realize that - owner Jim Irsay even said last week that the Colts want to add a later round running back. Running back is a need, yes, but pass rusher and inside linebacker are even bigger needs.

So that’s why it becomes so important to be right if the Colts are going to take Dalvin Cook. He may turn out to be a great player and a terrific fit for the Colts, and that would be great. But the Colts have to be sure that he’s the absolute best option at that pick if they’re going to go after a running back in the first round, especially with top defenders at bigger positions of need still on the board. The selection of Cook wouldn’t be a bad one for the Colts, but there might be better ones.