In the midst of another offseason of suspected massive overhauls of both, the coaching staff and roster, Indianapolis Colts fans desperately are waiting for things to take shape. They await the announcement of their new head coach, free agency to kick off in mid-March and then for the draft in late April.
This year’s free agency crop looks to be less hyped than that of the group a year ago, but Chris Ballard will be smart about how he takes on talent, as well as the price tag that they come in on. While I don’t expect him to try to make a splash name-wise in free agency, I do expect him to continue to target young, up-and-coming talent in order to deepen the Colts roster into a legitimate contender.
One of those who fall into that category and I have my eye on right now is Marquis Flowers, currently on the New England Patriots. There aren’t a lot of big names at the linebacker position that will be coming into the open market, especially that fall into the right age range that Ballard will be looking at. Flowers will be 26 next season and offers a lot to a team like the Colts looking for a serious uptick in talent to build towards the future.
Flowers isn’t a big name and won’t draw a massive contract, but is a potential starter regardless of who the Colts would acquire in the draft and adds the triad of abilities desired at the position — pass rush, coverage and versatility. Flowers has been a late-bloomer this season, picking up the vast majority of his production in the second half of the season. Attempting to pry him from the grasp of Bill Belichick and the winning culture in New England might be tough, but would be well worth it if Ballard can get a chance to nab him.
He’s been a part of the Patriots transformation into one of the league’s best defenses since about Week 5, especially as of late, earning 28 of his 30 total tackles since Week 10. He picked up 3.5 sacks in that span, and added another 4 tackles and a sack last night in the Patriots blowout win over the Tennessee Titans.
He adds speed and length at 6-foot-3, 231 pounds with the ability to work the middle of the field as well as in the flats in coverage. Flowers also is effective off the edge, as well as being very solid when designated to force interior pressure while stunting. Personally, I see him as a perfect sub-package player at any of the linebacker positions with his physical, instinctive play.
Should Josh McDaniels be the Colts next head coach, there also would be some familiarity and reasonably similar expectations of his play from his time in New England. The Colts have a ton of money coming open, more than $84M according to Spotrac, so they are going to have to spend a large portion of that in some form or fashion.
Marquis Flowers, by all accounts, looks to be on the come-up — the Colts adding depth is key in the process of getting this roster to a respectable level as well. Finding a young, potential starter — and an excellent rotational piece — for the next few seasons with a modest price would be a great start to the process.