Here we are Indianapolis Colts fans. Draft week!
We have seen all of the mock drafts from around the internet, each and every major media outlet and beyond. And I think it’s fair to say that we’ve taken in all of the possibilities that those mocks have produced for the Colts — especially the first round projections.
We know the Colts need some help in the secondary. We know they need some along the defensive line, and I don’t think anyone should rule out some offensive line help as well. They could use depth in several places, but largely, we got a glimpse last season of what this very young roster could do alongside what some might call ‘patchwork units’ in a few instances.
It’s pretty fair to say that we know how Chris Ballard wants to build this team, and it doesn’t appear that it includes trying to find superstar skill players while the defense needs another wave of talent. I guess that’s what brings me to the topic of this article.
Defensive line, secondary, maybe even another offensive tackle if the talent is there at No. 26. Those are all legit possibilities should the Colts indeed pick at No. 26 that is.
However, we continually see the Colts being mocked a receiver a great deal throughout the draft community. From their angle... I get it. The Colts could probably use another receiver to increase the competition amongst the crew.
But, at 26? No.
At least they shouldn’t, I truly can’t imagine that it’s on Ballard’s top-3 needs for his roster at this point. And though Ballard largely covets the BPA model, need plays a role as well.
Andrew Luck was awesome in 2018. T.Y. Hilton was a top-8 receiver last season in, both, adjusted yards above replacement, and DVOA according to Football Outsiders. The Colts were the best team in the league on third downs offensively, sixth in passing yardage per game etcetera, etcetera.
At any rate, they were a top-10 passing offense. And they did all of that — and more — all with just Chester Rogers (UDFA), Ryan Grant (best NFL season was 573 receiving yards), Zach Pascal (UDFA), and the hard-nosed veteran Dontrelle Inman at the position.
While Inman and Grant aren’t there anymore, we must not forget that Deon Cain, who was without question the No. 3 WR in training camp, was injured early on and had to redshirt his rookie season. Additionally, the signing of Devin Funchess is interesting for red zone work as well as creating a true possession-type guy for the offense across the middle.
Eric Ebron busted out with a career high 13 touchdowns, Nyheim Hines was number three in targets on the team, and the tight end and running back rooms are both very talented heading into the 2019 season.
So, tell me why Ballard would go with a receiver instead of hitting on one of the defensive talents that will be there — and won’t be reaches — when they have so many deficiencies to address before they can be considered a true Super Bowl contender.
The Colts were 19th in sacks, 24th in first down percentage allowed, and allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete nearly 71 percent of their passes (70.8%) last season, which was good for 31st in the league.
With Luck, Frank Reich’s mind, the supporting receiving options at various positions, and the group of guys who are returning next season, this team doesn’t NEED a receiver so early on in the process. I think the group proved that they could be efficient and successful without spending great capitol on it.
The receiver pool is fairly deep this year, and if the Colts were to use it in the second, or third rounds on a pass catcher, that’d be fine. Just not in the first. They will have passed up on better talent, and have missed out on a greater immediate return of investment I believe as well.
I hope that Ballard has learned a lesson from his predecessor not to go after the shiny thing with speed in the first round. Getting better at affecting the opposing quarterback should be far higher on the list of necessities heading into Thursday’s draft.