Indianapolis Colts Draft Preview; 2016 Schedule Released
With the NFL Draft set to begin on April 28th, let’s take a look at this year’s Indianapolis Colts Draft Preview and schedule.
Indianapolis Colts Draft Preview
Top Needs: Offensive Line, Outside Linebacker, Cornerback, Free Safety
Draft Picks: Round 1 (18), Round 2 (48), Round 3 (82), Round 4 (116), Round 5 (155), Round 7 (239)
The Indianapolis Colts are coming off a very disappointing 2015 season. After many experts picked the Colts to contend for a Super Bowl, they finished with an 8-8 record and missed the playoffs. That is due large in part to the numerous injuries to franchise quarterback Andrew Luck.
If Luck sustained many injuries, that means there is a massive need for offensive linemen, specifically on the right side. They can also use some help getting to the quarterback as they finished 22nd in the NFL in sacks with just 35. Some help can also come in the defensive backfield as the Colts ranked 24th in passing yards per game.
In the first round, look for the Colts to jump on one of the top pass rushers available to them at 18. While some mock drafts may argue to grab an offensive tackle here, the actual need on the offensive line is inside at center and guard. Leonard Floyd from Georgia or Noah Spence from Kentucky look to be solid mid-first round guys. Both of them are long, athletic speed rushers who can come in and generate some pressure on opposing quarterbacks immediately. Given the track record of Spence and being kicked out of the Big Ten, Floyd may be the higher pick.
The second round can be where the Colts grab someone to help protect Andrew Luck. With the top two interior linemen likely off the board here, Alabama’s Ryan Kelly and Kansas State’s Cody Whitehair, Notre Dame center, Nick Martin can be the pick. He has the flexibility to play both center and guard and that will be a great asset to a very poor current offensive line. He can be the guy to take charge of the line, which is something the Colts desperately need.
With the loss of Jerrell Freeman, the Colts could use some help at inside linebacker as well. D’Qwell Jackson is not getting younger to add fuel to the fire. With all this being said, an inside linebacker can come in the third or fourth round. A couple guys projected to land there are Arizona’s Scooby Wright and Oklahoma’s Dominique Alexander. Wright is your more traditional inside linebacker, making plays against the run while Alexander is more of the new era linebacker with rare athleticism. Alexander may be the better pick to add some much needed athleticism to an aging Colts defense.
Playing in a division featuring Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, DeAndre Hopkins and Dorial-Green Beckham, your defense has to have playmakers in the secondary. A later-round prospect that can do just that is Kavon Frazier from Central Michigan. He is an intimidating force that plays center field. He is not a ball-hawking free safety, but rather a guy who receivers will think twice about catching passes over in the middle.
The Colts can close out their 2016 draft by picking up another offensive linemen along with a cornerback. Two late round names to keep an eye on are South Carolina’s OT Brandon Shell, whose great uncle happens to be pro football hall of famer Art Shell, and West Virginia’s CB Daryl Worley.
Indianapolis Colts’ Schedule
Week 1: Sept. 11, Detroit Lions, 4:25
Week 2: Sept. 18, at Denver Broncos, 4:25
Week 3: Sept. 25, San Diego Chargers, 4:25
Week 4: Oct. 2, at Jacksonville Jaguars (London), 9:30 AM
Week 5: Oct. 9, Chicago Bears, 1
Week 6: Oct. 16, at Houston Texans*, 8:30
Week 7: Oct. 23, at Tennessee Titans, 1
Week 8: Oct. 30, Kansas City Chiefs, 1
Week 9: Nov. 6, at Green Bay Packers, 4:25
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: Nov. 20, Tennessee Titans, 1
Week 12: Nov. 24, Pittsburgh Steelers (Thu), 8:30
Week 13: Dec. 5, at New York Jets (Mon), 8:30
Week 14: Dec. 11, Houston Texans, 1
Week 15: Dec. 18, at Minnesota Vikings, 1
Week 16: Dec. 24, at Oakland Raiders (Sat), 4:05
Week 17: Jan. 1, Jacksonville Jaguars, 1
(Indianapolis Colts Draft Preview)