This week on Colts Q’s, with a week until the 2017 NFL Draft, questions about what the Indianapolis Colts should do are at a fever pitch. We delve into some of the existing players on the roster as well.
Colts draft strategy
1 Acquire as many picks as possible
Sounds easy but they need players on D everywhere!
— Fan of BPA (@stage1533) April 18, 2017
I think that would be a pretty good strategy. That is if there is no elite talent on the board at 15. This first round has all of the ingredients for teams to want to draft where the Colts are at 15, so the opportunities should be there.
It is important to remember, though, that the Colts won’t totally avoid needs. That seems like a weird thing to have to mention, but Chris Ballard has talked a lot about best player available this offseason. This week, he said that if two players are evenly ranked and the Colts need one more than the other, that would be the deciding factor between the two.
Taking the best player available also fits into the long-term success of the team. Sure, a certain position may be set for the next year or so, but it could be decimated by then or at that point. Best player available should be the approach. And hopefully, that involves some of their needs being addressed.
How much confidence do you have in our savior Chris Ballard ?
— Tyler Hedinger (@RedontheHed92) April 19, 2017
This draft class will be a huge factor, but so far, it’s hard for me not to love what Ballard has done. The only moves I have not liked are the acquisitions of Jeff Locke and Margus Hunt. Even then, I still understand them. I feel that Ballard is changing how the team actually gets built, and I think he is actually listening to the coaching staff. He appears to be good at dealing with people, showing confidence but not arrogance. I cannot imagine this not being a successful marriage.
In your honest to God opinion, who is this year's WR3? Dorsett or Aiken?
— Chris Yingling (@ChrisYingling2) April 20, 2017
Kamar Aiken. We already know that he is a good player, and he has a broad enough skill set to be able to fit into whatever role Rob Chudzinski wants for him. Phillip Dorsett is still just a big wild card. When the offense is simplified for him, he doesn’t always take advantage. I believe that under this new regime, the players that are more reliable and are performing better will be the ones that play.
Yes, he is still my guy. I don’t know that I buy his reasoning for his diluted drug screen, but he does not have a history of drug problems. I know that Foster is gathering a disappointing amount of red flags, but I trust how good I think he is going to be. The Colts almost never have the opportunity to pick up elite players in the draft. I feel it would be a mistake if Foster was available and they passed him up. He fits what Ballard wants in a player, and he would immediately make the Colts defense better. Foster running after ball-carriers through lanes created by Johnathan Hankins? That sounds too good to be true.
If you had to use #Colts R1 on a trade for a player (realistically) who do you think could be pried away and be a good deal for both teams?
— TBane (@TBane25) April 20, 2017
I scoured every roster in the league so that I could answer this question, and I just can’t say that I would do it. Personally, I am very picky when it comes to acquiring veteran players. They have to be the right age, health, price and scheme fit. They also can’t be the type of player that asks for a trade or always holds out because they get sick of their contract every couple of years. Truth is, veteran players worth first-round picks are typically quarterbacks or pass-rushers. The Colts aren’t in the market for a quarterback, and they’re not going to pry away a Von Miller or Vic Beasley.
If #Colts are wild card but 1&done in playoffs, what do u think Pagano's survivability is?
— TBane (@TBane25) April 20, 2017
I honestly don’t think that Pagano’s job depends on how many games they win. Now, obviously, if they finish 6-10 or worse, he’s probably gone. You don’t want to see regression with this kind of schedule, especially after going 16-16 in the last two years. But, I don’t think Pagano has to make the playoffs. I think his actual coaching improvement will be the focus of his evaluation. How are his in-game decisions? Is he still getting too cute with some of the situational decisions? If he using timeouts and challenges effectively? Are players still responding to him? Is his staff developing players well? I would think that making the playoffs, even if they are one-and-done, would be a plus towards Pagano’s job security.
What about trade down?
— Ariel Gomes (@ariel_gomes) April 21, 2017
I addressed this a bit in the first question, but to elaborate, I think the Colts trading down is a very realistic possibility. First round as well as throughout. We already know that Ballard’s goal is to acquire as many picks as possible. In the first round, for example, there will be teams looking to trade up into the teens to get quarterbacks, top-10 talents that have slipped or other players that they do not want to miss. The Colts are in a perfect spot.
David Burroughs, Facebook
-“How come I’m not hearing of any draft prospects coming in for visits? Especially Reuben Foster or Hassan Reddick!?”
The Colts have been tight-lipped about their visits. Maybe that is something we’ll need to get used to under Ballard. You see some teams produce video content on their websites showing the players visiting their facilities. For the Colts, you pretty much have to rely on the media to keep you informed. With that in mind, here is the Draft Prospect Visit/Interest Tracker that we have been updating for the Colts.
The Colts have met with Foster, but I have not heard anything about Reddick. That doesn’t mean there isn’t interest there, though. Teams draft players without meeting with them before the draft all the time.
John Frasure, Facebook
-“Can you elaborate on the ripple effect that Johnathan Hankins will have on the rest of the defense (OLB, ILB’s, DB’s)? Also, what do you think about the Colts drafting Sydney Jones if he is there in the 3rd or 4th rd? I would be all in on that depending on the earlier selections. Especially if they trade back and get an extra 3rd rd pick!!”
When a 3-4 defense has an above-average nose tackle, it can make a world of difference. First, they are the anchor when it comes to stopping the run, and that is something that the Colts have obviously struggled with over the years. He can occupy blockers, which will open up pursuit lanes for the linebackers. It can also make it easier for pass-rushers who are running twists or stunts. Another factor is a nose tackle that can generate pressure right up the middle. When a running back or quarterback has pressure right in their face, it screws things up for them.
I am a big Sidney Jones fan. While he was a first-round lock before the injury, now he will probably go on Day 2 (Rounds 2 and 3), potentially up in the second round. An Achilles injury is not the career death sentence that it used to be. Ballard has said that injured players can still be good picks when you consider the long-term vision and not what’s going on right now. If Jones has to start the season on PUP or the NFI list, that’s fine. Even if he has to “red shirt” in 2017 and come in and start in 2017, he might be worth it.
Zack Zander, Facebook
-“Predicting u go D in 1st..If Joe Mixon is there in the 2cd do u pull the trigger”
I would say “yes”. Now, I think that he will be gone by the late first round to early second round. So, he likely won’t be available at 46 for the Colts. However, if he is, they can pull the trigger. He is a three-down back who could contribute immediately. The comparisons to Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson are real.
Now, something I would like to mention is the “new” assault allegations against him. We all know about the incident in 2014 back at Oklahoma, but Gil Brandt came out this week and mentioned that Mixon has been accused of striking a female while in high school. We are never going to find out if it actually happened or not. Mixon has, of course, denied it. But, if the Colts investigate that piece of information and are not satisfied with him anymore, I am on board with their decision.
Jake Arthur is the AFC South Division Manager, Indianapolis Colts Team Manager, Assistant Director of NFL Content and a Featured Analyst for Pro Football Spot. He is also a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @JakeArthurPFS on Twitter as well as on Facebook. Check out his other work HERE.