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Indianapolis Colts 2017 NFL Draft Recap

Hello people of Nap Town,

It is time to wake up for the Indianapolis Colts. During the Andrew Luck era, the Colts have not had a losing season, however, the last two seasons they have been cemented at an 8-8 record with nowhere to look but up. In 2015 it wasn’t all Andrew’s fault because of an injury to his shoulder that eventually sidelined him and fans could tell that it carried over to the 2016 season to continue affecting his play at times. Despite the injury to Luck, the offense of this team is not the weak link as they were still a top ten team in total offense. The obstacle holding the team back is their defense. Looking at the past two seasons the highest they been ranked of defense has been 26th. New general manager Chris Ballard took notice of this shaky defense and took charge in signing some notable free agents in Barkevious Mingo, Sean Spence, John Simon, Jabaal Sheard and prize pick up Johnathan Hankins. Not only did they make a point to sign defensive studs in free agency, they also grabbed a few in the draft as well. Let’s break down their selections and see how they’ll contribute.

-1st Round, Pick #15: Malik Hooker – Safety (Ohio State)

  • Continuing the defensive overhaul the Colts drafted arguably one of the best safeties in the draft. It really comes down to what you want from your safety as they’re all so versatile in so many different ways. Malik is more of turnover go-getter and is good in pass coverage. This is the type of player the Colts needed to obtain, a guy that’ll create turnovers and get the ball back into Andrew Luck’s hands. Plus add in the fact that the Colts definitely needed a boost in the secondary and they got a top ten talent at pick number 15. The Colts don’t have an ace currently on the roster, so Malik will step into the starting role day one and will only help this defense get better. He does have some question marks surrounding him though. He’s battled some injuries and he’s really only contributed to about a season of play in college. Ted Monachino will have a young fresh kid to mold into an even better player that can make a real difference for this team.

-2nd Round, Pick #46: Quincy Wilson – Cornerback (Florida)

  • We’ve already discussed that the Colts secondary needed a boost and with back-to-back selections they were committed to do just that. Quincy Wilson was a part of one of the better secondary’s in college last year and in my opinion he was the best of the three (him, Teez Tabor, and Marcus Maye) that declared for the draft. Outside of Vontae Davis, Indy does not have a reliable corner starting on the opposite side. With that in mind, Quincy will battle for the starting corner role on the other side of Vontae and he very well could have it secured by pre-season. Indy’s defense already looks much improved. I expect big things from this kid in year one and beyond. He’s got good natural instincts and well needed play-making abilities for this defense. Colts needed to create turnovers on the defensive side of the ball and with their first two selections; Indy should increase those totals in 2017.

-3rd Round, Pick #80: Tarell Basham – Defensive End (Ohio)

  • Looking at the defensive line in the Colts 3-4 scheme, you have Johnathan Hankins anchored in the middle at nose tackle, Kendall Langford at one of the end spots and currently Margus Hunt at the other end spot, who Tarell will ultimately be battling for a starting job with. Tarell at 6’4″ has the size and quickness to play prominent role on the defense. If he doesn’t beat out Margus, he’ll surely be on the field more than a traditional back-up would be. The 2016 MAC defensive player of the year is a nice addition to this defense and the ability to get after the quarterback with his grittiness can only be beneficial. Surely Tarrell can’t wait to get on the field and play against the opposing teams to bash ‘em on the ground.

-4th Round, Pick #137: Zach Banner – Offensive Tackle (USC)

  • Two things we always heard about the Indianapolis Colts were how poorly they played defense and how their offensive couldn’t protect Andrew Luck. Anthony Castonzo is the starting left tackle and that won’t change at all, so Zach can battle for the right tackle job considering that they have gotten inconsistent play from that side last season. He is a fairly large man standing at 6’8″ and 350 lbs on a good day. With the right diet and turning that fat into muscle, he can really be a brick wall that’ll be tough to get around. His weight and attitude will be the deciding factor on if he’ll be a good player or too lazy and not have the drive to play.

-4th Round, Pick #143: Marlon Mack – Running Back (South Florida)

  • Frank Gore has limited playing years remaining, Robert Turbin has been more of a receiving back within the offense and the Colts recently signed free agent Christine Michael to the roster. Where does Marlon fit? Well, as mentioned Frank doesn’t have many seasons left so he isn’t a part of the long term goals and I believe the Christine signing was to eventually replace Frank as the power back for the near future. That brings us to Robert and Marlon who are similar styles of play. Marlon is a Darren Sproles-esk player that is smaller in frame, but manages to make big plays. The ceiling for this kid is the next Joseph Addai, but for now he’ll be a great complimentary back for whomever the main workhorse is. Sneaky player to start on kick returns as well.

-4th Round, Pick #144: Grover Stewart – Defensive End (Albany State)

Defense, defense, defense. It’s been noted that the Colts have been push-overs the past two seasons and they needed to add good players. Similar to Tarell, Grover can make a case for an important role along the defensive line and be at the very least a nice rotational guy. Kendall Langford is getting up there in age and doesn’t expect to be in long term goals for Indy along with Frank, so Tarell and Grover can very well be the next combo to get after quarterbacks in Indy. Grover is also good in run support closing off the running lanes. Hopefully he can translate his game from little Albany State to the NFL level.

-5th Round, Pick #158: Nate Hairston – Cornerback (Temple)

  • More secondary assistance, but don’t know how much Nate will be able to help in his first year. He is very raw at the position as he only has had started to play on the defensive side of the ball in 2015 because the first three years (red-shirt freshman) of his collegiate career he was a wide receiver. For being a first time corner he played well and improved his senior year. This is a developmental selection and they’ll look to groom him into a solid quality player to make a difference in the future. Nate will more than likely be a practice squad player if he makes the team.

-5th Round, Pick #161: Anthony Walker Jr. – Northwestern (Linebacker)

  • Anthony was underappreciated by the scouting community. Some said he was egotistical, out of shape or just not good enough for the NFL. Well, teammates have gone on record to say he is a great companion and leader and would do anything to help his team. The kid is around 235 lbs at 6’1″, so he actually has good size. As far as playing at the NFL level, we’ll see how he adjusts his game, but with his “egotistical” confidence he can mentally accomplish anything. There are a lot of new faces in the linebacker core so not many players have the upper hand as far as the defensive playbook knowledge. Expecting that Sean Spence assumes a starting job inside, Anthony can work his way into a good role and potentially even a starter if he can beat out Antonio Morrison and Jon Bostic for one of two inside linebacker jobs in the 3-4 scheme. The kid has a good motor as well as swagger and sometimes that’s all you need to excel at the next level. Keep an eye out for Anthony Walker on this defense.

It appears that Indy is on track to do better than 500 this upcoming season. Mostly in part to their overhaul on defense which they desperately needed. This draft class appears to have solid players beginning to end and most of them will see the field this season at some point. The AFC South got better all-around this off-season, but Andrew Luck and the Colts did too and they fully intend to sledge hammer the cemented 8-8 record to proceed forward and get back to the playoffs this season. No more siestas here, even though they will be a sleeper pick to win their division. Until next time, have a great day!

-Austin Thomas


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