Josh Norris

Draft Decisions

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NFL Draft Preview: Colts

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in May's draft.


For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by team draft preview schedule.


No. 1 Team Need: Center/Guard


Silva's analysis


Line play has been a weakness in Indy during each of Andrew Luck's first two seasons. Releasing C Samson Satele was a positive first step, but the Colts were mostly quiet on the free agent offensive line market aside from rumored flirtations with transition-tagged C Alex Mack. Their only front-five signings were Cowboys castoff Phil Costa and injury-plagued guard Lance Louis. If GM Ryan Grigson can't land Mack -- and here's betting he won't -- he'll need to attack the interior O-Line in May's draft. Chuck Pagano and OC Pep Hamilton fancy the Colts a power-running team.

Norris' options


First day option: The Colts do not have a first-round pick.


Second day possibility: Weston Richburg, Colorado State - While Marcus Martin has a chance to be the first center taken, the odds on favorite is Richburg. Like most centers, Richburg is not a power blocker in the running game, instead he is an occupier who uses body positioning to keep his latch and seal. Richburg is also active in pass protection when uncovered. Two of the Colts’ division opponents will use face up nose tackles, so Richburg’s ability to immediately anchor will be important.


Third day flier: Trai Turner, LSU - Turner was a surprise entrant but should be selected no later than the fourth-round, so the Colts might need to grab a pick in the round in order to nab him. His first step when asked to trap or pull is explosive, and he unloads on defenders on first contact. he is rough around the edges thanks to his limited starting experience, however, there is plenty to work with.


Video: Norris on Indy's top need


No. 2 Team Need: Safety


Silva's analysis


LaRon Landry returns at strong safety, but the Colts lost running mate Antoine Bethea to San Francisco and are left with a bunch of question marks as potential in-house replacements. As Landry is best suited to play in the box, Indy needs a true center-field safety. Former Stanford UDFA Delano Howell is penciled in at free safety for now.


Norris' options


First day option: The Colts do not have a first-round pick.


Second day possibility: Terrence Brooks, FSU - This draft is lacking in true free safety types after the first-round. Brooks did not draw as much attention as teammate Lamarcus Joyner, but he could ultimately end up the better prospect. He closes with ease, times the impact, and can play the ball. If Brooks can shore up his tackling in the open field, the Colts could have an early starter on their hands.


Third day flier: Avery Patterson, Oregon - Patterson played a variety of spots during his time at Oregon, namely edge corner, in the slot, and free safety. He has plenty of range but flat out cannot tackle. Alabama’s Vinnie Sunseri is another name worth keeping in mind despite coming off a knee injury.


No. 3 Team Need: Defensive Line


Silva's analysis


This isn't necessarily a position with gaping holes, but look for Grigson to explore disruptive, rotational-type interior pocket pushers in the mid to late rounds. Indy needs to upgrade its sub-package defense with young legs. The Colts have a solid defensive line nucleus with Cory Redding and Arthur Jones on the ends, Josh Chapman at nose, and Ricky Jean-Francois and promising sophomore Montori Hughes in reserve. But they are lacking explosive nickel rushers.


Norris' options


First day option: The Colts do not have a first-round pick.


Second day possibility: Justin Ellis, Louisiana Tech - I know Ellis is massive (6’1/334 lbs), but he is very agile and nimble for his size. Because of that frame, some might pigeonhole him as an at the line of scrimmage nose tackle. That would be a mistake. Ellis is as his best when getting upfield, winning off the snap with a first punch and continuing into the backfield with powerful momentum. He even flashes a spin move on occasion. Since Chapman is a fire hydrant run defender, putting Ellis in for sub-package situations would be ideal. He can improve his run defending with a lower center of gravity.


Third day flier: Khyri Thornton, Southern Miss - Thornton’s flashes are on par with Timmy Jernigan. He is incredibly explosive over top of the center, forcing the anchor lineman to adjust to upfield movements along with powerful hands. Now, Thornton absolutely has to improve his backfield vision, as he consistently takes himself out of plays, along with shedding at the line of scrimmage to make tackles.


Colts 2014 Draft Picks (5)


Second Round (No. 59)

Third Round (No. 90)

Fifth Round (No. 166)

Sixth Round (No. 203)

Seventh Round (No. 232)


Colts Current First-Team Offense


QB: Andrew Luck

RB: Trent Richardson

WR: T.Y. Hilton

WR: Hakeem Nicks

TE: Dwayne Allen

TE: Coby Fleener

LT: Anthony Castonzo

LG: Donald Thomas

C: Khaled Holmes

RG: Hugh Thornton

RT: Gosder Cherilus


Colts Current First-Team Defense


RE: Arthur Jones

LE: Cory Redding

NT: Josh Chapman

ILB: Jerrell Freeman

ILB: D'Qwell Jackson

OLB: Robert Mathis

OLB: Erik Walden

RCB: Vontae Davis

LCB: Greg Toler

FS: Delano Howell

SS: LaRon Landry



Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Josh Norris



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