Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Grading the Draft: Indianapolis Colts

(Originally posted at http://www.draftinsider.net/)

Werner_draftWithout a 2nd-round pick in the 2013 draft thanks to the Vontae Davis trade, the Colts found themselves with just two of the first 120 overall picks. Even though Indianapolis made the playoffs last season, they still had some holes to fill and the 2013 draft won’t be one for Indianapolis fans to write home about. Chris Tripodi breaks down why below.

Bjoern Werner/DE/Florida State (Round 1/Pick #24): Werner was the 12th-rated prospect on the Draft Insider big board and the Colts were very happy he fell to them in the back half of the first round. A high-upside pass rusher who had 13 sacks during his All-American junior season, Werner should help an Indianapolis pass rush that registered just 32 sacks last season. Quick off the snap and fast off the edge, the former Seminole is a high-motor player whose hard work over the past three seasons has been evident in his development. His doesn’t have great speed or pursuit ability, but those weaknesses should be masked as he steps into an outside linebacker position in the Colts’ 3-4 defense. Werner should be the eventual replacement for Robert Mathis.

Hugh Thornton/G/Illinois (Round 3/Pick #86): Graded as a 6th-round pick by Draft Insider, we feel Thornton was a reach in the third round, which is bad news for a team without a 2nd-round pick. Thornton is a big guard that can block very well in a small area but struggles when asked to move. He is slow to the second level and slow blocking in motion without the footwork to make up for his lack of foot speed. If the Colts plan to keep him in small spaces on the inside, this can be a decent pick. If they are expecting more from Thornton, they are likely to be disappointed in their second pick of the 2013 draft.

Khaled Holmes/C/USC (Round 4/Pick #121): Holmes is a more talented lineman than the player taken a round before him but while Hugh Thornton works hard and gets the most out of his ability, Holmes has had his passion for football questioned by scouts. The common axiom is that you must love the game of football to succeed at the NFL level no matter how much talent you have, and Holmes will need to prove that desire to make it in the league. If he does, Holmes is a complete lineman with upside and the versatility to play multiple positions on the offensive line. He plays with good vision, explosion and leverage and can get to the second level quickly, although he lacks great skills in space. A better fit at center than guard as a result, Holmes is definitely a boom-or-bust pick for Indianapolis.

Montori Hughes/DT/Tennessee Martin (Round 5/Pick #139): Rated higher on the Draft Insider board than both of the offensive lineman the Colts chose earlier, Hughes could prove to be a very good value pick in the fifth round. Indianapolis traded up to draft him so it would seem that they have big plans in store. Hughes’ game is still inconsistent but he’s shown the ability to be a dominant force and was impressive at the Senior Bowl. At 6-4, 330 pounds, he has the size and strength to play nose tackle in the Colts’ 3-4 but his production at the small school level after being dismissed from Tennessee was nothing special. He faced constant double teams and was able to control the line of scrimmage, but fatigue was an issue for him as games wore on. Hughes has potential, but may not be ready to help the Colts right away.

John Boyett/S/Oregon (Round 6/Pick #192): After being honored as an All-American after a great sophomore season, Boyett followed up a solid junior season by playing just one game as a senior before having surgery on both patella tendons. He lacks great size (5-10, 205) and speed (4.58) but has drawn Jim Leonhard comparisons as an overachiever who gets the most from his ability. Much like Leonhard, he won’t be effective in man coverage due to his height but his instincts, effort and awareness will serve him well in the right system. If he can come back to play at his pre-injury level and the Colts keep the action in front of him, Boyett has the ability to start in the NFL. If he has a career similar to Leonhard’s, Indianapolis will be very pleased with this pick.

Kerwynn Williams/RB/Utah State (Round 7/Pick #230): At just 5-8 and 195 pounds, Williams is the epitome of a third-down back. He will never be suited for feature duty but his field vision and ability to make people miss in the open field could make him a nice complement to plodding, one-speed starter Vick Ballard. Williams has good hands and can threaten a defense down the field as well as on short passes out of the backfield, giving Andrew Luck another weapon in the passing game and a good safety valve when the Colts blocking breaks down like it did often last season. Williams has experience returning kicks as well, which only adds to his potential value with the Colts.

Justice Cunningham/TE/South Carolina (Round 7/Pick #254): 2013’s “Mr. Irrelevant,” Cunningham’s NFL career will likely be just that. He has good size and run blocking ability though, which could land him third on the Colts’ depth chart behind Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener. With just 40 receptions in his last two seasons at South Carolina, don’t expect him to be much of a target in the passing game. The Colts don’t need that out of their third tight end anyway, so Cunningham at least has a chance to stick on the roster.

Grade: C+. Werner was a great pickup for the Colts in Round 1 but outside of him, the Colts failed to draft any high-impact players for the 2013 season unless Hugh Thornton or Khaled Holmes hit harder than we expect. Montori Hughes is a good developmental prospect and both John Boyett and Kerwynn Williams could play larger roles than expected but it’s possible that in two years, the Colts may have only added one or two starters from this year’s draft. They drafted for need but lacking a second-round pick hurt, as well as reaching with their next pick.

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