Needs: The Colts made a handful of moves in free agency to shore up their front seven, adding Jabaal Sheard, Johnathan Hankins and John Simon. There’s still plenty of work left to be done for the Colts to take the next step, and fortunately, they’re set up for success in the draft. They’ll look to address needs at linebacker, edge rusher, right tackle, running back and safety.
Picks: First round (15), second round (46), third round (80), fourth round (122, 144), fifth round (158), sixth round (200).
Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
There was almost no chance Foster would fall to the Colts at 15 before Thursday, when he said he tested positive for a diluted substance at the Combine. Now, he’s very much in play for Indianapolis, and could wind up being a steal for a team in need of linebacker help. Foster is by far the best off-ball linebacker in this class and is arguably one of the three best players overall.
If the Colts can snag him at 15, they should be very happy – assuming the drug issue isn’t a recurring one. He’s a heat-seeking missile on the second level who’s great in coverage, showing the ability to do it all in the middle of the field. He’s one to watch on draft night.
Tyus Bowser, OLB, Houston
The Colts attempted to address the pass rush in free agency by signing Sheard. He and Simon, who’s more of an off-ball linebacker, are nice players, but Indy still lacks a dynamic edge rusher. That’s where Bowser can come into play. He’s an athletic freak with outstanding size, great explosiveness and 4.65-speed, which is solid for an edge rusher.
He can rush off the right side with Sheard on the opposite end, giving the Colts two players who can generate pressure outside. Bowser isn’t a refined prospect and needs a lot of work before he can become a double-digit sack artist, but he has a ton of potential as an edge rusher – and the Colts’ 3-4 defense would allow him to remain an outside ‘backer.
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Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
The Colts have the ageless Frank Gore, but he’s not a long-term answer at running back. McCaffrey is. What the Colts lack is a playmaker in the backfield – someone who can catch passes with ease and take one to the house from anywhere on the field. McCaffrey can do that.
His best fit in the NFL might be as a slot receiver, which is telling of his versatility. He’d be a nice weapon for Andrew Luck and would open up a lot of things for the Colts on offense. They haven’t had a dynamic running back since the days of Edgerrin James and Joseph Addai. McCaffrey isn’t a workhorse, but he can do a multitude of things, including returning punts and kicks.
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Marcus Maye, S, Florida
The Colts lost Mike Adams in free agency, and he was their best safety last season. As a result, they need to find his replacement in the draft because they don’t have a legitimate answer on the roster. Maye is a versatile player who can line up at free or strong safety, holding up at both spots extremely well. He sometimes gets overlooked because of how strong this class is at safety, but he’s a Day 1 starter for a team like the Colts. He’d be a good selection in the second round.
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Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy
This is one of the worst offensive line classes in recent memory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a starter on Day 2. Garcia is a guy who plays with an edge, always finishing his blocks. He can fit as a right tackle for the Colts, taking the place of Joe Haeg, who’s struggled in pass protection. Indianapolis needs to do a better job of protecting Andrew Luck, and adding another offensive lineman would be a step in the right direction.