Here's How The Colts Can Win The 2014 NFL Draft
By Zachary Doleiden
The Indianapolis Colts surrendered 363 passing yards to the Kansas City Chiefs, who possessed the ball for an astounding 37:33, during last season’s heart-pounding AFC Wild Card Game.
While the Colts emerged winners of the 45-44 barn burner, their injury-riddled secondary was exposed. With longtime safety Antoine Bethea now a member of the San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis must address the back end of its defense early if the team hopes to advance further into the playoffs in 2014.
This makes the team’s first selection a no-brainer, right? Not so fast.
The Colts also have a glaring need at the center position after the team cut veteran Samson Satele and Phil Costa opted to retire rather than battle for a starting job.
Should Indy beef up its secondary and continue to improve the defensive side of the ball or add a young piece to shore up QB Andrew Luck’s protection?
Compound this dilemma with the fact that the Colts traded their first round selection to the Cleveland Browns for underwhelming RB Trent Richardson, and this has the potential to be GM Ryan Grigson’s toughest draft to date.
Here is who I would take if I were in Grigson’s shoes:
Round 2, 59th pick – Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State
When the Colts are on the clock in the second round, they will have the opportunity to finally find Luck his own version of Jeff Saturday in this draft’s top-rated center. Richburg started every game during his four years at Colorado State and would add some durability to an Indianapolis line that struggles to stay healthy. While he boasts the strength to sit in the trenches and keep defensive lineman at bay, Richburg also has the athleticism to block on the move.
Round 3, 90th pick – Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida
In the third round, Indy forgoes the need at safety to add depth to the CB position. At 6-0, Roberson has good size and has shown the ability to stay with opposing receivers in bump-and-run coverage. While he does need to improve his discipline and tackling ability, Roberson would be a solid addition to the secondary.
Round 5, 166th pick – Kenny Ladler, FS, Vanderbilt
It may take a little longer than most fans like, but the Colts nab a solid free safety in the fifth round who could compete for the starting role from Day One. Ladler is great at diagnosing plays early and plays well against both the run and the pass. He is also a hard hitter and could make receivers a little hesitant to come across the middle when teamed up with SS LaRon Landry.
Round 6, 203rd pick – Preston Brown, ILB, Louisville
With injury-plagued LB Pat Angerer still a free agent, Indianapolis may elect to draft his replacement. Brown is a bit of a liability in man coverage and lacks a quick first step, but he has long arms and is decent in zone coverage. Despite his lack of initial burst, Brown times his blitzes masterfully and has enough speed to get after the quarterback.
Round 7, 232nd pick – Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford
The Stanford connection continues in the final round as the Colts look to add another horse to the team’s stable of running backs. Gaffney only got to be the starter during his final year of college but made the most of it, finishing eighth in the country with 1,709 rushing yards. He has a bad habit of overrunning his blockers and doesn’t have the greatest hands out of the backfield, but Gaffney would bring another physical runner to the roster.
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