Pick #18 — Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis decided this year to sit out of the free agent bonanza after making multiple ill-advised (and ultimately fruitless) expensive gaffes in that area during Andrew Luck’s career, instead hoping to grab more affordable (and youthful) talent through the draft to build up the weak spots on their roster.
When it comes to the draft, the Colts are actually a team that tends to really go by the oft-recited mantra of “best player available”. Case in point: last season, they picked up a wide receiver in the first round — despite already having plenty of depth there — because he was the best player on their board.
That kind of thinking will probably rule the roost again; for Luck’s sake, I hope that pick actually aligns better with the holes around him.
I mean that quite literally by the way; the Colts offensive line is a mess. Anthony Costanzo and Jack Mewhort are worthwhile players along the line, but outside of them is an agglomeration of sadness. They have a hole at center, tackle, AND guard, and the wise move would be to grab a player at one of those spots here.
This draft has a guy in each area who should be given consideration at this point, regardless of the outdated way teams tend to value certain positions along the line during the draft. At tackle, Jack Conklin, Le’Raven Clark, and Taylor Decker are sitting here. Cody Whitehair provides a quality option at guard. Ryan Kelly is the top center candidate.
Any would help keep Luck from getting beat up on the consistent basis he has had to deal with throughout his whole career, and we saw the effects of it end up with him having a lacerated kidney on a hit last season.
If they don’t want to go in any of those directions, then there are a couple defensive guys that still provide a need but may also better fit the Best Player Available mindset. They do have interior line depth, but if they want a nose tackle, Billings is sitting there. For the overall better player, Reed or Rankins could be worth the pick too. A corner to pair on the outside across from Vontae Davis would be a massive help as well, letting Patrick Robinson move to full-time slot duty.
Conventional wisdom says offensive linemen are the way to go, but based on the way the Colts seem to draft, Apple would appear to be the more likely endgame here.