Indianapolis Colts 2013 NFL Mock Draft, Week 4: 7 Rounds
Peyton Manning & Andrew Luck
The Indianapolis Colts had an astonishing 2012, despite minimal expectations coming in. After receiving the first overall pick, the Colts chose current franchise quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck was mature enough in the fourth quarter and showed enough poise throughout the year to earn the team a wild card berth, despite lacking talent in key areas. With an estimated $44 million in cap room, the team has already made a splash in free agency this offseason. But general manager Ryan Grigson understands the Colts best starting point when building a new team is in the secondary rather than the trenches. From there, the team can look to build around its quarterback Andrew Luck, by giving him pieces that will fit into the new system offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton. With free agency occurring this week, the Colts chose to release both Donnie Avery and Austin Collie, and I believe they should draft a third receiver and allow T.Y Hilton to develop into the second receiver position. It will all come down to how the Colts make the transition from veteran players like Dwight Freeney to the new faces of the defense. The Colts defense is certainly where the draft will be focused on, looking to change the tone of games and rely less on Andrew Luck’s heroics. For 2013, the Colts have shifted higher up the ladder towards becoming a Super Bowl contender. After gaining spots in the power rankings all of last year, the team looks to develop on its strengths and make a playoff run, if not winning the division.
Round 1: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Over the course of free agency, the Colts have certainly upgraded at the secondary position. The team is now more solid overall, and can really benefit from a big wide receiver, something offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton is in dire need of for his West Coast system. DeAndre Hopkins is someone who can draw double coverage at 6'1 214 lbs, while having consistent hands. Comparable to Reggie Wayne, the Colts will need a franchise receiver, and unless the Minnesota Vikings draft him first, look for Hopkins to be a surprise pick in the late first round.
Round 3: Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A&M
Despite the Colts not having a second round pick, this draft provides an underrated depth at the outside linebacker position. Sean Porter out of Texas A&M is a solid option for a third round pick, and would provide stability behind free-agent acquisition Erik Walden who has shown inconsistencies when rushing the passer. Porter led the Big-12 in sacks with 9.5, and is fast enough to match up over the slot. He should fit well in the 3-4 defense that the Colts are developing.
Round 4: Brian Winters, OG, Kent State
The Colts will be continuing to fortify their offensive line, a weakness of the team that has not been assessed thus far in free agency. Therefore in the fourth round the Colts will be able to get someone along the lines of Brian Winters from Kent State. Winters has been compared to former Colt Jake Scott and has phenomenal fundamentals. He finishes plays and has great flexibility despite towering over smaller ends, even at the NFL level. Also, despite his height, film shows him firing off the ball in short-yardage situations, making him a desirable combo-blocker. The Colts should like most teams have their eyes set on Winters, as despite a sluggish combine that was blamed on a pectoral, 24 teams showed up to his pro day at Kent State, and his stock has risen from the sixth to potentially the fourth round.
Round 6: Ray Graham, RB, Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh has produced some very good running backs at the professional level. Ray Graham is back on that track after a strong 2012 senior season, one in which he was rebounding from a torn ACL. This absolutely effected his stock negatively, but Graham was an absolute workhorse at Pitt, carrying the ball 222 times. Very comparable to Vick Ballard, and with Donald Brown's contract expiring at the end of 2013, this pick makes sense. The Colts have expressed interest in Graham, and spoke to him at the East-West Bowl this year.
Round 7: Roderick Sweeting, CB, Georgia Tech
Despite making improvements through free agency, the Colts still need depth at the CB position. Roderick Sweeting should be available in the seventh round, and GM Ryan Grigson should be able to use his past experience as a scout to find a solid player in the seventh round. Sweeting ran a 4.38 and has a 37" vertical, and could prove to be a very good player if he is able to gain size. His natural instincts have gotten him this far, and coming out of a competitive program, Sweeting is absolutely worth a 7th round pick.
Round 7: Bradley McDougald, FS, Kansas
With the last pick in the draft, the Colts should take someone who is athletic and versatile. Bradley McDougald has played receiver, strong, and free safety throughout his high school and college career. He has found stability at the free safety position, and can be an absolute steal with the Mr. Irrelevant pick based purely on his athletic ability.