The Indianapolis Colts came a long way in 2012. All they had to do was replace their Hall of Fame quarterback, switch to an entirely new defense, and lost their head coach for the bulk of the season while he battled cancer.
A series of events like this would send most teams into a tailspin but all the Colts did was turn a 2-14 2011 into an 11-5 2012 and a trip to the playoffs. It was an inspirational performance for certain. What their excellent performance did was fill the fanbase with excitement for the upcoming season, and that includes the 2013 NFL draft.
For the Rant mock draft, the Colts were picking in the 24th spot. No trades were allowed, so I had a chance to put together a list of 5 players I wanted to be there at 24, and simply let the first round unfold. As the pick got closer, most of my players were still there, but I have to admit, when we got to pick 23, and the Minnesota Vikings selected Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree I was a little shocked. I had to go back and check again, but sure enough Utah defense tackle Star Lotulelei had slipped through the cracks and was still on the board. Needless to say it made making the pick pretty elementary.
The rationale behind the pick was simple. Lotulelei is a top 5 player in this draft class, and a dominant force. He slid I presume on concerns about his health, but at his pro day it was reported he had a clean cardiac MRI, which is the gold standard of tests like this, so that, paired with a tremendous workout put all concern aside for me. But other than the fact that Lotulelei is a dominant prospect and would certainly represent the best player available, he also fills a need.
The Colts switched to a 3-4 base defense last season and while they did well to fill in for the switch over, more upgrades are needed. Lotulelei would give them a player who can penetrate and rush the passer anywhere along the defensive front. The Colts could line him up as either a 5-technique end in the base package, or slide inside in the nickel sets. I wouldn’t even rule out his ability at a fit 325lbs playing a pure 0-technique nose tackle in a pinch.
As far as I am concerned Lotulelei is the best defensive player in this entire draft, regardless of position, so getting him at 24 was impossible to pass up.