By Willis Patenaude @willispatenaude on April 17, 2014
The Indianapolis Colts achieved great things in 2013 before succumbing to a brutal defeat in the playoffs. If they look to progress further in 2014, they need to add receiving weapons and depth on defense through the 2014 NFL Draft. However, without a first-round pick, which they traded away to acquire Trent Richardson, it won’t be easy. Here are five names Colts fans should know as they prepare for the draft.
Luck needs protection and maybe Trent Richardson’s failures were not all his own, so enter Gabe Jackson to keep Luck standing upright and open the running lanes. He was a durable four-year starter, starting all 52 games of his college career and remarkably did not give up a sack his last two seasons. His football intelligence makes him a potential starter as a rookie and an anchor on the offensive line for many years.
The obvious failure of the Trent Richardson experiment leaves the door open for the Colts to draft a running back, and Sankey is a perfect fit as an “all-purpose” back. He is a big-play threat in the passing game and would serve as a nice change of pace from Vick Ballard and Richardson. As the Pac-12’s leading rusher, Sankey played in a pro-style offense and can handle a heavy workload.
The Colts are certainly going to look at safety in the draft, and they sent secondary coach Mike Gillhamer to Bucannon’s pro day. In a passing league, this pick makes sense. He led the Pac-12 in tackles, likes to punish the ball-carrier and has the ability to create turnovers. He is similar to Tampa Bay safety Dashon Goldson and has an old-school, tone-setting mentality.
The team already has an explosive deep threat in T.Y. Hilton and veteran slot receiver Reggie Wayne, but Matthews would provide that dependable third down possession receiver to further exploit the defense. He would also be an added red zone threat and a potential replacement for Wayne, whose age and injury history is catching up to him.
With the departure of Antoine Bethea, Brooks would provide immediate help and pair well with the hard-hitting LaRon Landry, making a formidable tandem. Despite his small frame, 5-foot-11, 198-pounds, he has impeccable instincts, fluidity of motion and with a 4.42 40-yard dash, he has good speed. Brooks is also durable, aggressive against the run and a solid special-teams player.
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