The Indianapolis Colts had a small class in the 2014 NFL Draft, only five players selected overall and their first pick didn’t come until the end of the second round. Despite that, I’d be surprised if the Colts didn’t have a few rooks who make an impact on the field this fall.
Jack Mewhort (T/G, Ohio State) was the teams’ first pick at no. 59 overall, and will be making a positional switch from tackle in college to guard in the pros (though he also had experience at G in college as well). He certainly fits the mold GM Ryan Grigson is looking for in his players, particularly linemen: smart, tough, hard working, gritty, strong leader, blue-collar mindset, etc. He’s not an elite athlete by any means, but he’s a physical mauler who plays with good strength and technique.
The Colts were awful along the interior of their offensive line last year, both in pass protection and run blocking, and Mewhort will be expected to help change that. There’s a very good chance Mewhort will win the starting RG job during camp, as his only true competition will be Donald Thomas (coming back from injuries) and Lance Louis (also coming back from injuries). Even if Mewhort doesn’t win the starting job, I expect him to be a major part of the offensive line rotation.
Third rounder Donte Moncrief (WR, Ole Miss) should also make his presence felt on the field this fall. Moncrief was vastly underrated in a ridiculously deep class of wide receivers, and I think was a total steal at 90th overall. He’s a strong, physical receiver with good size and speed (nearly 6-foot 3, 225-pounds running a 4.4 flat), with strong hands and a knack for tracking deep balls. Aside from T.Y. Hilton, the Colts could use another dependable young pass catcher in their receiving corps as Reggie Wayne is 35 and coming off a torn ACL, Hakeem Nicks is an inconsistent enigma riding out a one-year deal and Da’Rick Rogers still struggling to turn potential into production.
Sixth rounder Andrew Jackson (ILB, Western Kentucky) could also see some time in the LB rotation behind D’Qwell Jackson and Jerrell Freeman. He doesn’t have great athleticism or range, but is a force against the run. He actually reminds me of former undrafted LB Vontaze Burfict, another guy who tested poorly and dropped on a lot of draft boards because of maturity issues, but is a tackling machine who forced his way onto the field, and now is in line for a big payday. I’m not saying Jackson will become the next Burfict, but he’s a terrific fit inside the Colts 34 scheme where there’s little depth at inside ‘backer, and I could see him getting some early snaps.