Funny how a year changes things in the NFL.
Last year this time, the Indianapolis Colts were in a state of transition. Gone was the old regime of Peyton Manning and the excitement of a rookie quarterback who was heralded as the next John Elway was ready to bring in a new era to the storied franchise. Out was a team that had been the worst in the NFL with two wins.
In was a new coach in Chuck Pagano, who had his own personal issues with cancer. In was an assistant coach, Bruce Arians, who coached the team on an interim basis to the playoffs in 2012 and for that was awarded his own team in Arizona. Yes, this was a team that looked to be another laughing stock and they somehow overcame transition, change and doubt to become the darlings on the NFL as they made the playoffs.
Now, there is a hope this team can contend with Houston for the AFC South crown and a potential Super Bowl berth.
We have seen stranger things happen.
The Colts have six draft picks this year (they do not have a second round pick) and will try to build on the continued success of 2012. Pagano is a defensive minded coach. Last year, the team used the draft to build its offense with weapons. I suspect the management and coaching staff will use its picks or most of them to build the defense and provide depth.
Here’s a look at the possible picks beginning April 25.
Round 1 Pick, 24th Overall: Desmond Trufant, Cornerback, Washngton. The Colts hit a homerun with this cover guy from the west coast. Trufant is one of those guys who has been a steady climber on draft boards and has good size (5'11" 5/8, 192 pounds). He can also play on the outside and help on special teams. Trufant also has a nice pedigree as his two older brothers are playing or have played in the NFL.
Round 3 Pick, 86th Overall: Cornelius Washington, Defensive End, Georgia. He was not as heralded as fellow Bulldogs teammate Jarvis Jones. There is no denying his 6’4”, 276-pond frame. Washington will provide speed off the end and a player who can also line up on the outside in the middle. He will also be a good special teams player (yes, there is a theme here).
Round 4 Pick, 121st Overall: Brandon Jenkins, Outside Linebacker, FSU. Jenkins was a sure-fire first round pick until an injury killed that chance. He decided to come out for the draft instead of taking a medical hardship. He has skills and the Colts could take a chance on him. If he fully heals from his injuries, he could be a good pass rusher. He won’t replace Dwight Freeney, but he could ease his loss.
Round 6 Pick 192: Denard Robinson, Wide Receiver, Michigan. Here is where the Colts show they have been doing their homework. Robinson wasn’t going to get a chance to play quarterback in the NFL, so the Colts take a chance on him as a receiver and it pays off huge. He will be asked to replace Donnie Avery in the lineup. Robinson may not be the fastest guy in a track meet, but he will prove to be a reliable asset in the Colts passing offense.
Round 7 Pick 230: Garrett Gilkey, Offensive Tackle, Chadron State. One of those guys who has good size at 6’6” and 318 pounds who just may surprise usl. Gilkey will be a depth guy who may be able to play both sides of the line. The Colts were a team of surprise last year, Gilkey fits those intangibles as well.
Round 7 Pick 245: Zach Boren, Fullback, Ohio State. I just happen to like this kid. He’s not fast by any means and is 5’11” and 250 pounds. He is a load to bring down and will serve well as a lead blocker. He reminds me of a bulldog who just keeps coming at you. The Colts can use always use those kinds of players on the team.