The Indianapolis Colts are fresh off of their second straight 11-5 campaign and a trip to the playoffs. In fact, last season Indy enjoyed it’s first division title and first playoff win in the Andre Luck era and the future is looking mighty bright.
At this point, the only thing really holding the Colts back is more shoddy play-calling and a weak rushing attack. Their defense still needs to plug some holes and they might want to add more insurance for Reggie Wayne (knee surgery), but there’s no reason to think they can’t be even better in 2014.
To get an idea of the exact areas they need the most work in, let’s break down the Colts team needs as they head into the 2014 NFL Draft:
Offensive needs: WR, OL, RB
In this wideout heavy draft, Andrew Luck and the Colts could benefit from taking a play-maker. Reggie Wayne is aging and coming off of knee surgery, so it would be foolish to expect him to continue his career-long gaudy production. This is a position at which the Colts could use an immediate impact, as well as a future regular. In the second round, the Colts could be looking at players like the 6’5″ Kelvin Benjamin out of Florida State (if he falls due to conditioning and drops). He’s a big, athletic target, and the Colts could hide his youth on the depth chart behind T.Y. Hilton and Hakeem Nicks. Jarvis Landry and Bruce Ellington could also be available for the Colts 2nd round pick. Perhaps a guy like Jared Abbrederis would interest them a bit later in the draft, as well.
Last year’s running game, before and after giving up their 1st round pick for Trent Richardson, was lacking. Running back is a need, and sure, they could take Auburn’s Tre Mason, or LSU’s Jeremy Hill, but it would serve them better to improve the offensive line first. USC’s Marcus Martin and Travis Swanson out of Arkansas might interest Indianapolis at center, or Missouri’s Gabe Jackson could be available at guard.
Defensive needs: OLB, S, CB
The Colts’ coverage game needs a makeover, and if Lamarcus Joyner is available, he could develop into a difference maker at safety. The Colts should be in the market for help at corner, as well as safety. It’s possible that Jaylen Watkins, Antone Exum, or Brock Vareen are more their speed.
Indianapolis would benefit from taking a linebacker, and they can afford to take a risk on the undersized, but very talented Chris Borland out of Wisconsin. Borland’s athelticism is underrated a bit due to his size, but nobody doubts his football IQ. If they choose to go the outside linebacker route, they could wind up with one of the Smiths, Chris or Telvin. Bjoern Werner could end up stepping up on one side, but that’s no guarantee. They could use depth for their pass rush, either way.
The Colts are a solid team with very few, if any, needs that must be addressed immediately. Having only 5 draft picks doesn’t kill them, as they can still afford to take a few risks and draft a project or two. That said, it would not surprise me to see them try to turn 5 picks into 6 or 7 picks in order to round things out better.
Ultimately, Indy’s defense simply needs to keep improving, and with an excellent defensive coaching staff and some young pieces, that should keep happening. Their offense should be better as well, but will only go as far as Indy’s offensive coordinator allows it to.
*Photo Credit – Mr. Schultz