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Combination of Lockout and 2011 Draft Class Could Benefit Colts
2011 is one of the busiest and potentially difficult off-seasons for the Indianapolis Colts in Peyton Manning’s career. To this point, the team has had to part ways with veteran safety Bob Sanders, has been unable to nail down a deal with franchise quarterback Peyton Manning, and has numerous questions regarding the future contracts of many steady contributors over the last two seasons.
Some of the questions may be answered — assuming a new CBA gets worked out that does not nullify the moves the franchise has already made — as the Colts have issued tenders to players like starting running back Joseph Addai, veteran linebacker Clint Session, defensive tackles Eric Foster and Daniel Muir, and assumed starting strong safety Melvin Bullitt. This still leaves the team’s sole nose tackle, Antonio Johnson in limbo, and kicker Adam Vinatieri floating around with an uncertain future.
The upside for the Colts is that, assuming their key contributors return from injury, most of their roster is full of experienced players, many of them young and improving, which promise a bright outlook for the coming season. The holes on the team are so few, in fact, that it should allow Bill and Chris Polian, and the rest of the draft team in Indianapolis, to be more aggressive in their draft strategy.
This can only work, of course, if the draft class is filled with players who have appropriate values around where the Colts select. If the Colts were desperate for skill position players this year, the draft would not agree with them. If they were looking for Peyton Manning’s heir in the first round, the outlook would not be good.
Instead, the Colts primary areas of need are along the offensive line, and specifically at offensive tackle, for a promising young strong safety to be insurance behind Melvin Bullitt or to supplant him as a starter, and for a one-tech run stuffing defensive tackle that can rotate with Antonio Johnson should his nagging injuries return in the coming season. It just so happens that the talent along the offensive and defensive lines are strong enough to make it very value effective to bolster two of the team’s primary need areas.
With the uncertainty surrounding Ryan Diem’s high contract hit and declining performance, Charlie Johnson’s long-term future with the team, and Antonio Johnson not having a guaranteed future in Indianapolis, the Colts draft room would be justified in taking advantage of this draft’s strengths.
This kind of practice is not uncommon for Polian and his team. Recall 2008, the Colts drafted three centers in the draft, which allowed the team to begin training Jeff Saturday’s future replacement and potentially provide depth along the interior of the offensive line for the long-term. What would have happened in 2008, assuming Tony Ugoh was not drafted in 2007, if the offensive line depth was heaviest at offensive tackle? The team could look a lot different.
No one likes to see the NFL in an uproar and its future in doubt. No one likes to see their team’s hands tied with regard to further personnel moves due to the lockout. However, Indianapolis — and fans who are clamoring for more talent along the lines — may well benefit from the circumstances.
2011 Draft, Adam Vinatieri, Antonio Johnson, Bob Sanders, CBA, Charlie Johnson, Clint Session, Colts, Contract, Contracts, Daniel Muir, Depth, Eric Foster, Indiana, Indianapolis Colts, Jeff Saturday, Joseph Addai, Lockout, manning, Melvin Bullitt, muir, NFL, Offensive Line, Peyton Manning, player, Ryan Diem, Tony Ugoh
About the author
Brett Mock is a third-year law student at Valparaiso University School of Law and an avid Indianapolis Colts fan. Over the last three years Brett has become highly active as an amateur sports writer on Colts blogs like www.stampedeblue.com, www.bleacherreport.com, and as an analyst on www.coltpower.com. With this blog he hopes to expand his readership and provide Colts fans with a one-stop location for informative analysis on the current state and future of the Indianapolis Colts franchise.
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