Hello, Colts fans. With the draft almost here, it’s an exciting time for fans everywhere.
We got together to discuss a few questions about it and what our Colts face.
Q: Chris Ballard has stated his intentions are to bring in the best player available regardless of need. Any thoughts on this?
Nate Wilson: I think best available player is the way to draft. With the free agent signings that Ballard has brought in I think that gives the Colts flexibility. They can use their picks for the best player and not have to draft to find depth. The FA signings might not work out long-term but for one year they can hopefully fill in while Ballard uses the depth of this draft to find some gems. This draft is deep in the areas of need for the Colts. I feel like Ballard will do a good job with it.
Jerald Pierce: The draft is such a crap-shoot. The only thing I know for certain is that the Colts, sitting at 15 overall, will have more decent options available when they take their educated stab in the dark. I trust Ballard as a talent evaluator (basically because the world agrees that he’s pretty good), but I have no idea what the team will do. He seems to understand that the defense was a barren wasteland, so I’d anticipate the pick being on that side of the ball. Anywhere on that side of the ball.
Nate Dunlevy: I’m a long-standing believer in BPA. I think it’s nuts for anyone to pretend a team knows what its needs are now. Phillip Dorsett is usually cited as a failing of BPA, because “the Colts didn’t need a receiver”. Only they did! They have desperately needed Dorsett to be good. What made him a bad pick isn’t that he couldn’t find a way on the field because Indy was so flush with receivers. What made him a bad pick was that he’s not very good and can’t stay healthy. So the “need first” crowd has been wrong from the start about what the needs are. Get talent. The rest will figure itself out.
Casey Burks: I fully believe you that you take the best player available except for rare cases. The Colts aren’t loaded at any position so I’m all for drafting the best player available.
Ryan Kennedy: The thing about drafting BPA is that it only works if the GM knows who the best player is. All signs point to Chris Ballard understanding draft strategy, but how well does he evaluate talent? He’ll have a chance to answer that question on Thursday night. (I feel pretty good about it.)
Marcus Dugan: I feel as though when teams say they will take the best player available, they do so measurably and within reason. If the best player available isn’t a position of need, it’s easy to go to the next guy if the difference is marginal. Need can trump incremental differences in talent if the difference in positional need filled by two players is far more glaring than that of their respective skills/upside. However, if the talent gap is a vast one, you take the man at the top of your board and run with that decision even if it leads to a trade. That’s what I think best player available truly means.
So, team need is still important, but if the best player available is leaps and bounds better than the guy who fills your need, I don’t believe a guy like Ballard is going to be caught reaching.
Jeff Gerbig: I think BPA is absolutely the way to go, though occasionally you’ll have the odd circumstance where a need trumps everything. In a league where margin of victory is so slim, and where players are literally a play away from never playing again, it makes sense to get as much talent as possible. No matter which route you go, you will miss on players. Everyone does.
Q: Joe Mixon and Reuben Foster have been popular draft subjects because of their legal/attitude/drug test issues. What are your feelings on the team potentially drafting a player with these types of issues?
Nate Wilson: Mixon I personally don’t like. He showed no remorse after his legal issues. I wouldn’t take a chance on him. I don’t really know much of Reuben Foster but I think he will probably be gone before the Colts first pick anyway. Regardless of his issues.
Jerald Pierce: Word around Ballard has also been that he won’t shy away from guys with red flags….so I’m sure Joe Mixon and Reuben Foster are on the Colts board. Somewhere. They wouldn’t be on mine. I hate the phrase “horseshoe guy” or whatever wording Pagano decides to spout, but I do think the Manning/Dungy years instilled that kind of ideal not only in the organization but in the fans (or at least in me). I full expect every Colts player to be someone I’m proud to cheer on. I couldn’t be proud to cheer on Mixon. Foster, I’m on the fence leaning toward no. I never thought Foster would drop to the Colts—an immediate starter at ILB who could be good for a while. But now…well…if Ballard gives him the ok, I’ll trust him.
That’s my biggest thing on every draft prospect: read all the film breakdowns you want, it’s still just the tip of the iceberg if you don’t get to put these guys through workouts and sit down with them.
Nate Dunlevy: I’m not a fan of drafting players with issues. Polian and Dungy took players off the board all the time, and that’s fine with me. I think you pay a long-term price for being reckless. You need players who will work hard, stay motivated, and act responsibly when handed millions of dollars. Don’t take a chance on an idiot.
Casey Burks: I’m fine with Ballard drafting a player that has had issues like Mixon or Foster. If he believes they won’t have issues in Indianapolis and those are things of the past then I’m all for it. I’ll put all of my trust in Ballard when it comes to those things.
Marcus Dugan: As for players like Foster and Mixon, I don’t think Chris Ballard is going to want to take those types of risks as he establishes the first part of what he surely hopes will be a lengthy legacy in Indianapolis. There is a disturbing video out there of Mixon’s violence toward a young woman. He can talk about being a changed man until he’s Colts blue in the face, but he’s not worth the risk for a new GM, perhaps not even late in the draft.
Foster could just be an occasional hot-headed prick (combine incident) who needs to stay away from the weed (diluted urine test). He could still be a great linebacker, but that may be too much baggage and too much risk for a general manager in his first year with a team. It’s one thing to give a pro a second chance, but these guys aren’t proven commodities yet.
Jeff Gerbig: I’ve been batting around my answer to this for several days, and I still don’t know how I feel. Don’t be surprised if I end up contradicting myself. Jerald’s answer reminded me of something: One of the reasons I’m proud to be a Colts fan is the tremendous amount of work the players and organization put in for the community. From helping veterans to feeding the poor to building houses to getting backpacks for kids, this organization has done a lot of good for many years. Yes, there have been some guys who’ve had issues – every team has them, and we forget these are people first, and football players second – but by and large, the Colts have had a pretty high character team. Maybe it’s just my “Hoosier mentality,” but I like this. I want a team I can be proud of on and off the field, and I believe it’s possible to win at a high level without players who embarrass the organization.
I also believe in second chances. If we were all forever held accountable for mistakes we made in our younger days, many of us would be screwed. For a Colts reference, look at Pat McAfee. What he did isn’t unlike the behavior of many early 20-somethings, but it was still an embarrassment to the organization. More importantly, Pat is a high character guy who put in a lot of work to recover from his troubles.
While Chris Ballard has never been the final decision maker until now, he has been involved in selecting players who’ve had some incidents, with Tyreek Hill being the most recent. Hill’s case is extremely disturbing, so much so I won’t even discuss it. If you’re curious of the details, they are easily found with a search. Maybe Chris Ballard was a dissenter when it came time where the Chiefs discussed drafting Hill. Maybe he wasn’t. Unfortunately we don’t know for sure. My gut feeling tells me, though, that we should prepare ourselves to welcome more guys who may have been involved in things that make us cringe. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
Q: Is there a certain player you’d like the Colts to draft with their first pick?
Nate Wilson: As an OSU fan I would like for one of their DB’s to drop to the Colts in the first round. Gareon Conley, Marshon Lattimore or Malik Hooker are all great players and I’d be happy with any of them, but I think they will also be gone by the Colts pick. Just my wishful thinking. I’d be happy with a strong edge rusher prospect or CB to play opposite Vontae Davis.
Jerald Pierce: Player I’d like to see drafted at 15 by the Colts? Haason Reddick. I know I’m probably in the minority, but oh well. Give me Haason Reddick (at 15 or after a trade down) and just put him on the field 24/7. ILB, OLB, whatever. Just keep him on the field. Do I watch film? Nope. Am I guilty of reacting to Combine drills? Yup. But watching Reddick destroy drills while Tim Williams looked lost sold me (c’mon Tim, they do the same drills every year). Reddick. “Undersized”, a walk-on, a great story if he becomes a star. Let’s see it happen on the Colts.
Nate Dunlevy: This team has so many needs, I don’t care who they take in round one, as long he doesn’t play offensive line.
Casey Burks: I don’t have a specific player that I’d like to see the Colts pick. I like a lot of players in this draft. I do hope the first round pick is a player on the defensive side of the ball.
Jeff Gerbig: Please bring me Derek Barnett. Please let him be available at 15. I’m begging you, draft gods.
Excellent stuff. We’ll see you soon for more draft coverage.