With the NFL Draft approaching, we’re taking a team-by-team look at the needs of each club. Up next is the one which will wait until late Friday night to get started, the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have just five picks, after trading their first-rounder and their fourth-rounder to the Browns in separate moves (for Trent Richardson, and a draft-day trade last year).
Offensive line: They were hoping that signing free agent Phil Costa would help shore up the middle of their line, but his sudden retirement left that hole blank again. After cutting veteran Samson Satele, there’s nothing left at center, so it’s clearly something they’ll have to address. But the need in the middle goes beyond having someone to snap the ball. They need to upgrade at guard as well.
If they’re committed to Richardson and want to make good use of him, the best bet might be giving him some blocking to take advantage of his alleged physical style.
Then there’s the small matter of protecting Andrew Luck.
He’s the franchise, as long as he’s standing upright, but he’s taken far too many hits his first two seasons. Pep Hamilton’s offense is built on power, and adding some help up front is going to have a trickle-down effect for the entire offense.
Safety: Losing Antoine Bethea in free agency to the 49ers was a blow, one they can’t cover with bargain signings such as Colt Anderson.
If you’re going to play LaRon Landry, his partner needs to be able to cover some ground, so using a Friday pick on someone with range is a strong possibility, if not a likelihood.
Wide receiver: It almost feels like this is going to be a perpetual problem for the Colts.
T.Y. Hilton has emerged as someone you can trust, and bringing Hakeem Nicks in on a one-year deal was good business while they see what Reggie Wayne has left.
Free agent wideouts are going to want to continue to come to Indy to work with a quarterback such as Luck, so it’s possible that cycling through short-term replacements is the way to go here.
Outside linebacker: Robert Mathis is still very good at his job, and Erik Walden is exactly what the world thought he was when the Colts make a quick run at him last offseason — a solid but unspectacular player.
Maybe the presence of Mathis (a former fifth-round pick) makes them think they can find one anywhere, but they need to add some pressure to their defense around a solid front.