With the 2015 NFL Draft now behind us and rookie minicamps underway, the writers from the Last Word on Sports NFL department will continue to analyze which teams’ first-year players have the potential to shine in 2015. The Indianapolis Colts are up next and they are looking to build off last year’s AFC Championship Game appearance and make it to the first Super Bowl of the Andrew Luck era.
The Colts had a total of eight picks overall, including two in both the third and sixth rounds. All of them are listed below by round and overall number. Indy was slightly active from a draft day deal standpoint and you can find out the details of those transactions as well.
First round (29th overall): Phillip Dorsett, wide receiver, Miami (FL)
Third round (65th overall): D’Joun Smith, cornerback, Florida Atlantic
Third round (93rd overall): Henry Anderson, defensive end, Stanford
Fourth round (109th overall): Clayton Geathers, strong safety, Central Florida
Fifth round (151st overall): David Parry, nose tackle, Stanford
Sixth round (205th overall): Josh Robinson, running back, Mississippi State
Sixth round (207th overall): Amario Herrera, inside linebacker, Georgia
Seventh round (255th overall, compensatory pick): Denzelle Good, offensive tackle, Mars Hill
The Colts traded their second (61st) and fourth round (128th) picks to Tampa Bay in exchange for the Bucs third (65th) and fourth round (109th) picks.
The Colts traded their fifth (165th) and seventh round (244th) picks to San Francisco in exchange for the 49ers fifth round (151st) pick.
Indianapolis Colts 2015 NFL Draft Review
Best Player Taken: D’Joun Smith
Smith’s selection was a product of the Colts trading out of the second round and taking Tampa Bay’s third-round pick. They could be getting good value here as Smith was projected to be taken in the mid-to-late second round by many draft gurus. Though undersized at 5’10”, he’s ultra competitive, possesses immense strength for his size, and has exceptional lateral quickness.
He’ll need to work on his ability to defend the vertical passing game of opposing offenses if he wants to excel at the next level. Questions also remain about the level of competition he faced at Florida Atlantic. All that aside, the Colts are getting a player that can contribute right out of the box if he works at it.
Biggest Head-Scratcher: Where Do We Start?
In many respects, this entire draft was a head-scratcher for the Colts. The team appeared set at wide receiver yet they selected Dorsett in the first round. This while knowing full well there were a myriad of needs on the defensive side of the football that could have been fulfilled there.
Adding another body on the offensive line could’ve also done wonders in creating gaps for a revamped rushing attack. They addressed this need in the seventh round with a project player out of a Division II school in Denzelle Good who will need to work extremely hard just to make the team.
All in all, we’re left with a lot of question marks heading into the many different offseason activities leading up to training camp and the preseason.
Most Surprising Pick: Phillip Dorsett
In discussing this move, Colts owner Jim Irsay described it as a “best player available” selection. Dorsett should certainly add depth to an already impressive pass catching corps that signed veteran Andre Johnson in free agency and also includes T.Y. Hilton and Coby Fleener. Having said that, I thought the main priority through the first few rounds of the draft was shoring up a defense that was the NFL’s worst in the red zone from a scoring standpoint. In short, this is kind of a corollary to the “head-scratcher.”
Steal of the Draft: Josh Robinson
In a draft chock full of running backs, Robinson fell under the radar a bit. That said, he has the potential to fit in quite well with the power running identity head coach Chuck Pagano wants to establish in the backfield this year. It began with the free agency signing of Frank Gore who, though in his 30s, should still have a few good years left if he can stay healthy. Robinson, who had over 1,500 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns for Mississippi State last season, is a shifty and elusive back who has the frame of a Darren Sproles or Maurice Jones-Drew.
If Indy can finally get this aspect of their offense right, they may very well be right back in the AFC Championship game come January 2016.
Most Likely To Impress in Training Camp: Henry Anderson
The influx of Stanford alums to Indianapolis continues with the addition of Anderson. Though his imposing 6’6″ frame will need some extra bulk from his current weight of 294 pounds, he’s a high-energy, every down player with good football IQ. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock was highly sold on him after the Senior Bowl, tabbing him as the most under-the-radar player in the draft.
Him and Kendall Langford (signed from the Rams during free agency) will likely be competing for that spot on the right side of the defensive front. If Anderson impresses, don’t be surprised if he moves over to the left in Indy’s base 3-4 defense.
The Rest: Clayton Geathers, David Parry, Amarlo Herrera
Clayton Geathers is a lengthy safety who started all four years at Central Florida. He’s a high volume player who loves to hit and should register an above-average number of tackles if he can eventually develop into a regular starter.
In Parry, the Colts are getting a powerful, no-nonsense nose tackle who did the second-most bench press reps among defensive linemen at the Combine. He was also Anderson’s teammate at Stanford. Anyone remember the 2012 draft when Luck and Fleener came to Indy via the Cardinal?
Herrera is a late-round, developmental prospect at linebacker who thrived at Georgia in the always physical SEC. He’s a bit undersized by NFL standards, though, and will likely be used more on special teams if he makes the team.
I wasn’t exactly enamored with the Colts moves in the early rounds of the draft. Wide receiver was a depth need that if anything could’ve been addressed later on instead of in the first round. The biggest issue facing this team was shoring up a defense that had its share of struggles in 2014, especially in the red zone as was discussed. I thought they could’ve done a much better job than they inevitably did in that regard.
As much as I’m sold on Smith as being the best player taken, the Colts are pretty set at corner with Vontae Davis, Greg Toler and Darius Butler (used more in nickel packages). They had a chance to draft potentially the best strong safety in the draft in Landon Collins with their first round pick. In fact, the Giants traded up to get him with the first pick in the second round. Instead, they went with Geathers who was a reach in the fourth.
I hope the Colts front office knows what they’re doing because this year’s draft panned out a bit differently than most experts expected.
My Grade: 7.5/10