Why the Colts Did Not Select a LT in the Draft

Entering the draft, the biggest need for the Colts was seemingly left tackle. Tony Ugoh has not yet lived up to his potential. While Charlie Johnson played admirably, he does not seem like the long-term solution. Adding a franchise left tackle would also allow the Colts to move Johnson to his more natural and effective position of guard. As we all know, however, the Colts addressed different positions in the draft, specifically in the first and second round, where elite left tackles can be found.

During the first two rounds, the Colts had a reasonable chance at four left tackle prospects: Roger Saffold, Zane Beadles, Charles Brown, and Jared Veldheer. In my opinion, any other prospects would either have been a reach or have taken a costly trade to acquire. The Colts passed on each of these players. I’m going to try and figure out why.

To start off, here are the statistics for those four players plus some Colts taken in similar rounds. These are the same categories as last week. Because of reader request, I added 20 yard short-shuttle and bench press. I chose Pat Angerer because he was taken in place of these linemen. Tony Ugoh and Mike Pollak are added because they are the only two lineman the Colts have selected recently in the second.

Player

Height/Wt

Speed

Prod

Degree

Captain

Conf

School Year Drafted

Pat Angerer LB

6’1/2 /235

4.69

5

Yes

Yes

Big 10

Senior

Tony Ugoh OT

6’5/301

5.04

5

Yes

No

SEC

Senior

Mike Pollak OG

6’4/300

4.92

4

Yes

Yes

Pac 10

Senior

Roger Saffold OT

6’5/316

5.21

4

Yes

Yes

Big 10

Senior

Zane Beadles OT

6’5/ 310

5.28

5

Yes

No

MWC

Senior

Charles Brown OT

6’5/303

5.16

5

Yes

No

PAC 10

Senior

Jared Veldheer OT

6’8/312

5.06

4

Yes

Yes

GLIAC

Senior

Player

Bench Press

20 Yrd Shuttle

Pat Angerer LB

26

4.29

Tony Ugoh OT

32

DNP

Mike Pollak OG

29

4.14

Roger Saffold OT

27

4.67

Zane Beadles OT

20

4.86

Charles Brown OT

21

4.64

Jared Veldheer OT

32

4.51

Why the Colts did not select:

Roger Saffold: The Colts had the chance to select Saffold either by using their first pick or trading into the top of the second. Saffold seems like he has what the typical Colts player must: He graduated, has great production (4), was a team captain, played in a BCS conference and has adequate size. However, Saffold lacks speed and burst. His short shuttle is above average, but nothing special. His forty time was average for a lineman, which we have seen is unacceptable for the Colts. His 10 yard split time, 1.80, shows a lack of athleticism and burst for his size. Saffold just doesn’t have the necessary athleticism to merit a first round selection.

Zane Beadles: Beadles was consistent, productive, tough, and has an awesome name. Nonetheless, there is no way Beadles could be a Colt left tackle. Beadles doesn’t come from a BCS conference. While extremely productive, he lacks any sign of true athleticism. His bench press was matched by three wide receivers. He’s slower than Saffold with a worse 10-yard split. His 20-yard shuttle is plain bad. If you’re not an athlete, you’re not a Colt. Beadles neither.

Charles Brown: Most experts saw Brown as a late first round player. As the draft progressed, however, he remained available as the Colts chose late in the second. While rumors of a medical issue could have caused the slip, the Colts passed on Brown for other reasons. Like Saffold, Brown has much of what the Colts look for. However, his 21 bench reps denote a lack of strength. I think the Colts shied away from Brown, and this is coming from someone who watched him live a lot, because he doesn’t always play physical football. He uses his technique and scheme to beat opponents instead of just mauling. This is reflected in the poor bench number and in his draft plummet.

Jared Veldheer: Veldheer has every measurable the Colts want. He’s fast, strong, big, quick and athletic. He ran a 4.51 20-yard shuttle at 6’8. That’s impressive. Like Howard Mudd, Veldheer went to small Hillsdale. While Veldheer is a supreme athlete, he has never faced anyone with the quickness, strength and burst of Jerry Hughes, let alone Mathis and Freeney. With the Colts primed to make another Super Bowl run, a project player was just not an option.

Polian ultimately passed on the left tackles because they did not fit the Colts’ draft philosophy. While all of these players were appealing, especially Saffold and Veldheer, the Colts are the best team in the league at drafting because they stick to their beliefs. The Colts want smart, determined players who can fly around the field, even at lineman. Ugoh and Pollak both show a great mix of strength and speed. Pollak, in fact, is a physical freak with a faster 20-yard shuttle than Jerry Hughes. Every Colts selection in the Polian era reinforces the fact that a Colt must be an athlete, have great speed with at least good strength, be productive in a big conference, and have graduated.

While the Colts do make exceptions like Hughes, they only do it when outstanding tape convinces them otherwise. With multiple physical and competitive shortcomings, none of these tackles had enough outstanding tape to merit selection. Ultimately, the Colts look to see if every player meets the three pillars of being a Colt: Speed, production and character. The Colts believe that if all 53 men on the roster embody these three pillars, they’re going to win a lot of football games. Finding these players starts with the draft, with making a philosophy, and sticking to it. The same reasons the Colts have won 12 games for seven straight seasons are the same reasons they did not select at left tackle in the draft. Speed. Production. Character.

 

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