Last April, I did an extensive series on what to expect from each of the Colts’ picks. I did this by comparing each player to other similar rookies selected in the past in Indy and elsewhere. This helps to create realistic expectations for the players. Here’s a review of how each man performed.
Jerry Hughes-The standard was not high. I asked for 3-4 sacks and good special teams play. The Colts got none of that from Hughes. He did show some spark at moments. I don’t care about tackle numbers because that’s not why the Colts drafted him.
My expectations for Jerry Hughes were fair, historically grounded, and far from lofty. He failed to meet them, failing even to remain active in many games. I would never call any player a bust before he was in his third year (or cut), but Hughes had without question the most disappointing rookie year of any Colts first round pick since Reggie Wayne. None of this means that Hughes won’t turn things around, but it does mean he had virtually no impact on the 2010 season.
At the time he was drafted, the Colts were stocked at every position. Ironically, the only two guys who stayed healthy on defense in 2010 were Mathis and Freeney, thus preventing Hughes from advancing. Besides that however, the one area where he was most disappointing was in special teams. Indy desperately needed a Mathis type effort on special teams from Hughes. He could have provided that and didn’t.
For the record, I heavily advocated the selection of Hughes before the draft. Looks like me and Bill might have both missed on this one.
Pat Angerer-Angerer was the most controversial of the Indy draft picks, but probably the most important. My expectations for him included 20-30 tackles and a forced fumble or sack, as well as good play on special teams. Pat Angerer forced his way into the starting line up, and shattered those expectations. He finished the year with 88 tackles (58 solo) and did get his sack. As Brackett and Session battled injuries, Angerer stepped in and played wonderfully…for a rookie.
Angerer was lost in coverage for most of the year, which is to be expected. He has a long way to go before he’s a difference maker at the NFL level, and his play in the playoff game was ragged at best. However, his rookie campaign can only be judged as a complete and unqualified success. Without him, the Colts probably don’t make the playoffs. He’s certainly shown the potential to be a difference maker in the league, and after one season is well ahead of where most rookie LBs are.
Kevin Thomas-Thomas blew out his ACL in training camp. His injury had NOTHING to do with previous ailments (a bum shoulder, mono), and was a freak injury. The Colts could have used him. He seemed to work hard in rehab and was certainly nice to us.
Jacques McClendon-My standards were pretty high for him: double digit games active and a few starts. He didn’t quite meet them, but came close. Jacques McClendon was drafted to be a project, and as such, was never a major threat to start. However, he did get converted to TE briefly and saw action in four games. I believe he spent the whole year on the active list. For a fourth round rookie lineman, that’s a good season.
Brody Eldrige-For Eldrige I wanted 16 games active and good blocking. I predicted fewer than 10 touches. He met expectations to a T. Early in the year, he really helped the line improve run blocking, but then battled injuries (who didn’t?). Great job by Brody Eldridge who should only improve.
Ricardo Matthews-I asked that he make the team and play 6-8 games. He made the team and played in 8 games. Chris Collinsworth went out of his way to praise Ricardo Matthews in the playoff game, which was a shock to me, because I hadn’t noticed him. I don’t have a high def screen to watch games though, so I often can’t seen interior linemen’s numbers. Matthews gave good value for a 7th rounder.
Kavell Conner-I said he needed to make the practice squad and make a couple of special teams tackles. He did much more. Due to injuries, Conner wound up seeing the field a lot. He played in 12 games and registered 36 total tackles (21) solo. He also forced a fumble. This is off the charts production from Kavell Conner whose rookie year can only be judged as an unqualified success.
Ray Fisher-Didn’t make the squad.
The scoreboard reads: 3 disappointments-Hughes, Thomas (injury), Fisher (last guy drafted) and five successes. The 2010 draft didn’t produce an impact player for the Colts, but 7 of 8 players made the team and six of them contributed with five of those equalling or surpassing reasonable expectations.
This was a solid draft, but Hughes’s performance at the top weighs it down. If Hughes or Angerer turn into Pro Bowl caliber players, it will be remembered well. If neither develop, it will be be a bad draft. The players at the bottom mostly all contributed and provided appropriate value. Matthews and Conner were outstanding successes for 7th round picks, more than making up for Fisher not making the team.