Given that you’ll be lucky to get more than a handful of picks right creating a mock draft on the morning of the event, the value in a mock written a full year out is not going to be in it’s accuracy. They will however, give a baseline of what draft geeks are thinking about a team’s needs and provide some players to keep an eye on this fall.
The most popular Colts picks among the twenty-eight 2012 mocks in WalterFootball’s database (plus a 29th from MtD) were Miami DT Marcus Forston and Texas A&M WR Jeff Fuller, the only players to appear 3 times as Indy’s pick.
WR was the most popular Colts pick and understandably so as the Colts have Wayne, Garçon and Gonzalez hitting free agency after next season and the 2012 draft class of WR looks very strong. In addition to Fuller, WRs Mohammad Sanu (Rutgers) and Ryan Broyles (Oklahoma) were mocked to Indy in the first round twice with single appearances for Michael Floyd (Notre Dame) and Greg Childs (Arkansas).
Defensive tackle was a popular pick in what’s become an annual tradition. Following Forston’s 3 appearances were Michigan State’s Jerel Worthy, chosen twice, and one pick each of Tydreke Powell from UNC and Jared Crick from Nebraska.
Despite the Colts selecting offensive linemen with their first two picks in this past draft O-linemen were selected 3 times. Ohio State tackle Mike Adams, Iowa State T/G Kelechi Osemele and Ohio State center Mike Brewster.
Rounding out the 29 mock picks were two picks of Miami safety Ray Ray Armstrong with single selections of S Robert Lester (Alabama), LBs Manti Te’o (Notre Dame), Travis Lewis (Oklahoma) and Courtney Upshaw (Alabama), RB Knile Davis (Arkansas), DEs Bruce Irvin (West Virginia) and Andre Branch (Clemson), and QB Nick Foles (Arizona).
A handful of mocks when so far as to project a 2nd round with Indy taking WRs Ryan Broyles (Oklahoma) and Dwight Jones (North Carolina), RBs Chris Polk (Washington) and Cyrus Gray (Texas A&M), Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins and Maryland safety/linebacker Kenny Tate.
If I had to pick an early favorite it would be Ryan Broyles. With 266 receptions, 3,429 yards and 35 TDs already under his belt he’s got the kind of track record Indy likes in their early picks. Sure handed with good route running skills and abilities after the catch the biggest fans of Broyles describe him as Wes Welker with better speed. A compliment for sure, but one that reveals his main flaws as well. Broyles is a touch small at 5’11” 186lbs and isn’t a burner. A comparison by those more lukewarm on Broyles is former Oklahoma WR Mark Clayton. Clayton hasn’t lived up to his first round selection, but has put up some production and continues to show some promise despite playing in mediocre to bad offenses and having some bad injury luck. Broyles has the skills to be a excellent NFL receiver, but because he isn’t the kind of blazing fast, 6’5″ 220lb freak of nature that gets drafted early in the 1st round of the draft, he’s a prime candidate for Indy’s pick.
The 2012 draft is a long ways off, but keeping your eyes out for stud WRs and big athletic DTs on Saturdays this fall is a good idea.