Judging the Draft: Indianapolis Colts 2000

Kyle Rodriguez reviews the 2000 draft in the third installment of the “Judging the Draft” series. 

This is the sixth part in a season-long series assessing the effectiveness of the last 13 years of drafting. For details on how the drafts are judged see the first post in the series (1998 draft).

1998 Draft (A-)

1999 Draft (A)

Note: I added the total Context +/- at the end of the series, and added it to the previous two posts. This number takes the CarAV of the Colts’ pick and compares it to the average CarAV of the next 10 picks. This will be totaled for the end numbers. I also added “Hit %” numbers, which is based on the context numbers. If it was above average for the next 10 picks, than it’s a “Hit,” if below average, it’s a “Miss.”

The first two drafts of the Polian/Manning era were, in a word, incredible. With the 2000 draft, the Polian-led Colts got their first taste of drafting at the bottom of the round, and things took a step towards normalcy.

#28 LB Rob Morris

Production: (C-)

Career AV (Season Average): 3.5

Average #28 AV: 4.04

Median #28 AV: 4

Rob Morris was drafted by the Colts in order to inherit the middle linebacker spot. He did start their for four years, and during those four years the Colts’ defense was ranked 31, 19, 25, and 17 in rush defense DVOA. Morris was also a leading special teams tackler and reserve linebacker from 2005-2006, being most notable in the replacement of Gilbert Gardner in the 2006 playoffs (a huge factor in the Colts improved rush defense). While Morris was a decent player (and the Colts may not have a Super Bowl without him), he wasn’t the type of production that you’d like to see from a first round pick, even though it was low in the round.

Need: (A)

While the Colts’ offense was humming along as Peyton Manning began to get his legs under him in his second season, the defense was still less-than desirable. Middle linebacker and a second defensive end to complement Chad Bratzke were the biggest needs, and the Colts addressed the former with this pick. Coincidentally, several analysts recognized this need, and predicted Morris to be the Colts’ first round pick, including Don Banks. 

Pre-Draft Ranking: (A)

Morris was widely regarded to be one of the best middle linebackers to come out of the draft in years, and was far and away the highest rated MLB in the 2000 draft. He was pegged as a late first rounder, and for a team with a need at MLB, the Colts got exactly who they wanted.

Context:

Average Career AV for next 10 picks: 33.2

Morris’ Career AV: 25

Boy, the Colts missed out here. Five Pro-Bowlers were taken in the following 16 picks, including linebackers Keith Bulluck (30) and Ian Gold* (40). While both were seen as outside linebackers, and Gold was seen as a bit of a reach, Bulluck was projected to be a solid first round pick, and slid to the end of the round.

* Note: Gold’s Pro-Bowl was as a special teams player in 2001. However, he did go on to start the next season, and never had a full season where his AV was under six.

Overall: (B) Nobody faulted the Colts for this pick, although Peter King correctly (and solely) pegged him as overrated. While it’s disappointing that Morris didn’t end up being the star MLB that he was expected to be, his presence as a leader on the Colts was always appreciated. And in the circumstances, the Colts made the pick they needed to make. (It’s worth remembering that without Morris in 2006, the Colts likely would never have won a Super Bowl)

#59 LB Marcus Washington

Production: (A)

Career AV: 6.89

Average #59 AV: 4.06

Median #59 AV: 5

Washington was one of the better Colts outside linebackers, and went on to have a great career with the Redskins as well. In the thirteen years being studied, Washington has the highest AV season average with Jonathan Babineaux and (surprise!) Mike Pollak being the only other two players with an AV over six.

Need: (A-)

The Colts needed an outside linebacker to replace aging Cornelius Bennett, and they got a good one with Washington. While the Colts had already addressed linebacker with Morris, and defensive end was a bigger need, there wasn’t really anybody worth picking at DE at this point in the draft.

Pre-Draft Ranking: (A)

Washington was rated as the 6th or 7th best outside linebacker in the draft, and was the 8th taken. Ian Gold was the surprise leap, but Washington ended up having a better career than him and Raynoch Thompson, who was also taken ahead of him.

Context:

Average Career AV for next 10 picks: 18.3

Washington’s Career AV: 53

After Washington, there was only one Pro-Bowler in the next 83 picks (WR Laveranues Coles at 78). The picks after Washington were decent (C Brad Meester, G Bobbie Williams), but nothing devastating.

Overall: (A) With Washington, the Colts got a starting linebacker who out played his competitors in the draft. While Washington’s best years came elsewhere, that seems to be a trend when it comes to the Colts and outside linebackers. The Colts use them for their rookie contract, then let them go in free agency where they have solid years for other teams. Not sure if this is just the scheme or what, but it doesn’t change the fact that Washington was a good player, and the right pick.

#91 CB David Macklin

Production: (B+)

Career AV: 3.77

Average #91 AV: 3.15

Median #91 AV: 2.5

Macklin was a starter and nickel cornerback while with the Colts averaging an AV of four while with the Colts. He went on to have better years with Arizona (average AV of six), but two throw-away years with Washington and Kansas City bring down his average a full point. A decent cornerback with the Colts, they get above average production with this third round pick.

Need: (B+)

The Colts needed secondary help, as they only had a year or two left on their starters, and the depth was troubling. However, a defensive end was still needed, and was a more pressing need than depth at cornerback. Of course, looking at the draft, there isn’t really any available, viable DE’s at this point.

Pre-Draft Ranking: (A)

There was some discrepancy about Macklin going into the 2000 draft. SI had him at  16th among cornerbacks, while NFL Draft Scout had him at 11th (one blog even had him as “possibly the best cover corner coming out“). The Colts got him as the 13th CB, and proceeded to make everyone look silly, as Deltha O’Neal was the only player to pan out better as a cornerback.

Context:

Average Career AV for next 10 picks: 13.8

Macklin’s Career AV: 30

Again, in this relatively weak draft, there was not much going on in these middle rounds. The only pick that possibly would have been better was LB Na’il Diggs at #98. Diggs had a very good career as an OLB with Green Bay and Carolina.

Overall: (A-) Macklin provided quality depth, and occasional starting from a pick that historically doesn’t always produce that. They filled a need, picked the right guy, and got above average production. Can’t argue with that.

#122 DT Josh Williams

Production: (A-)

Career AV: 3.17

Average #122 AV: 1.98

Median #122 AV: 2.25

Williams scores high here with his production. He was a rotational/starting defensive tackle for the Colts for six years, two of which ended prematurely due to injury. He even racked up a safety against Detroit in his rookie year.

Need: (B+)

The Colts had to shore up the left side of the defensive line, and Williams was an attempt at doing just that. Again, they needed a DE most, but it seemed as most prospects were long gone.

Pre-Draft Ranking: (B)

Like Macklin, there was some disagreement on Williams, ranking anywhere from the 7th best DT to the 13th. The Colts got him as the 11th DT taken, and with him having the 9th most productive career, it seems the Colts got it right.

Context:

Average Career AV for next 10 picks: 6.8

Williams’ Career AV: 17

Still pretty quiet on this front, although Pittsburgh would draft linebacker Clark Haggan just before the Colts next pick, who went on to be a an above average LB.

Overall: (B+) Williams was production from a low pick, a plus in itself, and it was just extra that he filled a need and outperformed his projected success.

#138 C/G Matt Johnson

Production: (D-)

Career AV: 0

Average AV: 1.99

Median AV: 1.5

Johnson didn’t pan out, and never played a down in the NFL. Course, the guard market was especially weak in 2000, as only three of the drafted guards had extensive starting careers (all drafted ahead of Johnson).

Need: (A)

The only hole on offense was the guard position, which needed depth. After spending the first four picks on the woeful defense, this was good planning on the FO’s part.

Pre-Draft Ranking: (C-)

Johnson was ranked anywhere from 11th to 21st among guards, but was the 8th one taken. Seems like a reach to me, and one that didn’t work out.

Context:

Average Career AV for next 10 picks: 5.5

Johnson’s Career AV: 0

Finally a worthy miss appears as Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila is taken eleven picks later. He would have fixed the Colts DE problem. Shane Lechler was also taken at 142.

Overall: (C) Colts looked in the right direction with this pick, but the reach didn’t work out, and the Colts missed.

#235 Rob Renes

Production :( – )

Like Johnson, Renes never saw the field. But Renes’ problems were due to a nasty vertebrae injury which led to Renes’ career ending before it started.

Need: (B)

Yes, defensive tackle was needed, but the Colts addressed that by picking Josh Williams.

Pre-Draft Ranking: (C-)

Again, a reach, the Colts picked up Renes, who was ranked no lower than 30th among DTs, as the 21st defensive tackle taken. Most boards didn’t even see Renes getting drafted at all.

Context:

Average Career AV for next 10 picks: 1.1

Renes Career AV: 0

Nothing going on this late in the draft.

Overall: (C+) Renes’ injury could not be foreseen, but he was a bit of a reach here. Of course, it is the seventh round, so team’s take flyers on players they like.

#238 CB Rodregis Brooks

Production: (D)

Career AV: 0

Average #238 AV: .82

Median #238 AV: .33

Brooks played in a few games for special teams, but never anything more than that.

Need: (B+)

The Colts still need depth at corner, and this is where you look.

Pre-Draft Ranking: (B)

Projected as a late seventh rounder, that’s exactly where he went, as the final pick before the compensatory picks.

Context:

Average Career AV for next 10 picks: 1.1

Brooks Career AV: 0

Rob Maier (141) went on to have a decent career as a defensive end for Jacksonville, something we could have used here.

Overall: (C) Just another 7th rounder that didn’t work out.

2000 Draft Overall

Sum of Colts’ AV Averages: 17.33

Sum of Average Picks: 16.93 (Median: 15.58)

Colts’ CarAV Total: 125

Average CarAV for next 10 picks Total: 79.8

Total +/-: +45.2

Hit %: 3 for 7- 42.9%

The Colts, after two incredible drafts, fall down a bit in 2000. Their production was just barely above average (historically), getting dragged down on missing all three of their late round picks. However, the Colts hit on three of their four top picks, and the miss (Morris) still ended up being a valued contributor to the team, just one that didn’t quite live up to his draft status. In the end, I give the Colts a solid B+. Morris not working out, and missing on all three late picks brings it down, but Washington, Macklin, and Williams were all above average. On another note, this draft was pretty weak after the first six picks or so, and the Colts were making good choices, and getting productive players. I’ll take that any day of the week.

Kyle J. Rodriguez

About Kyle J. Rodriguez

A film and numbers guru, Kyle writes about the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts for Bleacher Report, Draft Mecca and The Football Educator, and is a co-founder and associate editor of Colts Authority. Kyle also is a high school sports reporter for the MLive Media Group in Michigan, covering high school sports across the state.

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