Judging the Draft: Indianapolis Colts 2005

This is the eighth 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).

In the 2005 draft we see just the second first round pick of the Polian era who never was a Pro Bowler (Rob Morris). Of course, one must remember that the 2005 draft was an awful draft. There was very little talent taken in the first round, and the rest of the draft followed a similar pattern.

And, remember, statistics (AV data) is through the 2010 season, as the numbers were ran earlier this year before the 2011 season was over.

1998 Draft (A-)

1999 Draft (A)

2000 Draft (B+)

2001 Draft (A)

2002 Draft (B)

2003 Draft (A+)

2004 Draft (B)

#29 CB Marlin Jackson

Production: (C)

Career AV (season average): 2.8

Average #29 AV: 4.44

Median #29 AV: 4.33

Jackson’s career in Indianapolis is defined by one moment (here’s Lamey’s call, which is more awesome). The rest of his time as a Colt was marred by injuries, as he was an effective starting cornerback before getting hurt during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. 

Need: (B+)

The Colts needed to add depth to their secondary, but linebacker and defensive tackle were probably bigger needs.

Pre-Draft Rankings: (B-)

Jackson was graded as a second round prospect, and the 6-8th best cornerback on the board. The Colts took him as the 5th taken, in the late first, but to be fair, two of the three CB’s occasionally ranked ahead of him had worse careers. Only Bryant McFadden has had a better career, and if Jackson had been healthy, I have little doubt he’d have turned out ot be better than the disappointing McFadden. I do think the Colts could have waited until the second round to draft a CB if Jackson was the best one they had on their board. 

Context

Average CarAV of the next 10 picks: 27.1

Jackson’s CarAV: 13

Jackson’s career hasn’t been nearly as good as the players picked soon after, some of which would have been perfect for the Colts. Logan Mankins (guard was the only offensive need), Mike Patterson (DT), or Barrett Ruud (LB) would have been great picks for the Colts’ needs. 

Overall: (B)

Jackson *should* have been a very good late first round pick in a depleted draft, but injuries derailed his career. However, the Colts really missed on players like Mankins, Patterson, and Ruud. 

#60 CB Kelvin Hayden

Production: (B+)

Career AV Average: 3.83

Average #60 AV: 3.83

Median #60 AV: 3.5

Hayden, like Jackson, was a player whose career is disturbingly hard to quantify due to injuries. Hayden didn’t develop as quickly as Jackson did, but by 2007 both cornerbacks were starting for the Colts, and both were perfect for the Colts Tampa-2 system. Their abilities, along with the health of Bob Sanders, led to one of the best two defenses in the Manning era (other being the 2005 team). But, like Jackson, he too got hurt in 2008, then every year thereafter. While Hayden certainly wasn’t worth the $43 million contract he was given in 2009, he was a very effective zone corner, and would have been well worth the pick had he not succumbed to the injury bug after a solid 2007 season.

Need: (B-) 

The Colts really needed to address other areas of the defense as well, spending both early picks on cornerbacks seemed a little excessive.

Pre-Draft Rankings: (B+)

Hayden was regarded as a 4th round pick at the highest, and for the Colts to take him in the late second was seen as lunacy at the time. I had a hard time putting a grade on this one, do you punish the Colts for taking a player they probably could have gotten two rounds later, or reward them for going against the rulings of the experts and being absolutely right?

Context:

Average CarAV of next 10 picks: 21

Hayden’s CarAV: 21

There were several good players taken after Hayden, such as Vincent Jackson (61), Channing Crowder (70) and O.J. Atogwe (66). But the player that really would have helped the Colts would have been Frank Gore (65), who would have been a great replacement for Edge, who was on his last year with the Colts.

Overall: (B+)

Hayden was a great value for the 2005 draft, but again, injuries screwed everything up. Don’t forget, the 2007 secondary (with Hayden, Jackson, Sanders, and Bethea) was arguably the best in the league. While pundits bashed the Colts for the first two picks, they turned out to be very good picks, injuries aside.

#92 DE/DT Vincent Burns

Production: (D-)

Career AV Average: 0

Average #92 AV: 2.81

Median #92 AV: 3.5

Burns made the team for two years, but never saw the field, often hampered by injuries. 

Need: (A-)

Finally the Colts address the need for a defensive tackle by drafting Burns, who was labeled as a defensive end by most, but likely would have been a tweener for the Colts, had he bulked up. 

Pre-Draft Rankings: (F)

Burns was a massive reach, projected no higher than the sixth round, as generally in the 20s among defensive ends, he was taken in the third among the top ten DEs. 

Context:

Average CarAV for next 10 picks: 14.4

Burns’ CarAV: 0

Nothing special here, although the Colts could have gotten some decent secondary depth (although 3 DBs in a row probably would have been overkill). Nick Kaczur was the best player of the bunch, although it’s worth noting that running backs Marion Barber and Brandon Jacobs were selected at 109 and 110. 

Overall: (D)

A horrible pick for the Colts, Burns was a gamble that didn’t pay off in the slightest, and should have been left alone. 

#129 G/C Dylan Gandy

Production: (B)

Career AV Average: 2.4

Average #129 AV: 1.14

Median #129 AV: 0.67

The Colts got solid production out of Gandy, who was a decent reserve guard for the Colts, including starting 11 games during the 2006 season. For a late fourth round pick, there’s not much more you can ask for. 

Need: (A)

The Colts lone true offensive need was depth at guard (although one could argue for a replacement for James at RB), so this was a good direction to look. 

Pre-Draft Rankings: (C)

Gandy was seen as a 6th-7th rounder at best, but again, the Colts took him early, going late in the 5th. I can’t blame them too much though, as Gandy turned out to be a decent pick. 

Context

Average CarAV of next 10 picks: 11.5

Gandy’s CarAV: 11

Darren Sproles and Chris Canty are the big ones from this group, the rest being role players at best. 

Overall: (B)

Gandy was a good value pick at #129, although he may have been a bit of a reach. It’s picks like these that fans and talking heads overlook, but are actually vital for a team’s depth. 

#135 S Matt Giordano

Production

Career AV Average: 1.17

Average #135 AV: 1.42

Median #15 AV: 1.17

Giordano was a decent reserve safety and great special teams player. About average for the late first round. 

Need: (B-) 

Depth at secondary was needed, but the Colts had bigger holes. 

Pre-Draft Rankings: (C)

Giordano was projected to go anywhere from the 5th round to undrafted, but the Colts took him late in the 4th.

Context:

Average CarAV for next 10 picks: 3.8

Giordano’s CarAV: 6

Nothing notable in the next 10, but Trent Cole was taken at #136, and would have been a great asset. 

Overall: (C+)

The Colts got average production at a position of need. 

#148 DE Jonathan Welsh

Production: (D)

Career AV Average: 0

Average #148 AV: 0.88

Median #148 AV: 0

Welsh played in six games as a rookie, amassing two tackles. 

Need: (B)

The Colts’ needed to shore up linebacker and defensive tackle long before defensive end.

Pre-Draft Rankings: (B)

Welsh was ranked as early as the 3rd and as late as the 7th. He was projected to be a 3-4 OLB in the NFL, and never panned out as a 4-3 DE in Indianapolis’ scheme.

Context

Average CarAV for next 10 picks: 4.3

Welsh’s CarAV: 0

Gerald Sensabaugh is the only one worth taking in this scenario. 

Overall: (C)

Welsh had bad production, but the idea here was a good one. 

#165 Robert Hunt

Production: (D)

Career AV Average: 0

Average #165 AV: 1.29

Median #!65 AV: 1

Hunt didn’t play a down for the Colts, but did get into the Arena Football League. 

Need: (B-)

The Colts needed more help at linebacker and defensive tackle far worse than I . 

Pre-Draft Rankings: (D) 

Hunt was supposed to be an undrafted free agent, but the Colts took him in the fifth round. 

Context

Average CarAV over next 10 picks: 3.7

Hunt’s CarAV: 0

Nothing much this late in a weak draft. 

Overall: (D+)

Hunt was another risk that the Colts took, resulting in failure.

#173 LB Tyjuan Hagler

Production: (B)

Career AV Average: 2.4

Average #173 AV: 2.34

Median #173: 1.75

Hagler was a key reserve linebacker for the Colts, especially in years like 2010 where Hagler came in and helped shore up a crew of LBs devastated by injury. 

Need: (A)

Linebacker was one of the key areas of importance going into the draft, and for it not to be taken care of yet left it as a huge void for the Indianapolis defense. 

Pre-Draft Rankings: (C)

Hagler was seen as a 6th rounder to UDFA, so the late fifth here may be a slight risk, but that is smaall. 

Context

Average CarAV for next 10 picks: 8.3

Hagler’s CarAV: 10 

DB Chris Harris was the mig miss here, who would have surely helped in bolstering the Colts’ secondary. 

Overall: (B)

Hagler was an above average pick, but he wasn’t anything special. 

#202 K Dave Rayner

Production: (C-)

Career AV Average: -

Average #202 AV: 0.94

Median #202 AV: 0.83

Rayner attempted one field goal while with the Colts, then bounced around teams up even to this day. 

Need: (D+)

Mike Vanderjagt was still kicking for the Colts, and was still kicking well. 

Pre-Draft Ranking: (C-)

Rayner was projected to go as an UDFA. 

Context

Average CarAV of next 10 picks: 4.1

Rayner’s CarAV: 0

Remember, AV doesn’t calculate for kickers/punters, so it’s a bit slanted. Nevertheless, Rayner wasn’t worth much (but 6th round picks generally aren’t). 

Overall: (D+)

The Colts didn’t have a hole at place kicker, and Rayner ended up just bouncing around. It was a waste of a pick.  

#243 RB Anthony Davis

Production: (D)

Career AV Average: 0

Average #243 AV: 0.62

Median #243 AV : 0

Davis, like many other seventh round picks, just didn’t work out, never playing for the Colts. He did play in the Canadian football league for some time. 

Need: (B)

James was on his last year in Indianapolis, and the Colts needed some kind of back up plan.

Pre-Draft Rankings: (B+)

Davis was seen as an early sixth rounder, and the Colts were thought to get good value by drafting him in the seventh. 

Context

Average CarAV of next 10 picks: 4.5

Davis’ CarAV: 0

Nothing of great worth here for the Colts. 

Overall: (C+)

Yes, Davis didn’t work out, but the pick of him at the time made perfect sense. 

2005 Draft Overall

Sum of Colts’ Averages: 12.6

Sum of Average AVs: 19.08 (Median: 16.75)

Sum of Colts’ CarAVs: 61

Sum of Next 10 picks’ CarAVs: 102.7

Hit %: 3/10- 30%

This was one of Bill Polian’s worst drafts of his career in Indianapolis, if not the worst. Yes, 2005 was a very weak draft, which partially explains why historically, the Colts’ AV averages are so bad. But, it doesn’t explain why the Colts’ CarAVs were horrible in comparison to the next ten picks. The Colts made some mistakes, especially by whiffing on most of their late round picks, but they were also hurt by injuries.

The injuries to Hayden and Jackson derailed their promising careers, leaving them with big voids in the early rounds. The gaffe on “Sweet Pea” Burns hurt as well.

Overall, the Colts gambled on a number of players, most of which didn’t pay off. On the players that it did pay off (Jackson, Hayden), it eventually came back to bite them in the form of injuries. So, while the end numbers for the Colts’ draft are awful, I grade the Colts an average C for this draft. The injuries to Hayden and Jackson really stole the heart out of this draft, which should have been another Bill Polian coup.

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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