April is here, which means the NFL Draft is just around the corner. The needs of teams are starting to become clearer as the free agency pandemonium slows down, but there is still a variety of positional needs highlighted in mock drafts released over the last few days.
(Editor's note: Each players' name carries a link to a playlist of videos of the player in college selected by the author.)
(Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports)
In this mock, the Colts selected Datone Jones out of UCLA. Jones has the versatility that Chuck Pagano may desire in his hybrid defense, as Jones can play defensive end or tackle in a 4-3 look, defensive end in a 3-4 and he maybe even possesses the athleticism to stand up to rush the passer. Jones has been steadily rising throughout the process, and showed up in a big way at the Senior Bowl with power, hand placement and explosive ability off the snap. His most likely position for the Colts would be defensive end, where Indy added Ricky Jean-Francois and re-signed Fili Moala. The position isn't a huge need anymore, but Cory Redding is getting old and struggled with some injuries in 2012. A long-term option may be appealing to the team.
(Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports)
Werner is slipping in mock drafts right now, but I'm not sure he's a brilliant scheme fit for us. Some people think he has the athleticism to be a 3-4 outside linebacker, but his best position is certainly as a 4-3 defensive end. Having just let Dwight Freeney – a player who struggled to transition 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker – leave, it'd be a strange fit, but Werner would was the best player on the board in this mock, though Jarvis Jones isn't far behind. Werner is strong, shows good anticipation and decent bend to be a prolific pass rusher, but doesn't always exhibit "elite" pass rushing traits.
(Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports)
I wrote recently about the the Colts taking a receiver in the first round, and Hopkins was one of the main names that I wanted. The Clemson wideout has been a favourite of mine for months, and with Donnie Avery now playing for the Kansas City Chiefs, the Colts have a gaping hole at the position. T.Y. Hilton may be seen as more of a slot receiver, which means an outside receiver is a need. Hopkins has great hands and is a sound route runner, who can not only line up across from Reggie Wayne but possibly replace him when #87 inevitably retires.
(David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)
Another mock, another position. Having seen defensive line, linebacker and wide receiver mocked, we now get to another favourite of mockers; cornerback. Even after adding Greg Toler and resigning Darius Butler, the Colts can still stand to upgrade their pass defense. Wreh-Wilson is a tall, rangy cornerback who I have a mid-2nd round prospect, but he's effective in run support and shows good coverage skills, even if his press-man coverage isn't his speciality. Fortunately, there'd be no pressure on him to start immediately after the contract handed to Toler in free agency.
From four mocks reviewed, the Colts are shown to go in four different directions. Like I said – the picture is getting clearer, right?