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Looking into the Future: Long Term Drafting Needs

While polling Twitter about some ideal Colts draft picks this year, I was given some insight by Colts fan Kyle Rapoza: 

 

 

So often we think of team needs and draft priorities in terms of the glaring holes for the coming year, but a good GM knows that the draft is how you build for the future. With the Colts' activity in free agency, there no longer are glaring holes in the starting lineup (although I'm still not satisfied with the starters at RG, C, and OLB), but rather a lack of top-end, elite talent across the board. 

There are several positions that could use an upgrade in talent right away, such as defensive line, guard, or outside linebacker, there are several positions that will be begging for talent after this season, and it's important that they don't get overlooked simply because they'll be taken care of for 2012. So, lets take a look at the positions which will be losing the most in 2014. 

Inside Linebacker

2014 Free Agents: Pat Angerer, Kavell Conner, Scott Lutrus

We may as well start with the position that sparked my thought process. With Angerer and Conner as free agents next year, and neither one being top talent, the Colts very well could go into the 2014 offseason with just Jerrell Freeman (right) and Mario Harvey on the roster. If someone like Arthur Brown falls to the #24, and they feel like he is a long-term star at the position, we very well could see a surprise pick. 

Safety

2014 Free Agents: Antoine Bethea, Joe Lefeged

The Colts have LaRon Landry as a long term starter, but they'll need another starter with two of their top three safeties free agents. Bethea has been a quality starter since he was drafted in 2006, but the new regime doesn't have any loyalties to Bethea, and he turns 30 next summer. The Colts very well could let him try his luck in free agency, and they'll need a dynamic replacement to hold the secondary together (I don't trust Landry at all). It was for this reason that my ideal draft pick is Jonathan Cyprien, the game-changing safety from Florida International.

Cornerback

2014 Free Agents: Vontae Davis, Sergio Brown, Josh Gordy, Cassius Vaughn

Greg Toler and Darius Butler are signed on for multiple years, but outside of that the Colts' cornerback group is a short term fix. Davis could get resigned or extended before that happens, but it's not a guarantee. Either way, the Colts could use a lock down corner to put in their top four, which is why Xavier Rhodes and Desmond Trufant have been mentioned as possible targets for the Colts' first rounder. 

Guard

2014 Free Agents: Joe Reitz, Mike McGlynn, Jeff Linkenbach

The Colts know that their long term answer at guard isn't on the roster. Donald Thomas makes a nice addition to start at one spot (likely left guard in 2012), but the other spot is wide open after 2013 (and lacking talent in 2012). There are plenty of options in the middle rounds for guards, such as fan favorite Barrett Jones, who could also play center. 

Defensive Line

2014 Free Agents: Aubrayo Franklin, Lawrence Guy, Kellen Heard, Ricardo Mathews, Brandon McKinney, Fili Moala, Lawrence Sidbury, Martin Tevaseu

With most of their defensive linemen on short, low-risk deals, the Colts desperately need some long term answers there, even when it just comes to depth and rotational guys. The only linemen currently on the roster for 2014 are Cory Redding (who will turn 34), Drake Nevis, Ricky Jean-Francois, and Josh Chapman (who has yet to play an NFL snap. Datone Jones is the popular choice right now in the first, but there should be plenty of depth to be found later in the draft as well. 

Honorable Mentions:

Wide receiver- Darrius Heyward-Bey is the only loss at wide receiver in 2012, but Reggie Wayne isn't getting any younger, and a future #1 wide receiver is still a big need. 

Kicker- Adam Vinatieri is a free agent after this year, and the Colts will be looking to replace the famed kicker. Pat McAfee would petition the front office to let him both punt and kick field goals, but there's no knowing whether Grigson would approve that. 

Update: this got deleted somehow in the original publishing, but is important to note.- KJR

Running Back- Donald Brown's contract expires after 2013, and the Colts very well could begin looking for a feature back that fits Pep Hamilton's offense better than Ballard/Brown. It's not a good idea to draft one high, but a mid-late round flier on a running back is not out of the question.

 

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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