Welcome to "What to Expect 2013". For the next week or so, I'll be looking at the positions the Colts drafted relative to their historic counterparts.
The goal of this series is to set reasonable expectations for the new draft picks based how similarly drafted players in the past decade performed.
This allows us to create fair baselines by which to judge players. The purpose of this series is not to predict performance.
The Colts drafted a pair of interior linemen in the 3rd and 4th rounds. We'll examine them together.
Hugh Thornton and Khaled Holmes both have experience playing guard. Holmes also can play center. So with history as a guide, what can Colts fans reasonably expect from these players in 2013?
Since 2000, there have been 65 guards and centers taken in the third and fourth rounds of the NFL draft.
About half of those played in at least 10 games their rookie season, but only 17 started at least half the games. Only five were 16 game starters. Only three of those players ever went on to have a Pro Bowl season.
Looking down the road, 16 players managed at least four seasons of starting eight games or more. 44 managed to start at least 8 games once in their career.
In rough terms, players selected in this range have 97% chance of making the year one roster. They have a 53% chance of becoming a regular starter at least once in their career. They have a 25% chance of becoming a part time starter for at least 4 seasons. They have roughly a 5% chance of making the Pro Bowl at some point.
Recent Colts drafted in this range include Steve McKinney (8-year NFL starter), Steve Justice, long-time Colt Randy Dixon who stared for eight seasons from 1987-1995, Steve Sciullo, Dylan Gandy, and Jaques McClendon.
Hughes and Holmes could definitely wind up starting in 2013, but that's not a probable outcome. The odds that either man wins his position out of camp and starts are less than 10%. Fans should not be disappointed if these selections simply provide depth come September.
There is some hope that they'll contribute, however. They'll see the field plenty, and will likely even win some starts.
A fair baseline for these picks is 14 games played and seven starts. Those numbers would place them in the upper third of guards and centers drafted in this range.
Given the fact that they are actually competing against each other as well, it would be impressive if they both hit that target.
Long range, the best-case scenario for these guys is to find a four-year starter. That would be a terrific outcome that would more than validate their selection.