Editor's Note: Here at Coltsider, we realize that there are many differing opinions about our beloved team, and each opinion deserves to be shared. In order to do this, we have the "Opposing Viewpoints" series, in which two Coltsider writers examine an issue from two different sides. The second part of this pair can be viewed here.
In this long, dark season that we all have to grit our teeth through… one slightly fortunate aspect of it all is being able to judge our team objectively sans Manning, whose name of course is derived from an old Celtic term meaning “he who erases all mistakes”.
This season, while it will be nearly unbearable to sit through every Sunday, it's going to give us the best idea of what pieces to move forward with when Manning returns. Yes… that’s right… WHEN he returns, not IF.
The first player/players we’re going to be examining will be 2009 first round pick Donald Brown, and 2010 4th round pick Delone Carter. I put the draft selection up because the topic of Donald Brown’s draft position and subsequent lack of production has been under much scrutiny for the past two years. He has underperformed, and while he has what most people refer to as “homerun ability” he can’t be relied on to get the tough yards, and in my mind he is not consistent enough to be an every down back. When one looks at Donald Brown’s YPC for 2009 and 2010 were 3.6, and 3.9… acceptable for a RB drafted in the first round. Taking into account that the run blocking of our O line during this time was putrid and couldn’t open a hole against a defensive line full of nuns, Brown performed fairly well. However, the thing that throws a wrench in interpreting those stats as a reliable indicator of consistency is the rollercoaster ride of YPC that Brown seems to ride all the time. While it’s reasonable for a RB to have up days and down days, keep in mind that this was the guy who was supposed to replace Joseph Addai and wasn’t up to the task. The other huge detriment to the case of Donald Brown’s value is the fact that 4 picks after DB was selected the Arizona Cardinals selected Beanie Wells, who averaged 4.5 YPC in 2009, 3.4 in 2010, and 4.8 so far this year. While Beanie keeps a notoriously loose grip on the football while running, he does find the endzone scoring 15 rushing TDs compared to DB’s 6. Flash forward to 2011’s draft, a RB from Syracuse named Delone Carter gets a phone call and becomes a Colt. Carter came into a rough situation right off the bat. An inexperienced run blocking O line, no legitimate QB, and 2 1st round selections ahead of him on the depth chart. He proved himself in camp and in preseason however and got the call over Brown. His number haven’t been impressive thus far, but he’s still learning and getting used to the big guys that he has to work with. It’s obvious that he can hit the hole hard and gain those 1 or 2 yards that the team needs to get a 1st, the guy’s a bowling ball. What I’ve been most impressed with however is his elusiveness once he does slip through for a quick 8-10 yard gain. The speed at which he accelerates is pretty surprising for a player with his build. With the increased snaps he’s going to see this year, plus a good offseason of training and work with Joe Addai I think we may be looking at the future #1 back of the Colts.
If Delone can harness the mix of strength and speed that it seems he has and gain better vision through reps, I think the sky’s the limit for this guy. Through all the talk of potential though, the real bonus of Delone Carter is, put simply, his price.
The low fourth round selection used to take Carter was a much, much better buy than pick 27 being spent on a player who does stuff like this…