As we approach Thursday night’s NFL Draft, I’m like most of you when it comes to perusing what prognosticators are predicting for the Indianapolis Colts’ initial selection with the 29th pick in the first round.
For the record, the Colts have nine picks: 29th overall (first round), 61st (second round), 93rd (third round), 128th (fourth round), 165th (fifth round), 205th (sixth round), 207th (sixth round), 244th (seventh round), 256th (seventh round).
Thursday’s draft in Chicago begins at 8 p.m., Friday’s second- and third-round selections begin at 7 p.m., Saturday’s fourth- through seventh-round picks start at noon.
Scout’s Mock Draft Muncher has crunched 136 mock drafts and spit out Florida State center Cameron Erving as the consensus pick. After watching the Colts shuffle through three centers last year, I get why that’s a strong possibility.
Erving is versatile, can play center or offensive guard, and he plays nasty. That said, my first preference would be to take a defensive lineman or outside linebacker pass rusher.
The purpose of this story is to just throw out the names I’ve read when looking at mock drafts. It should be mentioned that one guy I’ve seen mentioned lately is Washington outside linebacker Shaq Thompson. He’s one of three who were invited to team head quarters for an in-depth interview.
My favorite pick is still the first one mentioned a couple of months ago, Oregon defensive end Arik Armstead, although in the time since seeing him at the NFL Scouting Combine in February and writing about the 6-8, 300-pound physical specimen, he’s climbed up most draft boards.
Odds are, he probably won’t be available at 29 for the Colts. Scout’s Mock Draft Muncher as well as five of six NFL.com mock drafts have him going 15th to the San Francisco 49ers. The other one had him going 18th to the Kansas City Chiefs.
When Scout did a mock draft with NFL publishers, I ended up going with Oklahoma defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. Florida State defensive tackle Eddie Goldman might also be a possibility if the Colts want to go that direction.
Some have suggested Alabama safety Landon Collins would be a can’t-miss pick as arguably the best player at his position. Colts general manager Ryan Grigson was asked about Collins during last week’s pre-draft presser and was effusive in his praise.
But Grigson also said the safety position has shifted in recent NFL years to more of a cover back, which suggests he might not be so inclined to address that position with a first-round pick. Mike Adams and Dwight Lowery are the safeties for the moment, but there’s clearly a lack of depth at the position.
It seems some are convinced the Colts will look at an offensive tackle in the first round. Perhaps that’s because offensive right tackle Gosder Cherilus had a down second season due to injuries. But the names thrown out there are Miami’s Ereck Flowers, Florida’s D.J. Humphries and Pittsburgh’s T.J. Clemmings.
Despite defensive needs, if the Colts are convinced they need to take an offensive tackle to shore up the line in front of quarterback Andrew Luck, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. He’s been sacked 100 times in three seasons and protecting him is still Grigson’s No. 1 priority.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.