Wilson's Word: 'D' is still a pressing need

Taking wide receiver Phillip Dorsett in the first round places more emphasis on next two draft days addressing the defense.

As soon as wide receiver Phillip Dorsett had his name called Thursday at the NFL draft, Indianapolis Colts fans were abuzz on social media.

So, too, were reporters in the Colts complex’s media center.

A wide receiver? What about the defense? Did the Colts forget about what happened in the AFC Championship Game 45-7 blitzkrieg last January?

Yeah, I expected a defensive pick, too, with the 29th overall selection. I was surprised.

Before formulating a late-night opinion to put into perspective this selection, we chatted with an elated Dorsett on a conference call and then met with general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano for an interview.

The kid is fast, even faster than Colts Pro Bowl wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, which is saying something. And he’s tough, will venture over the middle without fear and sounds like an ideal slot receiver to complement Hilton and Andre Johnson.

Still, isn’t it fair to suggest this team needs a defensive boost more than another target for quarterback Andrew Luck?

That’s what fans and reporters were thinking as the clock struck midnight, about an hour after Dorsett’s selection.

A reporter joked that one fan was tweeting about assembling the frustrated masses with torches and pitchforks outside the complex. Good thing the Colts put up a fence around the place a few years ago.

Fortunately for those of us burning the late-night oil, we drove home without feeling like we were fleeing from the Alamo.

Here’s the thing about this pick. While it’s not what most of us expected, the Colts did make sure there will be no shortage of offensive options in Luck’s offense next season. If Johnson has lost a step, as has been suggested, there’s still fresh blood ready to get open. If Donte Moncrief doesn’t take the next step in his second season, Dorsett is there to make plays.

If the Colts can’t re-sign both of their tight ends, Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener, after next season, there’s still plenty of firepower in the passing game.

But beyond that, let’s be real about the bottom line. The previous two paragraphs are positive spin, basically based on what we’ve been told.

The Colts’ defense still has to get better. Grigson and Pagano are confident there are enough solid players remaining in the draft’s next two days to achieve that objective.

So it’s on them to make that happen. We shall see if that’s true. The Colts still have eight picks.

If Dorsett proves to be a keeper and the Colts add the right pieces to bolster the defense, and this team takes that next step, finally overcoming New England and reaching the Super Bowl, then any of us who had doubts about one draft pick won’t have anything to say.

But if the record skips again, and we’re seeing the same postseason meltdown repeating itself again, then Grigson and Pagano will have to answer to owner Jim Irsay for what’s going on.

The Colts have won 11 games in three consecutive seasons, nothing to sneeze at. They shouldn’t have any problem winning that many games again, although it will take more wins than that to earn home-field advantage through the AFC playoffs.

The next two draft days just became that much more interesting. And, if it’s possible, that much more important.

Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.


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