Fan Column: Colts Closing the Gap on the Patriots

ColtPower Fan Columnist Allen Lively provides his view of draft day and the reasons he believes the Colts took a good step forward this offseason with their choices in the NFL Draft.

The Colts sure started off in a direction to turn the corner, drafting two corners within the first two rounds of the latest NFL draft. The overall harmony from Colts fans sang praises to Matt Roth. Teamed with Dwight Freeney, our defensive line would get even more pressure on the quarterback than the year before -- a category in which the Colts ranked as one of the better teams in the NFL.

As pick number twenty-nine drew closer, many of us were on message boards, in chat rooms, and peeking at the television.

Twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty eight….

Somewhere around selection twenty-seven and with the fan favorite Matt Roth still available, a Colts fan screamed his input, "Someone Will Die!" The fan was referring to how ferocious our pass rush would become with Matt Roth. Other Colts fans joined in, "Someone Will Die!" It became the theme and when pick number twenty-nine rolled around, we knew we had our man.

Or did we?

"With the twenty-ninth pick in the 2005 NFL Draft the Indianapolis Colts select, Marlin Jackson, cornerback, from the University of Michigan."

The immediate thought, myself included, was NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

It wasn't because Colts fans didn't like Marlin Jackson. It was because our man was still on the board, waiting for his number to be called. We were like Jets fans, who of course have booed every pick in their history. Matt Roth stayed on the board for seventeen more picks, until the Miami Dolphins selected him.

Leading up to the draft we heard very little from the Colts organization about who they wanted to draft or what positions they really saw a need at. The one big piece of information we did hear was from Tony Dungy. He said something to the extent that we probably would not be picking a cornerback on the first day. We fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. When pick number sixty rolled around, we drafted another corner, Kelvin Hayden.

Colts fans may relate to me as a guy who could be nominated for president of the COC (Colts Optimistic Club). I have done my share of painting the prettier skies and I like to steer away from the "Sky is falling" talks. I have supported Bill Polian and his staff when it seemed that many were against him. I would tell you to call me Mr. Brightside, but a young group has just taken that road to fame.

What did we all miss the boat on here? Well we missed on the basic principles of football. We wanted to beef up our pass rush and by drafting two very good corners, we did just that. In reality, our pass rush can not be completely effective unless the receivers are covered, down the field. Last year opposing quarterbacks did not have much time to throw the ball, however they learned to get rid of it quickly because they usually had a receiver open. And they also picked up on the success other teams had in using screens against us.

It's almost as if we drafted twelve players this year, with ten being in the first five rounds. Linebackers Gilbert Gardner and Kendyll Pope were selected in the third and fourth rounds in last year's draft. Both saw little action, due to injuries, and will be relatively new faces on the roster this year.

Vincent Burns was rated as the second best defensive end by the Colts defensive line coach, John Teerlink, and Tony Dungy says that Burns reminds him of a young John Randle. Dylan Gandy fills a need at guard and will likely take the role Tupe Peko once played. Matt Giordano is a very physical safety, who Tony Dungy says reminds him of John Lynch. Giordano's roster spot has already been made with the release of Anthony Floyd.

Jonathan Welsh is an interesting prospect at defensive end and could find a role as a backup. Robert Hunt is the very possible replacement to Jeff Saturday. Tyjaun Hagler is in the running for middle line backer and will get an opportunity to start the season there. If Dave Rayner can kick a touchback with the K-Ball then he is a definite to make the roster. And finally, our seventh round pick, Anthony Davis, could be an absolute steal.

All twelve players mentioned, have an outstanding chance to make the team. This could, in fact, be one of the better drafts that we have ever had in Indianapolis. And in an epoch in which one could say that New England has some serious questions going into the season, especially with the losses of their offensive and defensive coordinators, the Colts could definitely be closing the gap.

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