Positions of Need: Draft Notes

As the Colts prepare for the draft, running back, offensive linemen, linebackers and quarterbacks are certainly positions they should be looking to address. Rob Curtis provides his thoughts on some of the players in this year's draft at those positions of need.

Minnesota RB Laurence Maroney was the best RB in the Big 10 last year and the second most explosive RB in the country behind Reggie Bush. He is a RB with tremendous instincts who can cut on a dime. Give him space and he will take it the distance. He knows how to use angles to run away from defenders and you need to form tackle him. He gives you a hip and then takes it away. He does not have great size and is more of a Clinton Portis make-you-miss type of back than a physically imposing RB. His blocking will also be an issue, but put him in the right system and you could have a very dangerous NFL player. He ran for 1464 yards and 10 TD's for a mediocre Golden Gopher team.

LB Keith Ellison started his career as a DB at SDSU before transferring to a JUCO and ending up at Oregon State. He is an interesting, productive 4-3 OLB who finished with 99 tackles, 15 TFL, five sacks and one interception in his senior year. He is a quick, agile player with good range. He matches up in coverage with most backs and is an asset in zone coverage. While he is a little undersized at 6'1" 235 pounds, he is a very physical tackler and does a good job of wading through traffic. Maryland LB D'Qwell Jackson has been a great college player, but people focus on the fact that he was undersized and does not have elite speed. When offensive guards get to him, Jackson gets blown out of the hole creating potentially big plays. That said, there is a reason why he held his own with some very talented teammates. Jackson has good athleticism and fabulous instincts. He takes great angles to the ball and knows how to use big DT's and traffic to shield him. He knows how to prevent OG's from getting to him and a FB is often rendered useless because he knows how to skirt them. He can be a Donnie Edwards type WILB in this system.

When I watch Tennessee OLB Parys Haralson play, he plays much faster than his 4.84 forty. I was very surprised by a poor Combine performance. He is a rush LB prospect with good quickness, agility, and a pretty explosive first step. He also has good change of direction and shows very good instincts along with a very good motor. With 8.5 sacks, 16.5 TFL, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries; Haralson was highly productive on a Tennessee defense that lacked talent outside of him in the front seven. This is a guy who might drop because of his size/speed combination and I worry about his ability to disengage from blockers.

California OT Ryan O'Callaghan is an underrated RT prospect who is a lot like another Philadelphia OT, Jon Runyan coming out of Michigan. He is the definition of a mauler in the run game. Once he locks on, the battle is generally over. As a pass protector, he is not the most mobile of players, but uses his long arms and a quick set to keep rushers from getting past him. He has had some health issues. He's broken his hand, had surgery on both shoulders, and has had some concussions. If he checks out, he is a first day pick. If not, he could be a guy that falls.

Southern Cal OG Deuce Lutui is a popular OG these days. Many want to compare him to Toniu Fonoti, but I do not believe he is nearly as talented. He is a gifted one on one run blocker. He gets a lot of movement in the run and he is a decent position blocker who uses his strength against the pass if he is disciplined enough to set up properly. The problem is that he does not get to the second level or pull as well as Fonoti who is a more nimble player in space. He really needs a lot of work, but he has the tools to be a good OG in this league especially for a team that does a lot of in line run blocking against 4-3 defenses. I would not select him in the first two rounds, but he is my number four OG. He is well behind Max Jean Gilles and Davin Joseph, but in the same category as Charles Spencer.

Some team is going to look at Clemson QB Charlie Whitehurst and take a chance on him with the first day. After all, he looks the part at a hair shorter than 6'5" 223 pounds with good athleticism and a strong arm. He shows all the tools you want in an NFL QB and when he is on; he is every bit as good as the top guys in this draft. He does a lot of the small things you look for in a QB as well. However, he is way too inconsistent for a franchise to bank on. He played in a system that is designed on space and makes too many questionable decisions when pressured. A GM is going to have to take some time to develop him out of the bad habits. In many ways, he will remind you of former NY Jet QB Browning Nagle. That is not a complement other than to say he has the tools to be an NFL QB.

Rob Curtis writes for SDBoltReport, our Chargers affiliate on the Scout.com network.


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