Colts Blog: March 20, 2007

With Stokley gone, the Colts will be looking for a slot receiver, or — if they keep Dallas Clark there — another tight end

Logically, I knew Brandon Stokley wasn't coming back to the Colts, but it still hurts to see him sign elsewhere. While he may not have had killer stats over the last two seasons, Stokley is one of the NFL's most dangerous receivers when healthy. Even at half speed, he can humiliate most defensive backs.

While his presence will surely help the Broncos, especially Jay Cutler's learning curve; his absence will continue to hurt the Colts. A lack of a proven third receiver not only puts undue pressure on starters Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, but also on the tight end position. Without a reliable slot receiver last year, the Colts played starting tight end Dallas Clark there. That left tight end to fragile Ben Utecht and semi-talented Bryan Fletcher.

Expect the Colts to address this glaring need by using a first-day draft pick on either an NFL-ready slot receiver or a receiving tight end.

• While the Colts have decided that it's not a great idea for Montae Reagor to play football anymore, at least one NFL team and the player himself disagree. Reagor was an excellent player, perfectly suited to the Colts' defense, and a vocal leader — if he had anything left, there's no way they would have cut him.

The facial injuries he suffered during an auto accident last year almost certainly played a part in their decision. Although I'm sure he still has his speed and quickness, I'd be very surprised if passes the Eagles' physical.

• While Colts fans have grown used to waiting through this part of the offseason, scanning the transactions agate to see which free agents they've lost, today they brought one back. Okay, while Bo Schobel isn't exactly the second coming of, well, Aaron Schobel, he's a decent enough fill-in end who can play effectively on special teams both as a blocker and a coverage guy. Depending on what the draft yields, Schobel's chances of making the team look to be about 50-50.

• The Steelers are said to be bringing in Rocky Boiman for a look-see. I don't think the Colts are all that worried.

• Remember David Koral? He was a quarterback prospect from UCLA who never started in college, but had good feet, a strong arm and quick wits. Well, now he's a Titan. They signed him today.

• Mike Chappell of the Indy Star is reporting a) that DeDe Dorsey will probably see more time in 2007 and b) that Freddie Keiaho may start next season. Well, duh. Way to go out on a limb, buddy.

• I took a close look at the way the NFL awards compensatory draft picks and have come up with a projection for the Colts.

Edgerrin James signed a deal averaging $7.5 million per year with the Cardinals and started 16 games for them. That was was the third-richest contract — after Drew Brees at $10.0 million and Julian Peterson at $7.7 million — and a far cry from the fourth best — Charles Woodson at $5.6 million. Because of this, I think the Colts will get the highest award, a third rounder.

David Thornton, with a deal valued at $4.45 million per year and 16 starts for the Titans, is squarely in the third echelon of free agents and should net the Colts a fifth rounder.

Larry Tripplett found a sucker in the Bills, who paid him an average of $3.61 million and gave him 16 starts. He should yield a sixth-round pick.

Mike Vanderjagt signed a fairly lucrative contract with the Cowboys ($1.83 million), but was cut after game 10. While there's an outside chance he could be worth a seventh rounder, I don't see the NFL rewarding any team for a guy — an idiot kicker yet! — who was on the scrap heap shortly after midseason.

If I'm right, and we'll find out next week, the Colts will have the following picks: One first, two thirds, a fourth, two fifths, a sixth and a seventh. The wild card is how the league will view the Colts' signing of Adam Vinatieri. He was a big contributor (though he missed three games with injury) and had a deal valued at $2.4 million. His signing could cancel out the pick gained from the Tripplett signing or drag it down to a seventh.


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