First Round Decision Looming for Colts

If the Colts don't trade down, who are the top prospects for the team at No. 32? Ed Thompson shares his thoughts and observations...

If you've followed the Colts for years, you know as well as I do that you've got as good of a shot at winning the lottery as you do in predicting what Colts president Bill Polian will do with his first pick in any draft.

Without a second-round pick, the Colts could certainly consider moving down a bit if the right value player isn't available at No. 32 and if they can either move up substantially in the third round or perhaps even gain a middle or late second-round pick by packaging the many picks they have from the third round and below.

But let's assume they go ahead and see someone worthy at No. 32. Here are some players they should be willing to grab if they're still on the board.

Miami LB Jon Beason: As I mentioned in my recent NFL Draft Buzz column, Jon told me this week that he got to sit down and watch film with Tony Dungy. I've never heard of Dungy doing that before out of the players that I've talked to that have done pre-draft visits. But I can tell you by talking to Beason and meeting him in person at the Combine, this is a special player who is physically imposing yet intelligent, eloquent and respectful. He definitely fits and is a guy who describes himself as a "Cato June" style of player. The Colts would be fine with Freddie Keiaho in that spot, but I don't think you pass on a talent like Beason if he's available. That said, I think the Bengals and the Patriots are high enough on this guy that I don't think Indy even gets the option.

Hawaii DE Ikaika Alama-Francis:  He could be this year's Freddie Keiaho, a guy that Colts fans wonder in disbelief why the Colts grabbed him in the first round, but Alama-Francis will come off the board in the first third of the second round, so this will be Indy's only shot at him. Don't overlook the fact that he was one of the first pre-draft visitors for the Colts and he is a respectful, hard-working guy who has just exploded onto the scene even though he didn't start playing football (other than a year of Pop Warner) until his sophomore year in college.

Texas DE Tim Crowder (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Texas DE Tim Crowder:  I talked to Tim this week about his Indy pre-draft visit, and he told me that the Colts see him as a guy who could rotate in at LDE and slide inside to DT. Shades of Raheem Brock his rookie year, huh?  If the Colts make Crowder, a really good fit for their system, their top choice it could be the end of Robert Mathis playing every down at LDE in Indy.

Tennessee WR Robert Meacham:  The Titans could scoop this guy up, but if he falls, the Colts will be tempted to grab him because he's a perfect slot receiver.

LSU WR Dwayne Bowe: Consistently strong performer who is a great possession receiver that reminds me a bit of Reggie Wayne when he was at Miami. At 6-foot-2, 221 he's a physical guy who is not afraid to go inside, making him a good candidate for the slot.

Ohio State WR Anthony Gonzalez: Rumors have been swirling that this is the WR the Colts have had their eye on, but if Meacham or Bowe is available, they might change their mind quickly. He's drawn some direct comparisons in style to Brandon Stokley, a player with good body control and hands that snatch the ball out of the air. But most importantly, he's a guy who will hold onto the ball after taking a lick, and that's going to play well with Indy.

Arkansas CB Chris Houston: It would be a shock to see Houston drop to No. 32, but if he does, he's a huge value at that pick. His man-coverage skills are superb and would make Indy's pass rush even better.

Penn State LB Paul Posluszny:  I don't have any confirmation that he visited Indy or has drawn great interest, but he's a versatile, solid player who doesn't make mistakes and should have a long career in this league. I like Beason better for Indy's defense, but this is a guy worth a No. 32 pick if he's there. Don't be surprised if the Giants grab him though.

Florida DE Ray McDonald:  This player's a good fit for the Colts' defensive line with not just experience, but success in at the DE and DT positions. And he's got a great attitude and work ethic. If the Colts had a mid-second-round pick, that would be the ideal spot to grab him, but depending on the mix on the board, they might grab him early.


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