2005 draft revisited

Two starting corners and a starting weakside linebacker to go along with a third safety and the team's best reserve linebacker — not a bad haul. While the Colts' 2005 draft yielded more than a couple of duds and no bona fide stars, it went a long way toward replenishing a team that chronically needs more defensive talent.

Since so many people were intrigued by ColtPower's look at what happened to Indy's 2006 draft picks, we have decided to look at their 2005 picks. The way we see it, there are three starters, two (maybe three) solid contributors and the rest were whiffs.

1/29 Marlin Jackson

Where is he now: After two seasons as a part-time player and occasional starter at cornerback and safety, Jackson gets his shot as the Colts No. 1 corner.

What can we expect in 2007: Jackson has had enough reps in the NFL that the Colts don't really have to worry about opening-day jitters. While Jackson is a talented, physical corner with some excellent moves, he lacks deep speed and will not be able to hold up consistently against elite receivers without safety help. In all likelihood, he'll be a solid, but not spectacular, starter — and that's all the Colts expect.

Was he worth it?: While I've been critical of Jackson in the past, the Colts really need a No. 1 corner right about now and I don't see anyone else who can assume the position.

2/60 Kelvin Hayden

Where is he now: After two seasons as an extra defensive back and special teamer, the No. 2 cornerback job is his to lose.

What can we expect in 2007: Hayden is an excellent athlete who packs a bit of a mean streak and the strength to back it up. He has the hands and leaping ability of a receiver (which he was in college), but has some problems squaring off his breaks and in the transition from his backpedal. Much better in zone than man coverage, Hayden should hold up well as a starting corner, but may be burned by smarter, more disciplined receivers.

Was he worth it?: Clearly. Hayden has contributed from Day 1 and has steadily improved. He may have his ups and downs in his first year as a starter, but he appears to be ready and able to take on the challenge.

3/92 Vincent "Sweet Pea" Burns

Where is he now: Out of football

What can we expect in 2007: Not much. A team may call him up if they suffer a lot of injuries on the line, but with his injury history, I doubt it.

Was he worth it?: No. I consider Burns something of an ego pick. The Colts felt like they could take any undersized and active D-lineman and make him a contributor. Burns proved them wrong. At this pick they could have gotten quality players like linebacker Leroy Hill, corner Dominique Foxworth or safety Sean Considine.

4/129 Dylan Gandy

Where is he now: In his two seasons in Indy, Gandy has started 13 games as an injury replacement at guard. He's been pretty good, but no real threat to usurp the starters.

What can we expect in 2007: The No. 3 guard/backup center job has been Gandy's for a while, but he faces unprecedented competition from second-round pick Tony Ugoh and former starter Rick DeMulling, who signed as a free agent. Barring injury, Ugoh gets a free ride this season, so Gandy will be battling DeMulling for the fourth spot, if there even is one. While it works in Gandy's favor that he can play center, it should also be noted that DeMulling's a pretty good center, too.

Was he worth it?: This one is iffy. Gandy could have a long and productive career as a reserve interior lineman who starts occasionally. But, chances are, it won't happen in Indy.

4/135 Matt Giordano

Where is he now: Giordano's athletic ability and fiery demeanor have earned him work as an extra defensive back and a special teams regular. As the 2006 season progressed, he was seen more frequently on defense and his coverage ability — once doubted, if not overtly maligned — looked more and more impressive.

What can we expect in 2007: The Colts have two awesome starting safeties in Bob Sanders and Antoine Bethea, and Giordano fits in well as a third option. But the fact is Sanders is injury-prone (starting just 24 of 48 possible regular-season games, many of which saw him nicked up), so Giordano must be expected to take his place. While Giordano is no Sanders, he's shown he can hold his own at least for short periods and perhaps longer.

Was he worth it?: Yes. Observers were shocked the Colts drafted Giordano as high as they did, but he has outperformed many players drafted ahead of him, and his arrow is still pointed up.

5/148 Jonathan Welsh

Where is he now: Out of football

What can we expect in 2007: The kid has pass-rushing instincts and ability, but if you're a 235-pound end and can't make it in Indy, you won't get many calls from other NFL teams.

Was he worth it?: Not at all. They called him a defensive end, but he looked like a wide receiver to me. In two years with the Colts, he played in six games and the rest of his stats sheet shows goose eggs across the board. Normally, I wouldn't be so quick to criticize, but the Colts traded up to pick him.

5/165 Robert Hunt C

Where is he now: One of a number of prospects hoping to backup Chiefs starting center Casey Weigmann — himself a former Colt.

What can we expect in 2007: Hunt's a talented lineman, but he really hasn't shown he has the mental and emotional necessities to play in the NFL. Once the Colts cut him last year, Denver snapped him up and when they cut him, the Chiefs grabbed him. If he doesn't make the Kansas City roster this year, I wouldn't be surprised if some other team calls him, hoping to be the one to turn the light on in his head.

Was he worth it?: It's hard to say he was worth it when he didn't play a single game in Indy, but I look at Hunt as a gamble that could well have worked if he stuck and was coached into NFL-readiness. But there's no longer time for those sorts of things in the NFL, and one does not do on-the-job-training while protecting Peyton Manning.

5/173 Tyjuan Hagler

Where is he now: Two years after he was drafted, Hagler finds himself in basically the same place — looking to compete for a backup linebacker position while playing effectively on special teams and staying healthy.

What can we expect in 2007: If he stays healthy, Hagler is actually in a nice position. Free agency losses and failed draft picks have left the Colts thin at linebacker. While Gary Brackett is entrenched in the middle, neither Rob Morris nor Freddy Keiaho, the projected starters outside, are sure things. To make the roster, Hagler is competing primarily with Rocky Boiman, Keith O'Neil and draft pick Clint Session. One key injury or a bout of ineffectiveness by Morris or Keiaho could lead to a starting position for Hagler. He's exactly what they like in a linebacker — quick, hyperactive and smart — and could still surprise.

Was he worth it?: Sure. By the fifth round, you're looking for spare parts, role players and long-shots, and Hagler is still all three.

6/202 Dave Rayner

Where is he now: After a so-so year as Green Bay's primary kicker, Rayner finds himself fighting with sixth-round draft pick Mason Crosby for the Packers' job. Rayner has the bigger leg, but Crosby could unseat him by showing more consistency on field goals.

What can we expect in 2007: Even if he doesn't beat out Crosby, Rayner could well stay in the NFL as a kickoff specialist, now that he's gotten more consistent in that department.

Was he worth it?: At the time, it was hard to argue against this pick. The Colts' kicker was Mike Vanderjagt, who kicked off about as well as Tarik Glenn avoids buffets. The team had had success with kickoff specialists before, and Rayner punished the ball in college. The fact that he didn't do it in the pros (at least right away) came as a huge surprise.

7/243 Anthony Davis

Where is he now: Second-string halfback for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL.

What can we expect in 2007: Well, now that hometown hero Jesse Lumsden has realized the NFL won't come calling, the Ti-Cats' starting halfback job is filled. Davis will probably hang around as his caddie or try to latch onto some other CFL team.

Was he worth it?: No. While Davis put up some big numbers at Wisconsin, so have plenty of other backs who have fizzled in the NFL. Dude just didn't have it.


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