Inside the ColtPower War Room: Round 3

As Day Two of the NFL Draft begins, many teams will be scrambling to get to the top of the third round to grab someone that slipped through the cracks in the first day.  Who could the Colts target and would they need to move up?

After hypothetically drafting an offensive lineman in the second round, the Colts are not looking at that position at this point.

And, regardless of whether or not they drafted one in the second round, the talent in the offensive line in this draft is such that there isn't a whole lot separating a third-round prospect from one that would be selected in the fifth or sixth round, so it behooves Indianapolis to wait until late in the second day if they decide to go with another position in Round 2.

Defensive end is a similar position to the offensive line in that there are a number of talented guys with fourth- and fifth-round grades — and beyond — so it would make sense to take an end in Round 2 or wait until four or five, or even later, to pull the trigger.

At this point, the Colts should be looking at wide receivers — particularly ones with return experience — defensive tackles, and tight ends.


Louisville's Harry Douglas
AP Photo/Garry Jones

Wide Receiver:

Most of the top-drawer prospects — Mario Manningham, Jordy Nelson, Andre Caldwell — will be long gone at this point, but that doesn't mean that the cupboards will be completely bare at this point in the draft.

Two prospects that the Colts are very familiar with, Eddie Royal and Harry Douglas, may still be hanging around at this point, or they could be worth trading up for. 

As far as trading up is concerned, the third round is a good candidate for Indianapolis, provided they only need to sacrifice a sixth- or seventh-round selection to move up, since they have three compensatory sixth-round selections and can spare their sixth rounder, and their seventh rounder would be a long shot to make the roster given the talent that is already there.

This means that they will not be able to move up very far in the third round, though, so they need to target someone that is not rated towards the top of the stanza.

That may exclude Royal, who many project to be one of the first players to come off the board in the second day, based more on his return skills than his receiving ability.

Royal is a talented receiver, no doubt, but he is a deadly return man and, with the emergence of Devin Hester, teams are taking a closer look at specialists in the draft.

Douglas fits the mold for the Colts in terms of height at nearly 6 feet and weight slightly lighter than Marvin Harrison at 176 pounds.

He was extremely productive the last two seasons at Louisville and also has experience in the return game, with six punt returns and 19 kickoff returns to his credit.

He's obviously nowhere near as dangerous as Royal in the kicking game, but certainly reminds a lot of people of Harrison as a receiver.  While scouts doubt his ability to hold up over the course of a 16 game season, given his slight frame, Harrison can certainly teach him the fine art of survival in a contact sport before he retires, and strength and conditioning at the NFL level will make sure that he's closer to 185 by the time the season starts.

Defensive Tackle:

Essentially, this discussion begins and ends with Arkansas tackle Marcus Harrison.

He is a tremendously talented individual and may even have first-round ability, but injury concerns and character issues may lead to him being drafted as late as the fifth round.  The Scout.com Big Board has him rated as the 47th overall prospect and 4th at his position, but the Colts need to ask themselves whether or not his exceptional upside is worth the risks that his knees and disciplinary background carry.

He may be gone by the time Indianapolis picks in the second round, but if he's still there in the third, Bill Polian will have a serious decision to make.

Tight End:

In the third round, the two tight ends that the Colts have shown interest in that may be available are Tennessee's Brad Cottam and Missouri's Martin Rucker.


Missouri's Martin Rucker
AP Photo/L.G. Patterson

Rucker was a finalist for the John Mackey award, which goes to the nation's best tight end.  He ended up outperforming highly-touted teammate Chase Coffman and leading the Tigers in receptions in 2007 and performed well in the week of practices leading up to the Senior Bowl as well as in the game itself.

He is a threat in the red area and is very accomplished at finding the soft spot in the zone, but does not have a great deal of speed to stretch the field vertically.

He has very reliable hands, but does not tend to make the spectacular catch.  Basically, he's a safe pick with limited upside.

Cottam, on the other hand, has tremendous upside, but had difficulty staying healthy in college.  He is nearly 6 feet, 8 inches, weighs 270 pounds, and, running a 4.63 40, has the speed to stretch the seam and challenge defenses over the middle as well as the size to win virtually any one-on-one match-up.

He wowed scouts in the offseason, starting at the Senior Bowl and going straight through his Pro Day.

While it's easy to fall in love with his measurables, the key stat to remember is this: 21.

That's the number of receptions Cottam had in five seasons for the Volunteers.  Either he couldn't stay healthy or he couldn't break the starting lineup.

The point is that averaging a little over four receptions per season is not impressive in the least.  Rucker had four times as many receptions in 2007 alone as Cottam had for his entire collegiate career.

Cottam's stock is on the rise, though, and Rucker's is on the decline.

At this point, the Colts have another decision to make: Upside and a high ceiling versus a known quantity and low ceiling.

With the 93rd Selection in the 2008 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts Select:

Wide receiver Harry Douglas, Louisville.  Douglas has second-round talent, first-round production, and a good deal of athletic potential, should Marvin Harrison show him how to slide into a reception for a first down properly.

The Colts need to start thinking about life after Harrison and, with his size, speed, and ability, Douglas is about as close as Indianapolis is going to get.

Of course, they could face a tough decision if Marcus Harrison is still available and/or John Greco is still on the board if they passed on him in the second round to make a different selection.

A darkhorse candidate here as well is LB Philip Wheeler of Georgia Tech, should the Colts decide to go in that direction.

Whatever Bill Polian decides to do, ColtPower stands behind the selection of the speedy wideout from Louisville.  At least until he proves us wrong Sunday.


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