There are a lot of options and a lot of needs at this spot. Which direction will the Colts go in? Well, when Bill Polian picks in the first round, need should definitely be taken into heavy consideration.
The Colts certainly don't have a shortage of options at this point in the draft. They've met with basically every prospect with a first-round grade and a few that could sneak into the opening stanza.
Evander "Ziggy" Hood
AP Photo/Jerry Larson
B.J. Raji is the most dominant inside player in this draft, but he will be long gone by the time Indianapolis needs to bring a card up to the podium in Radio City Music Hall.
Peria Jerry has the kind of quick hands and feet, penetration ability, and pass rushing skills that the Colts covet at the position. He has a very similar skill set to Raheem Brock, but brings with him about an extra 25 pounds in bulk that will help to fortify what has traditionally been a soft middle of the defense.
Or, they could select Ron Brace at this point and put him in at nose, since they have no shortage of qualified players to slot in at under tackle. Brace has plenty of bulk and was a superb anchor on the inside opposite Raji at Boston College.
Mel Kiper's latest mock draft has the Colts selecting Brace in the first round, as did two iterations of Adam Caplan's Insider Mock Draft, but that seems too high of a pick for them to spend on a player that will contribute very little in the pass rush.
Ultimately, Evander Hood will be the best option for them if they go for a defensive tackle in the first round. He has the perfect blend of size, speed, quickness, agility, and pass-rushing ability to play either tackle in their Cover 2 scheme and will be able to step in and contribute from day one. That is what the Colts will be looking for in their first round selection.
Indianapolis officials did speak with Jeremy Maclin, but it appears as though he may now be a top-10 prospect that will go off the board shortly after Michael Crabtree is selected. As far as receivers with a first round grade goes, that leaves them with a decision between Hakeem Nicks and Percy Harvin.
Harvin is the more dynamic athlete and showcased his explosiveness as a running back, receiver, and kick returner at the University of Florida.
But recent reports regarding his character and attitude, including allegations that he tested positive for marijuana at the Combine, have left his status in limbo. He is a very risky prospect with extraordinary upside, but always the possibility that he will either be frequently suspended and/or not live up to his tremendous potential.
With the downfall of Matt Jones, many owners — especially those in the AFC South — are balking at the prospect of selecting someone with so many question marks so high in the draft.
Nicks is the safer pick, no doubt, and was very productive during his college career, but he may not be a perfect fit for the Indianapolis scheme and what they look for in a receiver, especially in the slot.
He has a first-round grade and has been mentioned in association with the Colts a number times, also showing up in the Scout.com Mock Draft Muncher as a possibility for the Colts and going to the Giants at 29th overall.
Vontae Davis could go as early as 14th overall to the Saints and has been mentioned as a possibility for Indianapolis, should he fall that far.
Alphonso Smith could definitely last to the 27th pick, given that many teams — not the Colts — see him as being undersized at 5-feet-9 and 193 pounds. However, he fits right into their scheme and could step in immediately.
It is looking more likely that Indianapolis will go in another direction in the first round, unless Davis is available. But, Smith is certainly someone that should be available and would fill a need at a critical position, especially with former first rounder Marlin Jackson eligible for free agency after the 2009 season.
The fact remains, though, that linebacker is a position of "want" or "nice to have" at this point, especially when compared against other positions of need — see the three positions listed before this one in this article — and taking either man at 27th overall, though it would be an excellent value pick, would be a luxury selection.
Still, Matthews is a top-15 player that may fall due to recent rumors about steroid use. The rumors have proved to be unsubstantiated, but general managers and scouts have a tendency to be risk averse when it comes to the draft, especially in the first round, and may not take Matthews under the assumption that where there's smoke, there's fire. If he is still there at 27, he would be awfully difficult to pass up.
The Colts have met with Alex Mack, who should definitely be selected in the first round, but they already have a very crowded depth chart of capable linemen on the interior.
At this point, all of the top-flight offensive tackles will be off the board and it would make no sense for Indianapolis to reach for one that they do not have a first round grade on.
Given that there will be too many other great players at positions of greater need available, taking a tackle, guard, or center at this point in the draft would go beyond a luxury pick.s
With the 27th Pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts Select:
Evander Hood. For the past month, I've been back and forth on this selection, and Hood makes the most sense, given who is likely to be available. It is very likely that some team is going to take a chance on a rare athlete like Harvin. And, even if he is available, Bill Polian and company still have a bad taste in their mouths from Ed Johnson, so they will avoid him.
Matthews and Laurinaitis should be gone, as should Davis and possibly Smith.
That leaves Nicks, Jerry, and Hood. Nicks is a fine player and will be productive in the NFL, but he is not an ideal fit for the Colts scheme. At 27th overall, they need an ideal fit, not a good player that could learn to adjust to the scheme. Jerry is a good fit, but not as ideal as Hood.
Although it seems foolish to take a defensive tackle that high, especially when the history of late round and undrafted players that have excelled at the position for the Colts is so rich, Hood makes the most sense.
Talk about this player in our Insider's Forum!
Follow ColtPower's updates on Twitter!