The Indianapolis Colts went from being the worst teams in 2011 to one of the most exciting in 2012, and that was all without team legend Peyton Manning. Behind Andrew Luck and coach Chuck Pagano’s inspiration battling leukemia, the Colts were able to win 11 games in 2012 and make the playoffs.
This is a team that definitely overachieved in 2012, so they are going to need to make some strides this offseason in order to crack the postseason once again in 2013.
Here are the top needs for the Colts this offseason in my opinion, in no particular order.
1. Right Tackle
Winston Justice played pretty well this past season, but he’s set to hit free agency in 2013 and I think the Colts would prefer if they had their own guy out there protecting Andrew Luck and opening up running lanes. If they felt Justice could be a long-term solution, they need to get him locked up right away.
2. Interior Offensive Line
The Colts need upgrades at both guard positions as well as center. Lucky for them, this is a pretty good draft for those positions in the later portion of the first round. Andrew Luck was sacked 45 times last season, and that cannot happen again.
3. Pass Rush
Dwight Freeney has likely played his last game as a member of the Colts. Freeney finished the season with 12 tackles and five sacks, and nobody on the roster was able to come up with double-digit sack totals. This is a huge area of weakness for the Colts.
4. Defensive Line
The Colts are a bit of a hodge-podge on the defensive line. They were able to add some talented players in the middle-later rounds of the last couple of drafts, but they haven’t been able to show their talent on the field. The Colts need to get some guys who fit the 3-4 scheme that can play now.
5. Running Back
Vick Ballard was a nice addition, but the Colts likely won’t bring back Donald Brown this offseason and could use some help at this position. They are not known for having 1,000 yard rushers, but I think in the middle rounds, they could come away with a guy in this year’s draft who can have a huge impact on their offense. Andrew Luck led the team with five rushing touchdowns. Yikes.
The Colts didn’t force a ton of turnovers in 2012, but the safety position was actually pretty bad for this team. Tom Zbikowski was a decent stop-gap, as was Joe Lefeged. This is an area the Colts need to look to upgrade.
7. Wide Receiver
Donnie Avery and Austin Collie are free agents. The Colts got great production out of Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton, but they need some more size on the outside in my opinion. This offense definitely has a lot of speed, so I think adding a guy with some size could be beneficial. Maybe there will be a free agent like Dwayne Bowe that this team takes a long look at, even though that hasn’t been their style.