The Colts shocked pretty much everybody by making the playoffs last year, and were one of the coolest stories to follow in the 2012 NFL season. What will they do for an encore? I think they did a really solid job with their 2013 draft class, and here’s my reaction and analysis.
1. First round, 24th overall: Bjoern Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State
I had Werner ranked in my top 10 for pretty much the entire season, and I didn’t change that due to the fact that he had a poor 40 yard dash. Werner had elite production last season, and to be honest, I didn’t understand his fall down draft boards. Many seemed to see it coming leading up to the draft, but I have to imagine there’s something more to it than his 40 yard dash time. This is a guy who has a ton of raw ability as a pass rusher, and I think in the Colts’ defense, he can potentially step in and start from day one, giving them an edge rusher who has the potential to be a top tier edge player in the NFL. This guy is relentless in pursuit, gives good effort, and I think provides the Colts with exactly what they need defensively, which is a top tier pass rush prospect.
2. Third round, 86th overall: Hugh Thornton, OG, Illinois
The Colts may have reached a bit for Thornton, but offensive line coach Joe Gilbert is familiar with him from his days at Illinois, and this is a player who gives them some versatility up front. One of the main priorities of this offseason for Indy has been investing in the protection of Andrew Luck, and adding Thornton with their second pick is just adding to that. I think this is a great athlete who is big, strong, quick, and can play a variety of positions on the offensive line. It’s not a flashy pick by any means, but a solid one for the Colts. Thornton played offensive tackle last year for Illinois, but will likely start his NFL career as a guard.
3. Fourth round, 121st overall: Khaled Holmes, C, USC
Going into the season, I thought Holmes could have been a second round pick if he had a good senior season. There were some out there who questioned his effort and passion for the game, but I still think he’s a potential starting center in the NFL. He has not only played center, but he also started at right guard for the Trojans as a freshman in 2010, and I think he can really help add depth to the Colts’ offensive line, eventually developing into their starting center.
4. Fifth round, 139th overall: Montori Hughes, DL, Tennessee-Martin
Hughes was dismissed from the Tennessee Volunteers football program, and eventually wound up at Tennessee-Martin. Some scouts feel like he offers similar ability to that of Haloti Ngata, and the Colts obviously have some big hopes for this kid since they traded a fourth round pick in the 2014 Draft in order to be able to select him. He is a big, fast defensive lineman who offers scheme versatility, and can play end or nose in the Colts’ 3-4 defensive look.
5. Sixth round, 192nd overall: John Boyett, S, Oregon
Boyett has been injured since September, and hasn’t played a down of football since tearing the patellar tendons in both of his knees. When healthy, this guy is a third or fourth round prospect, maybe even better than that. The Colts need some guys to come and add depth to their safety rotation, and after signing LaRon Landry this offseason, I think this is a good addition and a guy they can bring along slowly. He played through injury in his junior season, and had over 100 tackles that year.
6. Seventh round, 230th overall: Kerwynn Williams, RB, Utah State
Speedy tailback prospect who can also return kicks and punts for the Colts. He isn’t the biggest back, so he likely won’t be able to carry a huge load for their offense, but I like his versatility and ability to contribute on special teams as a rookie. This guy dominated the Idaho Potato Bowl to the tune of 235 yards and three touchdowns, and is surprisingly stout between the tackles. I think this could be a really solid addition for the Colts.
7. Seventh round, 254th overall: Justice Cunningham, TE, South Carolina
The Colts get a second crack at Mr. Irrelevant in consecutive years, and they use the pick to draft their third tight end in two seasons. They are set at the position with Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, but this was a move for depth and they are getting a guy who possesses an all-around solid skill set who can potentially make the team and give them some additional options offensively.
I love the addition of Bjoern Werner, even though I would have preferred him to go to a team with a 4-3 base defense. I think he can be a stud in the NFL. It’s also great to see the Colts snag two potential starters on the offensive line and take a risk on a potential starting safety down the road in John Boyett.