10 Colts Takeaways From NFL Combine
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INDIANAPOLIS – A 32nd straight NFL Combine has come to a close in the city of Indianapolis.
It was a newsy Combine for the Indianapolis Colts, which was expected for a team filled with questions and picking in the No. 3 spot of the Draft.
What did we learn from the 2018 Combine?
-Luck Confidence Growing: Andrew Luck is still not throwing a football. But that hasn’t stopped confidence from the Colts growing even more about Luck playing in 2018. Chris Ballard even walked out on a plank in vouching for Luck returning to form this fall. At the Combine, Ballard detailed what Luck is specifically working on in California right now.
-Impressive Barkley: We know about Saquon Barkley on the field. The top running back in this year’s draft was also very impressive off the field at this week’s Combine. While we continue to debate Saquon Barkley versus Bradley Chubb, there’s some serious chatter that the Penn State running back might not even get to the Colts at the No. 3 pick. It’s a deep, deep running back draft class, but Barkley seems to be a serious candidate to be taken by any of the teams at the very top of this draft.
-Chubb’s Game: When you hear people talk about Bradley Chubb, they marvel at his high motor and ability to play on all three downs. Chubb is a natural 4-3 defensive end, who can play against the run, while still providing more than adequate pressure on passing downs. That’s rare to find in college and it’s why Chubb is the consensus top front 7 defensive player in this draft.
-No More Gore: The Colts announced this week, as expected, that they will not be bringing back the future Hall of Fame running back. After 3 seasons with the Colts, Gore will sign elsewhere in free agency. In replacing their starting running back, Chris Ballard has mentioned Marlon Mack and even underused Matt Jones, with Robert Turbin also under contract. It would be an absolute shock if the Colts didn’t draft a running back in the early rounds of the 2018 Draft.
-Bring Melvin Back?: Ideally, the Colts want to bring back cornerback Rashaan Melvin in 2018. Chris Ballard said that last week. Melvin will garner the highest pay day of the team’s 2018 free agents. Even with the Colts’ defensive system changing in ’18, they still covet a player like Melvin, who will be seeking a major pay day after his strong 2017 season. This is a re-signing the Colts should make, even if the suitors come in heavy at Melvin.
-Wide Receiver Need: The Colts have not held back in expressing their need to revamp the wide receiver group in 2018. They remain high on Chester Rogers, but he’s the only other WR returnee under contract besides T.Y. Hilton. You have to think the Colts will be in the market for a taller wideout, and could use both free agency and the draft to fill out this position group.
-FA Targets Staying/Going: A few thoughts on some potential free agents for the Colts: It sounds like the Jaguars are going to bring back WR-Allen Robinson. Do the Rams have enough money to retain WR-Sammy Watkins? The same question is there for Carolina with All-Pro OG-Andrew Norwell. Free agency starts a week from Wednesday (March 14).
-2018 Draft Depth: Listening to personnel people around the league this week, they are high on the QB and RB depth in 2018. The interior trenches, on both sides of the ball, also have some depth. It definitely isn’t the defensive haul that we saw last year. Also, some question if the top-end draft talent in 2018 is lacking compared to past years.
-Quarterback Dominoes: Until the Draft arrives on April 26, the rankings of Sam Darnold (USC), Josh Rosen (UCLA), Josh Allen (Wyoming) and Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) will be wildly debated. How teams view these 4 will certainly impact the possible trade packages coming at the Colts for pick No. 3. It sounds like hot free agent QB Kirk Cousins could be heading to the Vikings. That would leave QB-needy teams having the following first-round picks: Broncos (5th overall), Jets (6th overall), Cardinals (15th overall) and Bills (21st and 22nd overall).
-Geathers A Safety: Any talk of Clayton Geathers becoming a permanent safety in 2018 was put to bed by Chris Ballard. The third-year safety will be staying at the back end of the defense, even though the Colts are looking to put more speed on the field, and Geathers could have been a fit as an every down weakside linebacker. With Geathers sticking at safety, the depth at that position remains strong, which could impact the importance of re-signing veteran Darius Butler.