On the Clock: Indianapolis Colts
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
|Dale Zanine/US Presswire|
|North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks could step in as the No. 2 receiver for the Colts.|
Team needs: Defensive tackle, receiver, outside linebacker, running back
Dream scenario: The Colts have major holes to patch on defense, and they will spend a lot of picks on those spots. But team president Bill Polian is obligated to surround Peyton Manning with the best weapons possible as the quarterback comes off his third MVP season. So it would help the Colts play to their strength if a quality wide receiver is available at No. 27.
Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey will probably be gone, and while he needs polish, he would be a vertical threat who could pull attention away from Wayne or make defenses pay. At least a couple scouts think Rutgers' Kenny Britt and North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks are capable of very quickly stepping in as the second receiver, behind Reggie Wayne but ahead of slot-specialist Anthony Gonzalez. At 6-foot-3, 218, Britt would bring the sort of size Manning hasn't thrown to. Nicks has potential to be Marvin Harrison-like, although he won't be as exciting after the catch.
Plan B: Polian has said the best defensive tackles usually disappear in the first 15 picks, then don't re-emerge as a value until the latter rounds of the draft. But the guys rated as the second- and third-best defensive tackles in this draft could be around in the late 20s -- Mississippi's Peria Jerry and Missouri's Evander Hood. They both can help settle the Colts down against the run up the middle and help collapse the pocket and get to the passer.
Scouts Inc. take: "If history has taught us anything about the Colts' organization it is that Bill Polian and Co. will use first-round picks to surround Peyton Manning with plenty of skill-position talent. It is a long, illustrious list of first-rounders and that trend could continue once again this year. With Wayne, Gonzalez and Dallas Clark -- all former first-rounders -- in the fold right now, another wideout might not appear to be as high of a draft priority as defensive tackle, which is a position made up of adequate-at-best starters. But the Colts' decision-makers understand what has made them so successful throughout the Manning era and probably will continue with that strategy. While defensive tackles like Peria Jerry, Ziggy Hood and Ron Brace will be attractive to Indianapolis, do not be surprised when Britt or Brian Robiskie's name is taken to the podium for the Colts in Round 1." -- Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc.
Who has final say: Polian equals personnel in Indianapolis. His scouts know what works in the Colts' schemes and the coaches he'll get input from include new head coach Jim Caldwell and new defensive coordinator Larry Coyer. But one of the league's best drafters has the final word.
Now on the clock: Baltimore Ravens, March 20.