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McClintic Sphere
06-21-2008, 12:45 PM
http://www.sportsmemo.com/handicappers/veno/articles/1768/?SESSIDPHP=5a7af59e190a6cca7aa0548f39474d80

Colts quietly stockpile talent in draft


http://www.sportsmemo.com/images/articles/uploads/Image/Colts.jpgIndianapolis Colts – In a very vanilla sort of way, I really like the results of this draft for the Colts especially when you note the fact that they did not have a first round pick. They doubled up on their selections in three different areas with their first six picks and may have come away with as many first year contributors as Jacksonville and their more bold style of draft did. Linebacker Phillip Wheeler of Georgia Tech has the total package and thus a realistic chance to crack the Indy starting lineup at some point this season. At GTech during his junior and senior years, he was the focal point of every offense's blocking scheme and still recorded 177 tackles (23 for loss) plus 18.5 sacks. Wheeler was a natural in defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta’s aggressive, blitz oriented scheme which makes him a perfect fit for the Colts and head coach Dungy’s style. I think this was the Colts best draft selection when you consider the immense talent they got here at #30 of the third round and #93 overall.

Joining Wheeler on the perimeter of the second level is fifth rounder Marcus Howard who at 237 pounds figures to become a situational pass rushing OLB. Howard led the University of Georgia in sacks last season with 11 and he posted the fastest 40 time (4.42) of any OLB in this draft. Howard has all the tools to become a top flight pass rusher in time and he’s already been likened to current Colts DE Robert Mathis. Intrastate rivals Georgia Tech and Georgia provided Indy with a couple of players who can really apply pressure.

In the Colts two tight end offensive system, Kentucky’s Jacob Tamme and Virginia’s Tom Santi each have an opportunity to make a measurable impact now that former starter Ben Utecht is now a Bengal. Veteran Bryan Fletcher has a hold on the role opposite Pro Bowler Dallas Clark right now, but Tamme and Santi are both good enough to see some time immediately. The problem could be learning the Colts playbook and of course getting in sync with QB Peyton Manning but coming from a throwing program with a former NFL head coach in Rich Brooks, I give Tamme and his pass catching abilities a real shot. Santi could be used more in running situations to take advantage of his size and blocking skills. These guys were very productive college players and have the size, strength and speed to make it at this level.

The interior of the offensive line was also addressed heavily by Indianapolis in this draft and they used their first pick which came late in round two on Arizona State lineman Mike Pollak. The Colts have already planned on Pollak being the successor to starting center Jeff Saturday when the three time Pro Bowl selection decides to walk away from football. In the meantime, Indy is allowing Pollak a shot at Charlie Johnson’s right guard position and there’s a good chance he’ll earn it. Pollak’s athletic ability figures to work well with the Colts stretch running game. Steve Justice was chosen in the in the sixth round and the All-ACC center looks to be a part of the Colts offensive line plans. He’ll begin this season as a backup, but Justice could play his way into a starting post in the future. Ideally, Indianapolis would love for that to happen as they would have gained a pair of starters for the OL from this draft.

Again, a very unexciting, vanilla type draft at first glance, but that’s only because of the positions Indianapolis focused on. I view this as the best draft in the AFC South.

For more NFL draft analysisby Rob Veno, go to www.sportsmemo.com (http://www.sportsmemo.com/).

jeffg-body
06-24-2008, 12:09 AM
Nothing new, colts always seem to find a gem or two every draft.

Gamble1
06-24-2008, 01:57 PM
The o-line is the biggest upgrade I've seen. By adding these guys the colts will have a running game despite injuries like last year.

Manning will hopefully remain healthy and Addai will have holes to run through.

One question on my mind is whether or not the Pats have addressed their line yet. This years draft was all defense from what I can tell but I can't remember their previous drafts to see whether or not they will have a weakness in their protection.

I hope the colts can expose them like the giants did.

carpediem024
06-24-2008, 09:48 PM
And having a back up running-back that knows the system is better than what we had last year... Even if Rhodes made mistakes I bet he's working hard now.

McClintic Sphere
06-25-2008, 07:02 AM
Wheeler has almost become the forgotten man in this draft, with all the focus on the many offensive lineman taken and surprise of a well known player like Steve Hart falling to the sixth round. If you look at the starting linebacking core, Freddie Keiaho was a running back until late in his college career, Brackett was an undrafted FA and Hagler was a low round pick. Wheeler could really make an impact on both special teams and give us something Dungy hasn't utilized nearly at all in the past: a blitzing linebacker. I'm excited to see him and Clint Session play together, along with Marcus Howard at DE.

Gamble1
06-25-2008, 04:24 PM
I don't know sphere. I think Wheeler will be good but I doubt the colts start blitzing their linebackers to generate pressure.

Dungy for better or worse hates using linbebackers as blitzers in my opinion. The cover 2 based defense doesn't help anything either but I do hope dungy atleast plays around alittle more with blitzes in order to keep offensives honest.

McClintic Sphere
06-26-2008, 07:01 AM
I don't know sphere. I think Wheeler will be good but I doubt the colts start blitzing their linebackers to generate pressure.

Dungy for better or worse hates using linbebackers as blitzers in my opinion. The cover 2 based defense doesn't help anything either but I do hope dungy atleast plays around alittle more with blitzes in order to keep offensives honest.

I know it seems contrary to what the Tampa 2 is built on, but I think the lack of pass rush without Freeney and Mathis down the stretch and more experience on D, plus maybe the addition of some combo DE/OLB players like Wheeler, Ramon Guzman, and Marcus Howard will have us utilizing some blitzing next year. It almost seemed counterintuitive for them to even draft Wheeler, because he probably blitzed more than any linebacker in college football at GT:

http://www.profootballweekly.com/PFW/NFL/AFC/AFC+South/Indianapolis/WWHI/2008/wwhi053008.htm



Colts considering alternative pass-rushing strategies

Tony Dungy’s Tampa-2 defense isn’t among the more complicated schemes in the NFL, but word out of Indianapolis is that Dungy is planning on adding a smattering of defensive wrinkles that he abstained from dabbling with last season. The rationale is twofold: (1) An inability to generate a consistent pass rush when DEs Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis were banged up underscored just how reliant the team was on those two, and how badly it needs to find alternative pass-rushing possibilities should the starting duo be slowed again. (2) Indy was breaking in a host of new starters in ’07, and Dungy’s more willing to trust his now well-seasoned crew to handle greater responsibilities. So, just what does Dungy have in store? It’s difficult to know exactly, but employing more DL stunts and turning loose S Bob Sanders to attack opposing backfields appear to be likely options. Dungy will never be keen on relying on LB blitzes to pressure the passer, and the increased confidence he has in CBs Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden has him even more eager to allow Sanders — the 2007 NFL Defensive Player of the Year — to do what he does best.

SoupIsGood
06-26-2008, 10:50 AM
I like the idea of blitzing Sanders more. He was tremendous in that Tennessee game where we turned him loose on Young.

Gamble1
06-27-2008, 05:14 PM
I know it seems contrary to what the Tampa 2 is built on, but I think the lack of pass rush without Freeney and Mathis down the stretch and more experience on D, plus maybe the addition of some combo DE/OLB players like Wheeler, Ramon Guzman, and Marcus Howard will have us utilizing some blitzing next year. It almost seemed counterintuitive for them to even draft Wheeler, because he probably blitzed more than any linebacker in college football at GT:

http://www.profootballweekly.com/PFW/NFL/AFC/AFC+South/Indianapolis/WWHI/2008/wwhi053008.htm

I read the same article and it will probably just come down to if we can stay healthy.

If Mathis and Freeny are in top shape then there will be no need to blitz our linebackers. Of course the colts will be tested with this tough schedule as well but I still feel that the tampa 2 has been good to us.