Indianapolis Colts 2012 Team Needs
You don’t go from a borderline Super Bowl contender to the bottom of your division by accident. Yes, Peyton Manning was the glue that held the Indianapolis Colts together for over a decade, but without him, the team’s many holes were violently exposed over the course of a terrible 2-14 season in 2011.
We’re kicking off our 2012 NFL team needs section early and starting with the worst team in the league, largely because they are just about locked-in to take Stanford’s Andrew Luck with the top pick, and they have so much to fix that the earlier we start dissecting it, the better.
Note: Specific players to draft won’t be overly discussed in our early posts, but be sure to come back and check all the teams out as we update based off of cuts, free agent adds, and draft prospect news and rumors.
2011 Record: 2-14
Offensive Needs: OL, RB, WR/TE
I won’t waste my time with quarterback. Andrew Luck is 99.9% likely to be the top pick in the draft, with Robert Griffin III occupying the remaining .1%. Don’t let rumors fool you. The pick is Luck.
The real problem starts in the offensive line, where the Colts could lose a slew of free agents, and are also getting pretty long in the tooth here. Jeff Saturday is one name that jumps out, and he’s now with the Packers. Indy’s line still isn’t bad, but they’ll need to do a patchwork job to make sure Luck doesn’t crumble in year one.
Joseph Addai is gone and no one else in the Colts’ back-field is a sure thing, so getting a true feature back should become a mission on offense. Donald Brown showed he had some game late in the year, but he also made it pretty obvious that he’s not an every down back, either. He’s more of a third-down back. Rookie Delone Carter has a little promise, but the Colts may be best advised to just start over at the position. None of these guys really scream feature back to me, and with the offensive debacle we saw when they tried to run in 2011, it’s pretty clear their focus on the ground game needs to change.
Reggie Wayne is back and Indy still has the reliable Austin Collie working the slot, but Wayne is 87 years old and Collie has a disturbing concussion history. The addition of Donnie Avery could be interesting, but the loss of Pierre Garcon and Anthony Gonzalez tells us this receiving corps could use at least one new guy via the draft. Tight end is an even bigger issue, as Dallas Clark was cut, and Jacob Tamme bolted for Denver to join the departed Peyton Manning. The Colts need a new tight end, and if they could somehow pair their prized Andrew Luck with his Stanford buddy Coby Fleener, it’d be a dream come true.
Defensive Needs: CB, SS, OLB
Indianapolis fought hard on defense in spurts in 2011, but it was painfully obvious that when their pass-rush wasn’t on, the rest of their defense was well below average. First things first, though. They need to upgrade their secondary – bad. They probably need to target at least two young corners in the draft, and bringing in an established veteran couldn’t hurt, as well.
Strong safety is a major problem area, as well. Melvin Bullitt can’t stay healthy and they need to be done with the whole Bob Sanders issue with safeties. I like Antoine Bethea back there at free safety, but he can’t do it alone. The Colts need a reliable strong safety who can help defend the pass and also step up and help stop the run. They could target one in the draft, but I think they could also go for a quick fix her in free agency.
The scheme will be shifting from a standard 4-3 to a 3-4, and will put a strong focus on outside pressure and getting to the quarterback. Robert Mathis can play one side due to his versatility, but there is concern over whether or not Dwight Freeney can. Whether he fills that void or not, the Colts need to think long-term and get 1-2 new pass-rushers to mold. Jerry Hughes is still there, but there’s a decent chance he’s already shaping out to be a bust.