Don't worry, Eagles fans. Your time is almost here.
Are the Colts going to draft the heir apparent to Peyton Manning?
It's certainly possible with the future Hall of Fame quarterback about to enter his 14th NFL season at age 35. But in the first round? Highly unlikely. Especially with many other concerns that could be addressed to give this Colts team another chance to win a Super Bowl while Manning is under center.
First off, if you want to help Manning, the Colts should do a better job protecting him. Manning was sacked 16 times last year, certainly not a lot but it was the highest total since 2007. Of course, Howard Mudd's absence as the team's offensive line coach could have had something to do with that as well. Nonetheless, recent top picks at tackle in Tony Ugoh and Mike Pollak haven't worked out as planned. Charlie Johnson is better suited for guard instead of left tackle. Anthony Castonzo, noted by many to be the top left tackle available in the draft, is still available in our Fan Mock Draft after the Chiefs took Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi in an upset.
To also help Manning, the Colts could invest in more weapons for him. Reggie Wayne will be entering his 11th NFL season. Even though he's still a premier player it's been a band-aid situation after him with Anthony Gonzalez and Austin Collie unable to stay healthy for long enough stretches to make an impact. The only issue here is the wide receiver talent pool drops off considerably after the first two - Georgia's A.J. Green and Alabama's Julio Jones - who are well off the board by this point.
By and large, the Colts offense will keep humming as long as Manning is at quarterback. We were all witnesses to some chinks in the armor last year when he had back-to-back games with four interceptions. Then again, Manning led the Colts to four straight wins to end the season after those two games and only threw two picks during that stretch.
Really, the Colts need to fortify the defense in order to keep pace with the Jets, Ravens, Patriots and Steelers in the AFC. The Colts' scoring defense was 23rd in the league 20th in the league in terms of yardage. The run defense was a sieve ranking 25th in the league. The Colts allowed 169 yards on the ground in the playoff loss to the Jets. There is plenty of talent here still available whether the Colts want to add some speed off the edge with Missouri's Aldon Smith or add some punch to the interior of the line with Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea.
Last year, the Colts used their first-round pick on defensive end Jerry Hughes, who didn't offer much as a rookie. The Colts could select a player in Hughes' mold in Brooks Reed from Arizona or add a playmaking linebacker with UCLA's Akeem Ayers. The Colts are set at middle linebacker with Gary Brackett and eventually Pat Angerer down the road, but could use another beast on the outside which could make Ayers the pick. Safety would be another concern, but there are no options at No. 23 that are worthwhile.
Bottom line is that even though there have been rumblings that the Colts could potentially find the player to groom to replace Manning, the prudent thing to do would be to surround Manning with more talent so that they can maximize the final years of his career.
Needs: OT, WR, DT, S
All-Good: QB, TE
Previous PicksNo. 1 - Carolina: QB Cam Newton, Auburn
No. 2 - Denver: DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama
No. 3 - Buffalo: LB Von Miller, Texas A&M
No. 4 - Cincinnati: QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
No. 5 - Arizona: WR A.J. Green, Georgia
No. 6 - Cleveland: WR Julio Jones, Alabama
No. 7 - San Francisco: DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson
No. 8 - Tennessee: DT Nick Fairley, Auburn
No. 9 - Dallas: DE Cameron Jordan, California
No. 10 - Washington: QB Jake Locker, Washington
No. 11 - Houston: CB Patrick Peterson, LSU
No. 12 - Minnesota: DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina
No. 13 - Detroit: CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
No. 14 - St. Louis: DT Corey Liuget, Illinois
No. 15 - Miami: QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
No. 16 - Jacksonville: DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin
No. 17 - New England: RB Mark Ingram, Alabama
No. 18 - San Diego: OLB Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
No. 19 - New York Giants: OT Tyron Smith, USC
No. 20 - Tampa Bay: CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado
No. 21 - Kansas City: OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin