Thursday, April 4, 2013

Answering Roy

Roy is one of ColtPlay's readers, and he sent me a few questions. Let's see if I can answer them.

He pointed out that he feels Vick Ballard is pretty ordinary at halfback, and that a replacement or complement would be a good idea for the Colts.

I think "ordinary" is a bit harsh because Ballard has his special moments, and is well-suited to the Colts offense, but he could uses some help. An upgrade over Godamnit Donald Brown and Delone Carter in the backfield with Ballard should not be that hard to find.

I think we can safely rule out the acquisition of a "speedback" or change-of-pace runner. The offense works how it works, and I don't see the point in retooling it temporarily for a different type of back when Ballard's not in. The duties of the back in this offense are to help keep Luck safe as an outlet receiver and pass blocker and to grind out tough yards, falling forward and dragging defenders to beat them up, exhaust them and keep them from easing into nickel, dime and quarter formations. So you can forget about some 185-pound speedster who gets a 4.0 yards-per-carry average by mixing 20-yard bursts among losses and no gains.

The presence of and focus on Andrew Luck means it's not reasonable to think that the Colts will have a 1,600-yard back, but it's not out of the question that they could draft one in the first round. Alabama's Eddie Lacy is exactly the kind of back they like, and he'll likely to be available at No. 24. Some prefer North Carolina's Giovani Bernard, but don't count me among them. While Lacy would almost certainly be a top NFL back, pressing needs elsewhere could well preclude him becoming a Colt.

Later in the draft there are some interesting halfbacks, but they all kind of lack something. South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore is an outstanding talent, probably the best in this year's class, but his record of two season-ending ACL injuries in two years is kind of scary.

Stanford's Stepfan Taylor would appear to be tailor-made for the team after excelling in Pep Hamilton's offense in college, but his 4.76 forty is hard to ignore.

Then there's Christine Michael of Texas A&M. As gifted a back as you'll see, Michael doesn't have a head for the game. Maturity and effort issues, along with injuries, make him a question mark as well.

If the Colts grab Lacy, he probably opens camp at No. 1. If they draft anyone else, Ballard's the starter, and the other guy will fight to be No. 2.

Roy also points out that the Colts would be wise to protect their investment in Luck by drafting North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper in the first round if he's available. I would have no problem with that, although I think pass-rusher is a more pressing need. It's as simple as this: Are you more confident with Joe Reitz at right guard or Erik Walden at ROLB? The point may well be moot, though, because I can't see Cooper lasting until No. 24.

And finally, Roy asks if Darrius Heyword-Bey was the big signing Jim Irsay was hinting at on Twitter, or if it was just part of Irsay's dog and pony show. I'd have to say bit of both. I think the Colts intended to sign or trade for a big-name receiver, were shut out and signed DHB as a consolation prize. He is well known, but primarily for being something of a draft bust.

1 comment:

Roy said...

Thanks for answering my questions.

I would hate to learn that DHB was signed simply as a consolation prize so Irsay can "save face" after his Twitter comments. If so, that is why Jim Irsay should not be floating out rumors about all these big deals about to happen. It puts too much pressure on Grigson to either overpay in trade or to a free agent, or pay millions as a consolation prize.