Our annual 2011 NFL Mock Draft, with picks made by each of SB Nation's NFL team bloggers, is in full swing. The latest pick in to the podium: the Indianapolis Colts, at No. 22 overall.
With the 22nd overall pick in the 2011 SB Nation NFL Writers Mock Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select Anthony Castonzo, offensive tackle, Boston College.
Brad Wells of StampedeBlue.com explains the choice, and our own Dan Kadar reacts to it, after the jump. Make sure you're grading this pick for the Colts, and checking out Stampede Blue for all of your Colts needs.
Brad Wells explains: I tried to approach this pick as WWPD (What Would Polian Do?). Yes, it’s been 16 years since current Colts vice chairman Bill Polian selected an offensive tackle in the first round (the immortal Blake Brockermeyer at No. 29 back when Bill was calling shots for the Carolina Panthers in 1995), but I think this year ole Bill will break his usual trend and take a player like Boston College’s Anthony Castonzo. This is especially true if Castonzo is still there at No. 22.
The woes with the Colts offensive line were well-documented in 2010. While they only gave up 16 sacks during the regular season, this is another example of stats LYING to football fans who care about them. It’s also another case of Peyton Manning making average-to-bad players look better than they actually are. Anyone who watched Colts games objectively last year saw Manning rushing throws with linebackers draped around his legs. They saw him hit after throws more often than in previous years. They saw him hand the ball off to backs who couldn't find a fraction of daylight off tackle (fourth-worst rushing attack in the league). In fact, the running game was so bad the famous Colts ‘stretch run’ play has all but vanished from the offense’s playbook.
If the primary focus of the Colts during the 2011offseason is re-signing Manning, then it makes absolutely no sense for Peyton to sign his name on that dotted line if the Colts are not going to surround him with players who can protect him. Peyton is 35 years old, and while he is still considered by many to be ‘the best,’ the reality is not even ‘the best’ can help their team win if the offensive line can’t block in front of them.
Now, the reason for Castonzo over excellent players like Derek Sherrod and Nate Solder is that, right now, Castonzo seems to have better upside. The ideal pick would be Gabe Carimi, but some other team took him from us (DAMN YOU NEW ENGLAND! DAMN YOUUUUUUUUUUUUU!). With Carimi gone, Castonzo is the best pick available for Indy.
Several pre-draft reports say Castonzo is not quite ready to place out there at left tackle Week One, and I agree with them. He still has some physical maturing to do, but his mind and his toughness are not in question. His talent is also not debatable. He’s got a ton of it, and it is this talent that the Colts O-Line desperately needs. Castonzo might not be ready to toss out there at left tackle, but he could start at right tackle, and eventually work his way left. Being multi-purposed is a key trait for Colts linemen, and all are usually coached to play two or three positions on the line. If Castonzo could play RT or, perhaps, one of the guard positions, this could free up Charlie Johnson to move from his current spot (LT) back to his more natural position at guard or right tackle. Second-year player Jeff Linkenbach could then swing over to LT while a player like Jacques McClendon could battle Kyle DeVan for one of the other guard spots.
Regardless of how things are positioned, adding Castonzo instantly makes the line better. And if that line can give Peyton just one more second to scan the defense, if it can give his running backs a couple of inches of daylight, this takes an already dangerous offense and makes it even more potent. With better running comes play action, and if Peyton catches your team’s linebackers flat-footed, it’s a touchdown. Every. Single. Time.
Another player I considered here was Oregon State’s Stephen Paea, but as major a need as DT is for the Colts, the offensive line is the biggest area of weakness. And with a high value pick like Castonzo still sitting there, he’s just too good not to pass up.
Dan Kadar reacts: Wow, that is a lot to digest. If Polian does decide to break the mold and go with an offensive lineman, he has to pick the one that is the most ready to start immediately. Of Castonzo, Sherrod and Solder, the Boston College product is the most likely. (Carimi probably trumps all three in that regard.)
Still, this is Bill Polian we're talking about here. Although I'm sort of saying this jokingly, it will be no shock if Titus Young ends up being the pick for the Colts. [Anthony Castonzo Scouting Report]
Mocking the Draft's Top 5 Remaining Prospects
|9||Aldon Smith||DE||Missouri||scouting report|
|13||Justin Houston||OLB||Georgia||scouting report|
|14||Stephen Paea||DT||Oregon State||scouting report|
|15||Mikel Leshoure||RB||Illinois||scouting report|
|16||Cameron Heyward||DE||Ohio State||scouting report|
2011 SB Nation NFL Writers' Mock Draft - RESULTS
|1||1||Carolina Panthers||Blaine Gabbert||QB||Missouri||story|
|2||Denver Broncos||Von Miller||OLB||Texas A&M||story|
|3||Buffalo Bills||Patrick Peterson||CB||LSU||story|
|4||Cincinnati Bengals||A.J. Green||WR||Georgia||story|
|5||Arizona Cardinals||Cam Newton||QB||Auburn||story|
|6||Cleveland Browns||Marcell Dareus||DT||Alabama||story|
|7||San Francisco 49ers||Prince Amukamara||CB||Nebraska||story|
|8||Tennessee Titans||Nick Fairley||DT||Auburn||story|
|9||Dallas Cowboys||Tyron Smith||OT||USC||story|
|10||Washington Redskins||Robert Quinn||DE||North Carolina||story|
|11||Houston Texans||Julio Jones||WR||Alabama||story|
|12||Minnesota Vikings||J.J. Watt||DE||Wisconsin||story|
|13||Detroit Lions||Da'Quan Bowers||DE||Clemson||story|
|14||St. Louis Rams||Corey Liuget||DT||Illinois||story|
|15||Miami Dolphins||Mark Ingram||RB||Alabama||story|
|16||Jacksonville Jaguars||Christian Ponder||QB||Florida State||story|
|17||New England Patriots||Gabe Carimi||OT||Wisconsin||story|
|18||San Diego Chargers||Cameron Jordan||DE||California||story|
|19||New York Giants||Mike Pouncey||G/C||Florida||story|
|20||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Ryan Kerrigan||DE||Purdue||story|
|21||Kansas City Chiefs||Phil Taylor||DT||Baylor||story|
|22||Indianapolis Colts||Anthony Castonzo||OT||Boston College|
|24||New Orleans Saints|
|28||New England Patriots|
|30||New York Jets|
|32||Green Bay Packers|