2011 SB Nation NFL Mock Draft: Round 1, Pick 22

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.

Enter Castonzo.

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]

With that, the Philadelphia Eagles - and our friends at Bleeding Green Nation - are now on the clock.

Mocking the Draft's Top 5 Remaining Prospects

OVR Name Pos. College Report
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

Rd. No. Team Player Pos. College Link
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
23 Philadelphia Eagles
24 New Orleans Saints
25 Seattle Seahawks
26 Baltimore Ravens
27 Atlanta Falcons
28 New England Patriots
29 Chicago Bears
30 New York Jets
31 Pittsburgh Steelers
32 Green Bay Packers
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