The Indianapolis Colts took a sizable step back last season, going just 8-8 after being 11-5 for three consecutive seasons. Quarterback Andrew Luck was hurt for a chunk of the season, and the team struggled without him. It's clear that everything the Cots do has to be about helping Luck.
With the 18th pick in the SB Nation NFL writers mock draft, that exactly what Stephen Reed of Stampede Blue does.
18. Colts: Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
Reed: Since the top outside linebacker and cornerback prospects are gone, Indianapolis shores up its offensive line. Many analysts seem to have the Colts going with an offensive tackle in round one, but that doesn't make a lot of sense given where the issues on the offensive line lie: the interior. Kelly is arguably the most NFL-ready center in this year's draft and will go a long way in helping to protect Andrew Luck, the team’s franchise quarterback. He's intelligent and versatile enough to play in any scheme. Kelly won't be overwhelmed by a bull rush and will keep Luck consistently upright for maybe the first time in his career.
Analysis: The fit of Kelly is a good one, and he's the best player in his position in the draft. There's something to say for that, but this is really early for Kelly. He's a good player, but center is a position where quality players will be around later in the draft. A choice I've made in mocks for the Colts a lot is Leonard Floyd, the pass rushing linebacker from Georgia. He has more value and fits a need.
Dan's Top 5 players remaining
- 11. Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
- 14. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
- 15. Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
- 16. Reggie Ragland, MLB, Alabama
- 17. Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
- 1-18: Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
- 2-48: (coming April 15)
Complete draft results:
1. Tennessee Titans - Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss (Link)
2. Cleveland Browns - Jared Goff, QB, Cal (Link)
3. San Diego Chargers - Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State (Link)
4. Dallas Cowboys - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State (Link)
5. Jacksonville Jaguars - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA (Link)
6. Baltimore Ravens - Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State (Link)
7. San Francisco 49ers - DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon (Link)
8. Philadelphia Eagles - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (Link)
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky (Link)
10. New York Giants - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame (Link)
11. Chicago Bears - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida (Link)
12. New Orleans Saints - A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama (Link)
13. Miami Dolphins - Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State (Link)
14. Oakland Raiders - Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State (Link)
15. Los Angeles Rams - Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson (Link)
16. Detroit Lions - Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
17. Atlanta Falcons - Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson