INDIANAPOLIS -- ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. posted his fourth mock draft Wednesday. And just like in his previous mocks, Kiper has the Indianapolis Colts taking an offensive lineman, in this case it's Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker at No. 18 in the first round.
I was thinking right tackle, especially if one falls to them at 18, as a strong option for the Colts with their first pick until talking to owner Jim Irsay and general manager Ryan Grigson at the NFL owners meetings two weeks ago in Florida.
Irsay and Grigson both spoke highly of Denzelle Good, the Colts’ seventh-round pick last season, as a candidate to start at right tackle next season. Joe Reitz also is an option, but I’m under the impression the Colts like him more in a backup role because they can plug him in at four positions along the offensive line if necessary.
“Denzelle Good, we like what we’ve seen so far and we don’t see why he can’t be a starting tackle or right guard in this league,” Irsay said. “If he continues in that path, it’s going to be a great draft pick. An important player like that who can move at 6-6, 345 pounds, that’s rare. The offensive line is an important aspect for us.”
Good started four games for the Colts last season when Reitz moved to left tackle after starter Anthony Castonzo went down with a knee injury in Week 11 against Atlanta.
The offensive line is definitely a priority for the Colts, but it appears they're more focused on the interior part of the line -- center and guard. They haven’t given up on Hugh Thornton as a potential starter at right guard. Thornton’s issue has been staying healthy and accepting the challenge of being a nasty player who wants to dominate at the line of scrimmage.
“The interior of that offensive line, the center and two guard spots, is the focal point,” coach Chuck Pagano said.
Kiper doesn’t have any centers or guards being selected in the first 17 picks of his mock. He’s only got one center -- Alabama’s Ryan Kelly -- being taken in the first round. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Colts took a top pass-rusher or middle linebacker if one is available when they pick.