I have linebacker as their fourth biggest need going into the draft as they really need to add a strong side backer to challenge or even replace Phillip Wheeler. I see two prospects capable of filling that role Dekoda Watson out of Florida State and Sean Lee out of PSU. Lee has a late second round-early third round grade on most boards but in my opinion his 4.71 time in the 40 makes this to high for him to be selected and could push him down on draft day. I like him as a future leader of the defence who can play all three line backer positions due to his great football knowledge and fundamentally solid technique. That being said I rate Dekoda Watson a lot higher. Watson is an extremely fast and explosive backer who had 32 starts in that strong side backer role with the Seminoles. At 226 pounds he is very small for a linebacker in the NFL but has shown he can add weight to his 6-foot-2 frame. The thing I like most about Watson however is his pass rush, he is a very useful weapon blitzing from the outside. The addition of Watson would mean that the need for a pass rushing end isn’t as dire and as such his selection would mean we could focus our other picks elsewhere.Corner Alterraun Verner should also be in the mix if the Colts haven’t already added either Amari Spievey or Devin McCourty. Like those two Verner is a very good zone corner and tackler who would fit the Colts system very well. Centre J.D. Walton is also a very good prospect; he would add the desired size to our previously small line and be the ideal candidate to replace Jeff Saturday when he eventually retires. I also threw Tim Tebow in there as I feel at this point in the draft he is worth a flyer.
Overall I rank Watson as the top prospect of round three, I think his size and speed make him the ideal candidate for the Colts defence and his pass rushing ability will mean his selection will essential solve two needs. Even if the Colts nab Hughes in round one I still think Watson is the best option however if at this point they are still without an offensive lineman the either Walton or Calloway should be taken as they are in positions of greater need.
Key Third Round Prospects:
Dekoda Watson – LB – Florida State – 6-2 226. 40 Time: 4.56 (mid 4.4’s at his pro day) Reps:24
Watson bares comparison to former undersize Seminal LB’s Derrick Brooks and Ernie Sims in both his size, speed and playmaking ability. At 226 he is very small for a backer but he weighed in at the combine at 240 indicating the frame is there for him to build on. He is a very fast linebacker who utilizes his speed and agility very well in both run support and pass defence. His greatest strength however is his pass rush; while he doesn’t possess elite size or strength he is very explosive and has great timing for the blitz. I see him as the perfect SAM linebacker for the Colts, he has the necessary speed and quickness for our defensive scheme and will also be another weapon in our pass rushing arsenal which will lessen the need to find a top tier edge rushing DE in this drat.
Sean Lee – LB – Penn State – 6-2 236. 40 Time: 4.71 Reps: 24 Vert Jump: 37.5
Lee is another in a long line of talented backers out of Penn State. He is an extremely intelligent football player who has tremendous leadership qualities and plays tough fundamentally solid football. There are questions surrounding his athleticism and although he was clocked at 4.60 at his pro day his 4.71 time at the combine is a red flag. That being said he is a very good linebacker prospect who can play all three positions.
J.D. Walton – C – Baylor – 6-3 300. 40 Time: 5.19 Reps: 24
Walton is guy that gives 150% on every play. He is a mauler in the run game and has a good initial burst which help him in pass protection. He is an intelligent player who is accustom to being the leader of the line and has the size that new line coach Pete Metzelaars is after. He would be the ideal replacement for Jeff Saturday .
Kyle Calloway – OT – Iowa – 6-7 323. 40 time: 5.46 Reps: 22
A good right tackle prospect who has the versatility to play on the left side or at guard. He is a very tough and disciplined player who is competent in both the run and pass game. He has the ability to start and guard and the potential to move to right tackle as Ryan Diems successor.
Alterraun Verner – CB – UCLA – 5-10 189. 40 time: 4.52 vert jump: 32
Like Spievey and McCourty, Verner is a great zone corner and tackler. He doesn’t have the top end speed that most people like with corners but he has a great initial burst and reacts very well which makes up for it. He is also very smart and did very well academically at UCLA.
Tim Tebow – QB – Florida – 6-3 236. 40 Time: 4.71 Reps: N/A
Forget the questions about his fundamentals and mechanics. Tebow is born football player who is one of the best leaders I have ever seen. His work ethic and locker room presence alone make him worth of a third round pick and given a few years to mentor under Peyton Manning I feel he could become a very good QB in this league. In all honestly I can’t see this happening but if he is still on the board when our third round pick rolls around we HAVE to at least consider him.
So those are my 2 cents on the Colts options for the third round of the Draft. Stay tuned for the other rounds and follow my blog.