This is the 24th of a team-by-team series, analyzing five prospects each team should consider in the 2013 NFL Draft.
The Colts head into the draft with some definite plans.
One thing seems to be certain. If the Colts don't see a player they like at the No. 24 spot in the first round, second-year general manager Ryan Grigson said he isn't adverse to trading down a round. Indianapolis traded away its second-round pick last fall to Miami in exchange for veteran cornerback Vontae Davis.
|More 2013 NFL Draft coverage|
"You have to be fluid to a point," Grigson said recently. "You can't be so stringent that you can't bend a little bit. It's obvious that I'm in a way different place than where I was last year with this whole process. (Coach) Chuck (Pagano) and I have looked at the whole landscape as compared to last year after free agency. And it looks a lot different.
"We've solidified some areas. And we've also created competition in the position groups, which is what we always really wanted to do when Chuck and I started this thing. And we're getting close to that goal. I'd say we still have the same philosophy (about the draft), but it's a little bit different than last year where we just had some gaping holes in a lot of spots that needed to be addressed with a new defense and so forth. We feel like we're in a better position."
In terms of drafting for need or just taking the best player available, the Colts' general manager is taking a different tact this year as opposed to the 2012 draft.
"If there's a stud (player) that's staring at you and staring holes through you, from your (draft) board, and he's at spot where you felt strongly going forward from the draft process and that guy can substantially make you better, you have to at least have that discussion," Grigson said.
"And we're willing to have those discussions because at the end of the day, we want the best football players to get us where we want to go. And that's to win Super Bowls."
As for the possibility of moving out of the No. 24 spot in the first round, he admits it's a possibility.
"It's really going to be a case-by-case basis. We'll see how that board starts falling. Of course, if there's not a player sitting there at 24 that the (draft) room is not excited and we're not high-fiving and things like that and we're not even doing a little fist-pumping, we probably shouldn't take that guy," Grigson said.
"We'll probably look to be trading out if there's a player that we feel is just OK. We want players at that spot, especially in the first round, (who are) going to substantially help us get to our goal."
For the second straight draft, the Colts will have the final overall pick. Indianapolis took quarterback Chandler Harnish with the selection in 2012 and he wound up making the team out of training camp. Grigson is looking for another player who can help his team this year with the "Mr. Irrelevant" pick.
"I feel like it's still a spot in the draft. And it's very relevant to us at that pick. And we hope to get a player that has starter traits, just like we would at any other spot," he said.
Courtesy of team reports published by The Sports Xchange.
Indianapolis Colts 2013 draft picks: 24, 86, 121, 192, 230, 254
Primary needs: OLB, DE, CB, WR, OG
General manager: Ryan Grigson (2nd season)
Five draft picks that clicked:
-- QB Andrew Luck, 1st overall, 2012
-- WR T.Y. Hilton, 92nd overall, 2012
-- RB Vick Ballard, 170th overall, 2012
-- OT Anthony Castonzo, 22nd overall, 2011
-- WR Reggie Wayne, 30th overall, 2001
Five players who should be on the Indianapolis Colts' draft radar:
Player, school (overall rating, position rating)
DE Datone Jones, UCLA (29, 3)
The Colts finished in the bottom half of the league in sacks last season and need to get stronger in the front seven, especially with Dwight Freeney no longer on the roster. Datone Jones is a versatile, scheme-diverse pass rusher with experience lining up inside and outside on the defensive line. He lined up at the zero, three and five technique spots in UCLA's 3-4 defense and wins with his initial push, moving very well for his size. Jones plays with an active, relentless motor with the power and quickness to disrupt the backfield in any pro scheme.
WR Stedman Bailey, West Virginia (103, 13)
The Colts drafted T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill last year and added Darrius Heyward-Bey in free agency, but with Reggie Wayne not getting any younger, it wouldn't be surprising to see Indy add weapons early in this year's draft. Bailey was productive in college, setting a new school record for touchdown catches with 39, including an FBS-best 25 touchdown grabs in 2012. A veteran route runner, he tracks the deep ball as good as anyone and makes it look easy. Bailey lacks explosive moves, but is a jitterbug after the catch and not easy to tackle. He has only average speed, but is dangerous in 1-on-1 situations and will be a reliable No. 2 receiver in the NFL.
OL J.C. Tretter, Cornell (148, 7)
Tretter arrived at Cornell as a 237-pound tight end and played two seasons there before transitioning to left tackle as a junior in 2011. He started there all 20 games the past two seasons, but projects best inside at the next level, either at center or guard. Tretter has an athletic body type with natural lower body flexibility and initial quickness. His lack of functional strength is a concern, especially his anchor, but he is smart with an all-business approach to the game. Tretter will be an interesting developmental project in the middle rounds and would give the Colts a future starter down the road.
DE/OLB Ty Powell, Harding (158, 18)
A well-journeyed prospect, Powell was a high school quarterback and played defensive back over his college career before moving to defensive end as a senior. He recorded 8 1/2 sacks in 2012 and looked natural in his new role with his fluid athleticism and natural bend. Powell isn't a clean prospect with several off-field incidents and run-ins with the law, but he is considered a good person who has made a series of poor judgments. He closes fast in pursuit and looks natural in space, making him an interesting fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker and would give Indianapolis a young pass rusher to groom.
CB Adrian Bushell, Louisville (204, 25)
After two seasons in Gainesville with the Gators, Bushell found himself in the coaches' doghouse and transferred to Louisville after a year at the JUCO-level. He lacks elite size, strength and speed, but has coordinated body control and footwork to flip his hips and mirror wide receivers up and down the field. He does a nice job avoiding blocks and has the aggressive nature to throw his body around in run support, although his aggressiveness will get him in trouble at times. Bushell has his flaws, but also has a knack for making a play on the ball with the confidence to be an impact nickel or dime cornerback in the NFL.