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National Football League
Draft King Analysis

July 28, 2008
Lou Pickney,

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The Indianapolis Colts came into the 2008 NFL Draft without a first round pick, sacrificed in 2007 in a trade that allowed the team to draft Arkansas OT Tony Ugoh. That proved critical, as he stepped in and did a fine job at left tackle in replacing Tarik Glenn, who went out on top into retirement after Indianapolis won Super Bowl XLI.

Mike Hart
Mike Hart had an impressive career at Michigan. (Icon SMI)
Even with Ugoh on board, the Colts needed a boost in its offensive line, so with its first pick (#59 overall) the team selected Arizona State's Mike Pollak with the intent of turning him into a center. The plan is for Pollak to be mentored by incumbent center Jeff Saturday and for him to develop his skills there, while also providing depth at other offensive line spots.

Versatility is an important thing in the modern NFL game, and Pollak will provide that. And, in case Pollak proves to be better at his natural OT spot than at center, the Colts also drafted Wake Forest center Steve Justice in round six.

With their next pick, the Colts filled holes created by the departure of LBs Rob Morris and Rocky Boiman by drafting a player many thought was a steal at #93 overall, Georgia Tech OLB Philip Wheeler. At 6'2" he is taller than many Colts linebackers of the past, but he also has great speed, which could allow him to develop into a blitzing threat.

Make no mistake: the Cover 2 is based on pressure from the front four. But, having a linebacker like Wheeler who could potentially surprise the offensive line with a well-timed blitz just makes the Colts defense that much more unpredictable and dangerous.

Michigan RB Mike Hart proved to be the victim of an overloaded running back class in the 2008 Draft, sliding to late round six (#202 overall) where the Colts snapped him up. How the 5'9" Hart can hold up in the punishing world of the NFL remains to be seen, but as a change of pace back he could be quite surprising. Time will tell if he can outright earn the backup RB spot behind Joseph Addai, with the Colts also having Kenton Keith and Dominic Rhodes on their roster.

One interesting player that Indy took a flier on late was Mount Union WR Pierre Garcon 6'0" 210. He drew comparisons to Jerry Rice (but don't all most small college WRs?), but with the aging of WR Marvin Harrison, taking a chance on a possible future contributor like Garcon could prove wise.

Overall, the success of the Colts likely rides on the ability of Peyton Manning to stay healthy. However, while that is true, adding key position players via the draft reveals that the Colts are thinking toward the long-term.


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