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Indianapolis Colts 2016 Review

The Indianapolis Colts missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season despite a stellar season by Andrew Luck. The problem? His supporting cast.  The Colts now face a new regime with General Manager Chris Ballard on board. Previous GM Ryan Grigson was very unpopular with Colts fans for good reason. He failed to surround Luck with a solid roster by drafting poorly and signing bust free agents.

It will be up to the new management to build a roster capable of complimenting their elite QB. That work starts this offseason, and there are several needs Indianapolis must address.

Offensive Line

The Colts o-line allowed 44 sacks this past season. If Indianapolis wants Andrew Luck to further progress as a passer and spend less time on the ground, addressing the O-Line is crucial. The Colts did spend a first round pick on Center Ryan Kelly last year and should explore doing something similar this year. Indianapolis is penciled in to have either the 14th or 15th pick, and there are a few intriguing options for the line. Cam Robinson of Alabama and Garett Bolles of Utah would both go a long way in helping to protect Luck. There are also some options available in free agency such as Andrew Whitworth and T.J. Lang. Either way, Ballard must make fortifying the offensive line a priority.

Running back

Frank Gore is 33 years old and only averaged 3.9 yards per carry last season. It is clear that a youthful, explosive upgrade is needed in the backfield. There are very few appealing options in free agency such as Eddie Lacy. But that isn’t what Indianapolis needs. A deep draft class filled with a plethora of talented running backs is the way to go. Dalvin Cook of Florida State could be available at the Colts’ first round pick.

Cook has the build of a star running back in the NFL. He has a unique blend of phenomenal vision, toughness, and speed. If the Colts instead choose to draft a back in the later rounds, that would be a good choice as well. Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara and Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel are just two of several exceptionally talented backs who can be had after the first round.

Front Seven/Pass Rusher

The Colts defense ranked 25th in the league in run defense and 22nd in the league in sacks. If Indianapolis is to have a stronger defense in 2017, building a stronger front seven capable of rushing the passer and stuffing the run will be critical. The Colts should go about doing this both through free agency and the draft.

There are high-price options in free agency such as Chandler Jones, Melvin Ingram, and Calais Campbell. However, going for cheaper options to help fill out the front seven such as Johnathan Hankins or Jarvis Jones would certainly help as well.

Adding a stud to the defensive front is also very doable either in the first or second round. Derek Barnett from Tennessee, or Taco Charlton of Michigan, Caleb Brantley of Florida….. the list goes on of high-end talent that will be available. It’s time the Indianapolis Colts stop doing a disservice to Andrew Luck. If the front office can somehow revamp the offensive line and front-seven, Indy would be in a good position to recapture their winning ways.