Scouts and team executives from around the NFL are in Indianapolis this weekend for the start of the NFL Draft Combine. Prospects will get run through the car wash with interviews, weigh-ins and various drills.
The Colts are going into this draft with a huge question mark at running back. Two seasons ago, they traded a first round pick to Cleveland for Trent Richardson, but that hasn’t worked out…at all. They are now wrapped up in nasty situation in which Indy could try to void his contract.
This draft’s running back class is top heavy. Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and Georgia’s Todd Gurley are on top of the list. Will Indy draft a running back in the first round?
Running backs have fallen in the draft in recent years. Since most teams have moved to a dual-back system, the need to draft a back early isn’t there.
Gordon and Gurley are #1a and #1b in the running back rankings for the 2015 NFL Draft. Gordon had a breakout season at Wisconsin and Gurley looked like the eventual Heisman winner before being suspended and then tearing his ACL.
Both running backs do have their flaws. Big Ten running backs haven’t transitioned well to the NFL and Gurley’s injury history could be a red flag. He may not even be healthy enough to play at the start of the season.
Could Indy use their first round pick on a pass rusher and draft a running back later?
Yes, but it’s difficult to pass on Gordon and Gurley when you watch their best college games. They had the dominant performances executives love to see when scouting.
If they do pass on those guys, Miami’s Duke Johnson and Indiana’s Tevin Coleman could be available when they draft #58 in the second round. I don’t see any other franchise running back on the list after those two backs. Florida State’s Karlos Williams, Ball State’s Jahwan Edwards and Auburn’s Cameron Artis-Payne could be interesting late in the draft, but it’s risky.
By the end of the draft, more than anything else, the Colts need a franchise running back. The only way to do that is to draft either Gordon or Gurley with the #29th pick. They could then draft an outside linebacker in the second round to bookend opposite Robert Mathis. TCU’s Paul Dawson or LSU’s Kwon Alexander would be ideal for Indy.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.