The 2014 NFL season was the Indianapolis Colts 3rd season with a completely new team. After cutting Peyton Manning, the Colts cleaned house bringing in much better coaches and players than Manning was ever blessed with. As a result, the Colts have done great under young quarterback Andrew Luck and head coach Chuck Pagano.
The Colts came into the 2014 NFL season planning on defending their AFC South division title, but they went farther than anyone thought they could. After clinching the division with a 17-10 victory over the Houston Texans in Week 15, the Colts finished with an 11-5 record—including a second straight year of going 6-0 within their own division.
The Colts began their playoff run with a bang defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 26-10 in their Wild Card round playoff game. The Colts then had to travel to Denver to face the Broncos. They weren’t given much of a chance heading into the game; however, the Colts left with a 24-13 victory and an AFC Championship Game appearance.
The Championship Game didn’t go very well for the Colts. The New England Patriots with the help of deflated footballs whooped the Colts, winning 45-7. The Colts Super Bowl dreams were smashed, but with the talent they have on roster a trip to Super Bowl 50 isn’t out of the question. The Colts could certainly use a little more talent and depth in some positions, but nothing a solid draft class can’t fix. Here are the Indianapolis Colts biggest needs heading into the 2015 NFL Draft:
Defensive Line: The Colts biggest weakness this past season was their defensive line. Good running backs had no problem tearing up the Colts defense in 2014, so the Colts are in desperate need of a big body to clog up those running lanes. Indianapolis does have some young talent on their line; however, a little competition or assistance could go a long way. Look for the Colts to drop some of their early round picks on big men for their line.
Safety: The Colts do boast one of the better secondary’s in the NFL; however, they could certainly use some help at the safety position. The Colts cornerbacks are great, but the safeties lack coverage ability. Laron Landry is a great defensive player, but he excels in the box and has yet to show any true potential as a coverage safety. If the Colts don’t do anything about this over the offseason they will have the same Achilles’ heel in 2015; so look for them to address the issue in this year’s draft. With a lot of talent, the Colts could wait as late as the 3rd or 4th round before selecting a safety.
Pass Rusher: And once again with the defensive line issues. The Colts don’t just have a problem stopping running backs, they also have a problem slowing down opposing quarterbacks by bringing them to the turf. The loss of Robert Mathis made this flaw clear, but after Dwight Freeney left to join the San Diego Chargers it became clear that he and Mathis were as deep as the Colts talent ran at pass rusher. The two most important parts of building a successful team in the NFL are protecting the passer and rushing the opponent’s passer. The Colts have an opportunity to help out their line this offseason by picking up a couple of good veterans to go along with some fresh young talent from this draft. The Colts don’t pick until the end of the 1st round; but don’t be surprised if they trade up to the middle of the round to get a better pass rusher. If not, their pick would be best used on a good defensive lineman—preferably one who can pass rush and stop the run at the same time.