The Andrew Luck Era in Indy took another step forward in the former No. 1 pick’s second season, but the third is when the pressure is on. Luck has lifted the Indianapolis Colts to the postseason in each of his first two seasons in the league, but in order to advance he’ll have to get help from the team’s front office in putting a better quality team around him.
Luck has a lot of weapons at his disposal, most of which did not play a huge role down the stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs. The team acquired former first-round pick Trent Richardson from the Cleveland Browns, so the position is filled, though 2014 will be a boom-or-bust type of year for Richardson. The receiving corps is also on the upswing. Up-and-comers like LeVon Brazill, Da’Rick Rogers T.Y. Hilton are major pieces of the puzzle going forward.
But the Colts need to better protect Luck, and they have to put forth a defense that can protect the leads he gets them.
The team could use an interior lineman, perhaps a more solid guard or a replacement for veteran Samson Satele at center. The team drafted Hugh Thornton last year but struggled as a rookie; shoring up the position there could not only help out Luck but perhaps jumpstart the running game.
Defensively, the team needs to round out its linebacking corps as well as its secondary. Linebacker Pat Angerer is a free agent, as is cornerback Vontae Davis and safety Antoine Bethea. Angerer’s days in Indy are likely over, though the team will likely do its best to bring back Davis and Bethea.
A linebacker like Yawin Smallwood or Chris Borland could be a tremendous fit for Indy as it revamps that unit. Smallwood led Connecticut in tackles (118) last year, in addition to 9.5 for loss and four sacks. He was a do-it-all sort of player for the Huskies, which would be welcomed with the Colts. Borland is a playmaker at the line of scrimmage and can drop back into coverage. He’s drawn comparisons to Zach Thomas.
If and when the team goes after a corner, the Colts could go after a Keith McGill or Louchiez Purifoy, both of whom could be around in the third round. McGill is a bigger, more athletic type of defensive back like those playing in the Legion of Boom. Purifoy was a playmaker at Florida. Despite not racking up a lot of tackles (24), he had a pair of interceptions, a forced fumble, a blocked punt and two sacks.