Indianapolis Colts Team Needs

OFFENSE

Wide Receiver (Current 2014 Projection: Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, Griff Whalen, Da'Rick Rogers, LaVon Brazill)

The Colts desperately need a long-term replacement for Wayne and a third receiver to group with Wayne and Hilton for 2014. The group of Whalen/Rogers/Brazill has potential, but also serious limitations. Whalen's ceiling is low (slow, no size, not exceptional hands), Rogers can't read the field well at all and Brazill likely won't ever be more than a decent 4th receiver. 

Guard (Hugh Thornton, Donald Thomas)

Obviously, two guards aren't enough, especially in the Colts' power-running scheme. But even without the depth issues, the starters are a serious question mark. Thomas has looked good, but has been out for the entire season with a torn quad, and has never been a full-time starter. Thornton has struggled throughout his rookie year. Although he has promise, the Colts can't assume that he's an answer on the starting offensive line. 

Center (Samson Satele, Khaled Holmes)

Satele is one of Ryan Grigson's worst free agent signings. He's been one of the league's worst centers throughout the last two years, and has had numerous injury issues to boot. Holmes, selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, has played six snaps this season, and has been passed over as a contributor for the likes of undrafted free agent Xavier Nixon and Jeff Linkenbach. 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line (Ricky Jean Francois, Cory Redding, Josh Chapman, Montori Hughes)

Similar to guard, the defensive line is both thin (four guys for three spots) and mediocre at best at the starting lineup. Chapman, Redding and Francois probably will start in 2014, and there is little pass rush to be found. The Colts have to get a defensive lineman who can add some pass rush to the group, rather than relying solely on Robert Mathis at outside linebacker. 

Inside Linebacker (Jerrell Freeman, Kelvin Sheppard, Josh McNary, Mario Harvey)

Quietly one of the Colts most problematic positions, Freeman is the only player who's worth starting, and the rest are quality backups at best. Freeman isn't a top-tier linebacker by any means, but is versatile and was a great find by Grigson. The Jerry Hughes for Kelvin Sheppard trade has been a bust for Indianapolis, with Hughes breaking out with 10 sacks in Buffalo and Sheppard being a liability more than an asset on the Colts defense. McNary adds some pass rush ability and athleticism to the rotation, but is raw, while Harvey is a solid special teams player but little else. 

Cornerback (Greg Toler, Darius Butler)

It's a reasonable assumption that Vontae Davis will be re-signed this season, but it's not set in stone. Davis has had a good season and could cost upwards of $8 million/year with his new contract. With Davis added to the group, you'll have a solid, if overpaid (I'm looking at you Greg Toler) top-three, but depth is a must, especially with Toler's injury issues. 

Safety (LaRon Landry, Delano Howell)

Same old, same old. Both thin and low on talent. LaRon Landry can hit, but doesn't bring nearly enough intimidation to the table to make up for his poor coverage instincts and sloppy technique (at times). Howell is a versatile player who can fill in for periods of time, but isn't a starting-caliber player right now. 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Punter (none)

Is Pat McAfee going to be back in Indianapolis? He should be, based both on his punting ability (he's a top-five punter in the league, in my opinion) and his role as a public figure and teammate for the Colts. Will he? We'll see. The Colts and McAfee couldn't agree on a new contract this offseason, but also had the franchise tag to fall back on. 

Kicker (none)

Adam Vinatieri's contract is up this season, but the veteran kicker has been phenomenal this season and likely would be welcome back if he wants one last contract. 


Top Five Priorities (No Particular Order)

Safety

Cornerback

Inside Linebacker

Center

Defensive Line

If you assume Davis' re-signing, cornerback probably falls off the list and is replaced by guard. I hate to see the wide receiver position go un-noticed, but with five guys on contract and so many holes elsewhere, the Colts likely won't spend much money on the position going forward. Eric Decker is a popular name among fans, but if the Colts address it I'd expect a mid-round draft pick.

Offensively, returning players from injury (Wayne, Dwayne Allen, Thomas) will boost the unit enough to where making "splash" moves won't be necessary. Defense is another story. The secondary that has been so good this season will be decimated prior to re-signings, and the lack of talent in the front seven will have to be addressed. The Colts can really afford to go BPA in the draft with so many needs, with WR, ILB and S as potential second-round targets. In free agency, I expect a lot of small contracts with probably just one big signing. The Colts will have $30-40 million in cap room, but have over 20 players to replace. 

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