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Colts War-room FFMD ‘21


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Posted (edited)

Next Update (through 5 rounds):

1.21 Kwity Paye - DE - Michigan

2.22 Jalen Mayfield - OT - Michigan

4.22 D'Ante Smith - OT - East Carolina

5.21 Deommodore Lenoir - CB - Oregon

6.22 Cornell Powell - WR - Clemson 

7.20 Shane Buechele - QB - SMU

I have yet to trade up or down. Did at least inquire a couple times but either didn't get offers or didn't like the value in return. The highlights that are worth explaining...

Back-to-back OTs. ?? Well I was thinking ahead as GM. Looked to expiring contracts and realized that currently set to expire after 2021 include Q.Nelson, Sam Tevi, Glowinski, and Braden Smith. Also T.Y. Hilton and Darius Leonard. That's 4 of 5 from our current projected starting OL.

So my thoughts were obviously we'll be tying a TON of money up in Leonard and Quenton Nelson (probably also helps explain why we weren't slightly more active during this year's FA). On top of that if all goes well Wentz will be entering the final year of his deal in 2022. QB's tend to get their new deal a year early, and we already know he can be sensitive. So if we end up re-signing Leonard, Nelson, and Wentz that is a boatload of cap space. Translation: despite the fact we all love what Braden Smith brings to the team it is possible cap implications will prevent us from hanging onto him. I'm guessing he'll command at least $10M AAV (average annual value) after 2021. The combination of that reality and the fact I actually believed at pick 4.22 that an argument could be made D'Ante Smith was the true BPA made me pull the trigger on that selection. I could foresee our starting 2022 OL from L-R being D.Smith-Nelson-Kelly-???-Mayfield. I believe in both Mayfield and Smith that much. In the 1-V-1's from the senior bowl you can see Smith play from different positions. But most impressive to me, he's listed at only 294lbs currently, but watch his natural anchor ability on the tackle reps. Nobody seems to get any push on him. And he has some fluid feet. I think in after a year in the strength program the team can make this guy a starter with improved strength and coaching. He's widely considered a sleeper. Opened a lot of eyes at the senior bowl after not playing in 2020.

 

CB Deommodore Lenoir. I like him. He was definitely on a 5 name big-board approaching my pick at 5.21. To be honest I was leaning towards another name first, until I did some more research and found out that we have actually interviewed him. So the real front office has some interest for sure. Beyond that, at least one reporter mentioned that while he had interviewed with four teams at this particular event, he believed the Colts showed a "special interest", whatever that means. Anyways it did have the effect of pushing him from 3-4 on my big board up to the top spot at that point, especially since a couple other CB's I had my eye on had been snagged in the 10 or so picks leading up to ours. I think a lot of what the Colts hoped they were getting with Rock Ya-Sin is present in Lenoir's game as well. He's very feisty, shows an ability in both man and zone, and brings an aggressiveness both in the run game and at the catch point. He might be a quality sleeper in this draft. Listed somewhere between 5'10 1/2" and 5'11 1/2". So he's an inch or two shorter than you'd prefer, but I guess that's why he's available at 5.21 as opposed to snagged before 5.1

 

We have 2 picks remaining in this draft. While I am likely to spend such late picks on a true BPA approach, I'd be happy to hear opinions on what you all think our two biggest remaining positions of concern should be. 

 

Edited by RTTRUTH
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I don’t necessarily agree with the idea of letting B. Smith walk but that argument is not relevant to 2021 or this exercise.

Are you suggesting we go into 2021 with Sam Tevi (or Davenport?) starting at LT and having both Mayfield and D. Smith as backups who take over in 2022?

I feel like BPA is best for the last 2 picks with tie breakers going to TE and WR 

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Posted (edited)
On 4/9/2021 at 3:25 PM, Wyld Stallyns said:

Are you suggesting we go into 2021 with Sam Tevi (or Davenport?) starting at LT and having both Mayfield and D. Smith as backups who take over in 2022?

No. Ideally Mayfield will win the starting LT role right out of the gate. I think D'Ante Smith is a backup this year, and Mayfield competes with Sam Tevi for the starting LT role in 2021. Ideal scenario is that Mayfield proves beyond capable of manning the left side, holds it down for all 4 years of his rookie deal, the team finds a way financially to keep Braden Smith around for a few more years and he holds the RT job. D'Ante Smith becomes a valuable swing backup. 

I think a decent and potentially more likely alternative is Tevi or Mayfield does a good job at LT in 2021. By 2022 D'Ante Smith is ready to hold down the left side, Mayfield owns the right side, and cap restrictions force the tough decision to let Braden Smith test greener pastures elsewhere.

On 4/9/2021 at 3:25 PM, Wyld Stallyns said:

I don’t necessarily agree with the idea of letting B. Smith walk but that argument is not relevant to 2021 or this exercise.

Here's the thing I should highlight. I don't want him to leave either. No Colts fan does. But in the salary cap era teams that do a good to great job of acquiring talent come upon scenarios where they simply can't afford to keep all the players they would like to. I think if all goes well with the Wentz experiment the team will be forced in one off-season to give contract extensions to the following players (and rough cap averages):

Carson Wentz (deal likely $30M + AAV[average annual value])

Quenton Nelson (deal between $17-$19M AAV)

Darius Leonard (deal between $11-$14M AAV)

If all that comes to pass, it's possible we simply won't have the cap space left to pay Braden Smith a deal averaging $12-$15 million per year. Simple mathematics. Buckner and Ryan Kelly are already highly paid too. We simply might not be able to afford him AND all the other guys we need to afford. If the team can figure it out financially, great. But I'm trying to think ahead as GM. I'm also sort of adhering to one of the beliefs PFF (ProFootballFocus) has been yelling from the mountaintops. And that is, you'd much rather be a year early replacing starting O-linemen than a year late. They used the example of the Atlanta Falcons basically forcing two first round picks in the same year (Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary). An injury and some rookie mistakes left their QB extremely vulnerable for probably two straight years at that point. But their OL was so weak and thin at that point they virtually had no choice. My vision, at least the way I see it playing out, is we don't end up in that vulnerable position. Especially with a QB that by this point we all agree needs to be protected to some degree. We don't want the 2019-2020 Philly version of Carson Wentz. So at worst we lose B.Smith but have some high potential options to fill that space. At best, we keep him anyways, have two good options (3 with Tevi?) to start at LT, and also have some quality depth with the odd man out, who by 2022 has not only had a year to get stronger in an NFL strength program, but has had a year to learn alongside Quenton Nelson and get quality coaching to iron out some of his rookie weaknesses. We would remain, in my vision, one of the 5 best OL's in the entire league. 

On 4/9/2021 at 3:25 PM, Wyld Stallyns said:

I feel like BPA is best for the last 2 picks with tie breakers going to TE and WR 

Appreciate the feedback. I agree completely. Matter of fact, between your response and my current response I spent our next pick (6.22) on Cornell Powell, a 6' WR from Clemson who runs excellent routes and probably had no business being available that late. He'll have a shot at a serious role in the offense by 2022. Might surprise early if injuries force an opening. But I like his potential as a quality #2 who approaches the game the right way.

Edited by RTTRUTH
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