The Indianapolis Colts have plenty of issues they must address this offseason, specifically on defense. However, could they use their first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on a running back?
It is not unthinkable for general manager Ryan Grigson ignore needs to try to draft the best player available. In 2015, he drafted receiver Phillip Dorsett when they already had T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, and Andre Johnson. They needed an offensive lineman or a pass rusher then.
The good news for Grigson this year is the Colts have so many needs. As a result, there will likely be one or two players who fit both his best player available criteria and fill a position need. One of those situations could arise at running back.
More from Indianapolis Colts
- The Indianapolis Colts Have a Brutal Road Schedule in 2019
- Who Could the Indianapolis Colts Target in Free Agency?
- Here is Where the Colts Will Pick in the First Round of the NFL Draft
- What’s Next For the Indianapolis Colts?
- Hey Kansas City, the Indianapolis Colts are Coming
Despite the Colts’ obvious needs on defense, Indianapolis needs another running back. Frank Gore just had a 1,000-yard rushing season, but he will be 34 years old in May. At some point, his body will break down, and Robert Turbin is not the long-term answer at running back.
With that in mind, this year’s running back class is strong with a handful of guys receiving first round grades. The Colts could grab one of those first round running backs with the 14th or 15th pick overall (coin flip at the NFL combine will decide the exact pick).
In recent mock drafts, NFL analysts and draft experts believe running back will be the Colts’ focus in the first round. Florida State running back Dalvin Cook has been listed by some while others believe LSU‘s Leonard Fournette will be Indianapolis’ pick. Both can fit in the team’s offense.
Cook is the more versatile back of the two prospects. He is a threat to reach the end zone on the ground and through the air. He has the power to break tackles and the speed to turn five-yard runs into long touchdown runs. He can also down the same as a receiver out of the backfield.
Meanwhile, Fournette would be a younger, more explosive version of Gore. Like Gore, he will run through tacklers rather than try to run around them. The Colts’ offense already caters to a power running back so the adjustment from Gore to Fournette should be minimal.
Honestly, it is not a bad idea for Grigson to take either guy. Both guys are early first round talents, and they fit a position need. Also, if he really does not want to draft a defensive player in the first round, running back is the only offensive position that logically makes sense for the Colts.
It is not a terrible idea for the Colts to take a running back in the first round. There should be at least one good running back available for them to take midway through the first round.
Obviously, this strategy can change based on what they decide to do in free agency. They have $59 million in cap space to use on their own players and out in the open market.
Whatever they choose to do, one thing is certain: they will find their running back of the future this offseason.