Colts Conclude their 2012 OTAs Today

Today the Indianapolis Colts held their tenth and final Organized Team Activity (OTAs) of the offseason.  Yesterday was the final media availability, and according to those in attendance the receivers made quite an impact.  Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, and rookie tight end Dwayne Allen had very good days. 

The very fact that Reggie Wayne is participating in OTAs this year is impressive.  He usually works out on his own in Miami, but this year he was at the team activities.  The playbook is new for the first time in Reggie’s career, and thus he has to put in time learning the offense.  But also I think he is there partly to be a team leader.  For his entire career, Peyton Manning and Jeff Saturday were the leaders of the offense.  Both of them are gone.  Wayne is the longest tenured Colts player on the offense.  He has to be a leader this year, and I am confident he can be and will be.  In fact, he has been for years, but there were others.  Now, he is the veteran.  The returning starters on the offense look to be Wayne, Austin Collie, Anthony Castonzo, and Donald Brown. 

Collie is an incredible talent, if he can stay healthy.  It looks as if Collie will play opposite Wayne, with Donnie Avery in the slot.  At least at OTAs, that is.

Some more notes from yesterday’s practice:

From George Bremer (@gmbremer):

Big day for WR Austin Collie, who made a pair of nice catches in the end zone.

It was also a good day for Reggie Wayne, who caught several TDs and made the play of the day on a ball that was tipped multiple times.

TE Dwayne Allen also made a nice grab in the end zone on a pass that was tipped by OLB Jerry Hughes.

Other topics of interest: RB Donald Brown will be an every down back according to Pagano and competition is high at CB.

Pagano said the CB situation won’t truly begin to sort itself out until the pads come on in training camp.

[Cornerback Kevin Thomas] looked good in drills today, including an interception during red-zone work.

@GoHorse88 On defense, Hughes filled in for Freeney and Eads played in Conner’s likely spot. Powers and Thomas at CB, with Johnson nickel.

From Tom James (@TribStarTJames):

Sitting out Wednesday’s OTA session: ACastanzo, BIjalana, THilton, JSnow, DNevis, DCaldwell, BJackson, CFleener, DLegree, DCarter.

Rookie TE Coby Fleener is sitting out this week’s OTA workouts due to finals week at Stanford. Fleener is a graduate student.

From Mike Chappell (@mchappell51):

Reggie Wayne hasn’t gotten together with Colts QB Andrew Luck yet, but they will after next week’s minicamp and before training camp

Colts WR Austin Collie shared dinner with Andrew Luck recently. One aspect of developing chemistry.

And last but not least, from Phil B. Wilson (@pwilson24):

#Colts rookie TE Dwayne Allen catches TD pass off deflection, goes airborne for chest bump from OG Mike McGlynn.

The Colts will have a mandatory mini-camp next week June 12-14.  All players will attend, including Mr. Andrew Luck (no, he does NOT have to be under contract to attend, contrary to some reports.  A deal very well may be signed by that point, however).  On June 13 the practice will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium and will be free to the public from 11:30 to 6:00.  It will also include a select-a-seat season ticket promotion.  For details head here.

Colts Sign George Foster, Release Ryan Mahaffey

The Indianapolis Colts today signed free agent offensive tackle Geogre Foster and released fullback Ryan Mahaffey.  Foster (6-5, 338 pounds) was a first round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2003 but failed to meet expectations.  Following his time in Denver in which he started 57 of 68 career games from 2003-2006, he started 12 games for the Detroit Lions from 2007 through 2008.  That was the last time he has played in an NFL game.  He spent some time with Cleveland in 2009, Omaha of the United Football League in 2010 and the New Orleans Saints in 2011, but did not appear in a game.

Mahaffey was signed by the Colts from the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad in 2011.  He had one reception for five yards in five games played for Indy.

With the release of Mahaffey and the trade that sent Chris Gronkowski to Denver, the Colts now have zero fullbacks on their roster.  The spot will likely be filled by the 3rd tight end, which right now is an undecided position.  The first two tight ends figure to be rookies Coby Fleener (2nd round) and Dwayne Allen (3rd round).

Colts Sign TE Andre Smith, Waive CB Mike Holmes

The Indianapolis Colts made a roster move today, announcing that the team has signed yet another tight end, Andre Smith.  Smith was signed by the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent a year ago out of Virginia Tech.  The 23-year-old Smith is 6-5, 267 pounds and is the 7th TE on the Colts roster.  Brody Eldridge, Dominique Jones, Kyle Miller, Justin Snow, and rookies Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen are the others. 

To make room for Smith, the Colts released cornerback Mike Holmes.  So, basically, the Colts added a position which they had plenty of and got rid of a position which they desperately need.  Holmes spent his Colts career as a practice squad player after being signed last year.  This continues to show that the Colts are expecting to get solid contribution from undrafted free agent corners Buddy Jackson and Antonio Fenelus.  Holmes was not a good player, but getting rid of him for another tight end makes little sense.

Back to Smith, he is going to have a hard time earning a spot on the 53 man roster.  Fleener, Allen, and Snow are all locks to make the team.  While the Colts could potentially keep 6 tight ends, I do not see them keeping 7.  What I do know is that Brody Eldridge better get the message quick that his spot on the team is all but secure, or else come September, he will no longer be a Colt.

Recapping the Indianapolis Colts’ 2012 NFL Draft

DRAFT GRADES:

1-1: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford – A+

            6-1, 234 pounds

No explanation needed.  Best prospect since John Elway. 

2-34: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford – A

            6-6, 247 pounds

Luck’s teammate at Stanford, he is a very good pass catcher and a tremendous red zone target.  A more athletic Dallas Clark, according to Bill Polian. 

3-64: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson – B

            6-3, 255 pounds

The second best TE in the draft, but the most complete.  Solid receiver and blocker.  Good for two tight end sets.  Bill Polian compared him to Marcus Pollard.

 3-92**: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Florida International – C+

            5-10, 183 pounds

Very fast and quick, good on screens and other catch-and-run situations, very good returner.  Didn’t give up too much in trade, but cost Colts a good defensive talent. 

5-136: Josh Chapman, NT, Alabama – A-

            6-1, 316 pounds

Great pick.  Chapman is a force up front and could be a very solid starting NT for the Colts… tough guy, played half of last season on torn ACL… great 5th round get for the Colts.

5-170*: Vick Ballard, RB, Mississippi State – C

            5-10, 219 pounds

A power running back who will help with the Colts efforts to become a power run team.  A bit of a reach in the 5th round in my opinion, but decent player.

 6-206*: LaVon Brazill, WR, Ohio – C-

            5-11, 192 pounds

Another speed receiver who can contribute on special teams, he must first make the team in training camp.  Could give the Colts good depth at the position. 

7-208: Justin Anderson, OT, Georgia – C-

            6-4, 335 pounds

A project player who could be developed into a solid lineman.  Can play either tackle or guard and he will likely play guard in Indy.  Solid depth player right now.

 7-214: Tim Fugger, DE, Vanderbilt – D

            6-3, 248 pounds

A hard hitting defensive end, Fugger (pronounced Few-ger) will probably not see the field much next year, and that is considering he makes the team.  Could provide good special teams play, however. 

7-253*: Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois – C

            6-1, 220 pounds

Mr. Irrelevant.  The Colts had both the first and last picks in the draft, and they took a quarterback with both of them.  Harnish could be a good backup QB for the Colts, and is a good player.  

 * Compensatory pick

** TRADE: Colts trade 4th round pick (97th overall) and 5th round pick in 2013 to San Francisco 49ers for the 92nd overall pick

 

BEST PICK:  Andrew Luck (1st)

WORST PICK:  Tim Fugger (7th)

BEST VALUE:  Josh Chapman (5th)

WORST VALUE:  Vick Ballard (5th)

OVERALL GRADE:  B+

The Colts draft was very good at the top, grabbing starters in Luck, Fleener, and Allen, while Hilton and Chapman could possibly be starting by the end of the year.  The last few picks were not very good, but those picks are for the most part to gain depth.  With the picks that pay immediate dividends, the Colts did excellent.  I would call this a successful draft for new GM Ryan Grigson, however I question the decision to only take 2 defensive players out of 10 picks. 

REMAINING NEEDS:

The only real need the Colts have right now is at corner back.  Currently, it would be Jerraud Powers and Chris Rucker starting.  Powers is a good player but is injury prone.  I have high hopes for Rucker, but he is not yet a capable starter.  Every other position for the most part will be more than capable of producing decent play and holding over until next year’s draft.  This roster is not as bad as I thought it would be.  But there is still much room to improve.

Round 3, Pick 64: Colts Select TE Dwayne Allen

In the first surprise by the Colts in the 2012 draft, the Colts took Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen with the first pick in the 3rd round. 

Allen was widely viewed as the second best tight end in the draft, and is viewed as the most complete tight end in the draft (good blocker and receiver).  

Allen is 6-4, 255 pounds and will be a good complement to Coby Fleener. 

I think this gives us some insight into what the Colts want to do.  First off, Andrew Luck loves throwing to the tight end, so the Colts have gotten him two.  Secondly, this maybe shows us that the Colts will run quite a bit of two tight end packages next year.

This pick was a big surprise to me.  But I do not neccessarily think it was bad.  The Colts have so many needs, and they added tight end depth.  And also, if the Colts do run two-tight packages, this was neccessary.  The Colts clearly have a direction, and I am happy with that.  I would have gone defense if it were me, but I do not know where the Colts are going.  They know what direction they are headed.  And this give some real insight into what their plans are.

 One thing is certain, however: Andrew Luck is a happy man tonight.  

Check out some Dwayne Allen highlights on You Tube.

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