After an impassioned speech by Bill Polian in protest of the rising value of rookie contracts and their franchise crippling effects, the 32 NFL GMs agree to allow time to expire on every pick of the first day of the draft, eliminating all of the picks in the first two rounds. As the draft's first day nears it's end and the Colts come onto the clock for the first time at #59. Polian leaps from his seat, laughing manicically with an index card in hand he reaches NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell at the Podium and hands him the card, as all the other GMs look on in stunned silence. "With the 1st pick in the NFL draft the Indianapolis Colts select..."
Who's name is on the card? Here are my best guesses;
1. Glenn Dorsey (reasoning for first five picks here)
2. Sedrick Ellis
3. Chris Long
4. Vernon Gholston
5. Jake Long
6. Keith Rivers, Phenomenal athlete with great football intelligence and size. Can cover, run stop and showed blitzing ability in limited attempts. Fast enough to run step for step with any TE. Needs a little polish in zone coverage, but has all the tools and solid ability already. Not a big hitter, but rarely misses tackles. Main concern is that he will never be an elite player, just very good for a long time. Keiaho shifts to SLB and Hagler is benched/not resigned once Rivers is ready.
7. Darren McFadden, Fumble and character concerns have me a little down on him. He's best suited for a tandem attack which he will be in with the Colts. Explosive runner with breakway speed to contrast Addai's consistent "low risk, medium reward" run style. McFadden is a receiving threat and solid blocker. His throwing ability makes gadget plays an option, but those aren't a common sight in the Colts offense. Just make sure someone remembers to leave some condoms in his locker.
8. Derrick Harvey, a top speed rusher with ok size, Harvey is compared to Dwight Freeney. He uses speed around the edge to get to the QB with regularity. He gets overpowered too much in the run game, but is improving. Pursues and tackles well. As close to cloning Freeney and sticking him on the left side as you'll find this year.
9. Jonathan Stewart, the top power back of the draft, Stewart is a massive 5'11" 235. Runs through defenders and has no fear of (actually seems to enjoy) contact. No fumble concerns. He showed soft hands on screens, but wasn't used often as a receiver otherwise. Has the tools to be a elite pass blocker, but was rarely asked to block so his ability is mostly unknown. A bit of a risk since his skills in two of the most important Colts RB traits are uncertain. He will
10. Rashard Mendenhall, a power runner with good athleticism. Mendenhall has great hands and is a experienced pass blocker, although he needs to continue improving technique in that area. The history of Big-Ten vs Pac-Ten backs broke the virtual tie. A piece I can't find now that I think was at Pro-Football-Reference.com makes a convincing case that Big Ten RBs are often overrated compared to Pac-10 backs, likely by the conferences opposite pas-run leanings (less pronounced now than traditionally, but still present). This gives the Big Ten runners large yardage totals that wrongly take precedence over running efficiently. (They also make the case for Big Ten QBs and WRs over those of the Pac 10 on the same line of reasoning).