ROUND 5 pick 136: Josh Chapman, DT – Alabama
They finally drafted a defensive player with this pick. This guy is a 316-pound nose tackle that anchored the defensive line for Alabama’s National Championship team this season. To be able to draw consistent double teams on the best team in college football makes you a pretty tough dude. What makes this guy more impressive is that he played the second half of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee! Dang! Now I don’t know what you think qualifies someone as a bad ass but in my book, yep, that will pretty much do it. He had surgery to repair the ligament the week after they won the BCS championship and is on track to be ready for training camp. If he gets back healthy and you pair him with last year’s rookie Drake Nevis and free agent addition Cory Redding, I think our D- line has a chance to be formidable a little ahead of schedule. Which is nice.
ROUND 5 pick 170: Vick Ballard, RB – Mississippi State
He was a JUCO transfer and two-year starter for MSU. I will admit I had never heard of him until this year’s scouting combine and it was not for a good reason. See ‘vick ballard combine’ on YouTube when you have a second. Ouch. After hearing his name called on Saturday I remembered who he was instantly. He had a very productive career in the SEC and is a versatile three down back. He doesn’t blow people away with his straight line speed but I watched a draft recap with Michael Lombardi of the NFL network and he thinks Ballard has the chance to be a huge steal for us and feels he’s better than any of the backs we already have on our roster. I was pretty impressed with the production we got from Delone Carter as a rookie last year, and I thought Donald Brown took a nice step forward so for him to say that about Ballard makes me optimistic for our ground game this year.
ROUND 6 pick 206: LaVon Brazill, WR – Ohio
We are now entering the part of the draft where I had to look people up online. I thought making it to the 6th round before I had to do that was pretty good. Brazill is another small and quick receiver like our 3rd round pick Hilton. He can be a deep threat and also offer potential in the return game. He ran a 4.4 40 at the combine and I have felt for years that, as a team, we were pretty slow compared to a lot of other teams in the league. I’m all for bringing in as many fast guys as we can find, and it looks like that is exactly what Brazill brings to the table.
ROUND 7 pick 208: Justin Anderson, OG – Georgia
This guy is a listed at over 340 pounds, so it appears the need to get bigger on the offensive line was addressed. He played tackle as a senior at Georgia but is listed as a guard, so he could provide depth at both positions. The University of Georgia website also says he played some defensive tackle his junior year so seems to be pretty versatile. He’s a guy that big, this late in the draft? Sure, why not.
ROUND 7 pick 214: Tim Fugger, OLB – Vanderbilt
This is another guy who looks like he’ll play a different position at the next level. He was a 6’3″ 250-pound defensive end in college but will most likely be asked to stand up as an outside linebacker in the 3-4. The transition should be pretty easy as he ran a 4.6 40 at his pro day and is already bigger than most linebackers we have had in the past. Had a nice senior season recording 7.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss. He was named second team All-SEC which, if you are unaware, is generally considered the top defensive conference in college football. He may not be an immediate starter or anything but should have time to develop and learn while helping out on special teams.
ROUND 7 pick 253 & “Mr. Irrelevant”: Chandler Harnish, QB – Northern Illinois
Rarely does a team have the first pick overall and the last pick overall. I think it happened one other time, but it’s not important enough for me to look it up right now. I do know that the same team had never drafted a QB first in the draft and last in the draft until this weekend. Kind of a cool side-note to end the draft, if you ask me. You don’t have to ask me, I wrote this on my own anyway. Sure you were the dead last person taken but still got to hear your name called in the draft, which is better than being an undrafted free agent. You also get a parade in your honor during ‘Mr. Irrelevant Week’ in Newport Beach, CA. I’m told it’s a tad bit nicer there this time of year than central Indiana if you can believe that. You also get a paid vacation to Disneyland, which has to be every aspiring 23 year-old NFL players dream-come-true. In the case of Mr. Harnish, you also get to come back home and play for your favorite team growing up. Chandler is from Bluffton in northeast Indiana outside of FT. Wayne. He was a 4 year starter at Northern Illinois and set many school records along the way. Obviously the Colts drafted their starter for the future at the top of this draft, but he has to like his chances of making the team as a 2nd or 3rd string backup. Since the four QB’s from last year’s roster have all moved on, I’d say he has a good opportunity to realize his dream. Good for him.
Overall I would say this years’ draft was a good start on the path to building the Colts into a contender again. I am not naïve enough to think we will win 10 games next season, but I am also not convinced we will suck as bad as most people in the national media want to think we will. There are still undrafted and veteran free agents on the market who could supplement the draft picks and come in to compete for playing time. If we can find another linebacker and a corner or two, I think it would certainly help the cause. We will not be able to truly judge what the new regime is doing until we see the product on the field, but, at this point, I will say I like the direction we’re headed. Heck, after last year’s debacle of a season I’d be happy with a little progress and a little promise moving forward. Make it happen fellas. Guys like me who have a football problem need you to. Go Horse!!