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Successful teams build through the draft. That isnít a confusing concept in any way. When a team can fill their roster with inexpensive young talent Youth Al Woods Jersey , they are able to build a more competitive team for the long haul. What is critical though, is that if you throw all your eggs into the basket of building in the draft and forego expensive free agent options, you have to hit in the draft. Former GM Ryan Grigson was making the calls in the draft from 2012-2016. From 5 drafts, there are now just 8 players who remain on the Coltsí roster:Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, Clayton Geathers, Denzelle Good, Ryan Kelly, LeíRaven Clark, Hassan Ridgeway, and Joe Haeg. Of those 8 players, only Luck, Hilton, and Kelly could be considered difference makers and bona fide starters. The remaining guys are average players. That kind of hit rate is debilitating, so it isnít hard to see why the Coltsí roster was awful. GM Chris Ballard has two drafts under his belt, and while it is way too early to have a real read on this 2018 draft class, we are going to run through it and grade out this yearsí picks based on their performance to the halfway point of the season. We will revisit this again at the end of the season, but even then it will be too soon to tell what weíve got exactly. Letís get to it.1st round, 6th overall: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre DamePhoto by Tim Warner/Getty ImagesChris Ballard worked a pretty great trade early in the offseason to move back 3 spots and send the Jets their 3rd overall pick. That left them picking at 6th overall, but got them 2 2nd round picks from the Jets in the 2018 draft and one in the 2019 draft as well. Even better, when the Colts time to pick arrived, there sat Quenton Nelson, who many had graded as the top talent in the draft. Ballard took him with a grin on his face and slotted in a player who has helped immediately turn the tide on an offensive line that has been struggling since the Manning Era. All Nelson has done since joining the Colts is become the first guard ever to win the Rookie Offensive Player of the Month award, and help lead the Colts to a renewed running game and limit the teamís sacks allowed to just 10 on the season. To compare, through 8 games last season, they had allowed 32.The point is, Quenton Nelson has been a major addition to an offensive line that was in desperate need of help, and he has excelled against top defensive players consistently. Grade: A2nd round, 36th overall: Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina StatePhoto by Michael Hickey/Getty ImagesWhat more is there to say about Darius Leonard that both local and national media alike havenít said already? He has been absolutely incredible. Despite missing a game this season, Leonard still leads the league in tackles, and the next closest guy is 12 behind him. He has shown improvement week-to-week, infused a new attitude into the defense, and has 3 forced fumbles which have been difference making plays, the most recent of which helped close out their last road game and allowed them to finish with the win. Leonard has been a near total surprise for everyone not in the Colts scouting room. He is the kind of player on a defense that can give them an identity and that a team can rally around. At just 23 years old, the Colts have gotten a guy who gives their defense some teeth and solidifies a position that seemed during the offseason to be almost certainly the weakest position group on the roster. This was a coup for Ballard.Grade: A2nd round, 37th overall: Braden Smith, G, AuburnPhoto by Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesThere may have been some who were shocked when the Colts doubled down on their offensive line again, but Chris Ballard was determined to keep his franchise quarterback on his feet, and selected Braden Smith next. Smith was considered by some to be the second highest guard in the draft behind only Nelson, so his acquisition seemed like a huge infusion of talent at the interior of the Coltsí offensive line. Oddly, once training camp began, we started seeing Braden Smith taking snaps at right tackle. At first, this was a point of concern. The Coltsí tackle positions started the season ravaged by injuries. As the season got under way http://www.coltsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-ryan-grant-jersey , that situation deteriorated further as JíMarcus Webb, Denzelle Good, and Joe Haeg were all lost to injuries either temporarily or for the season. Smith came in and played well, earning himself the starting position, and grading out as a solid right tackle so far. This is another big win for the team.Grade: B+2nd round, 52nd overall: Kemoko Turay, DE, RutgersPhoto by Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesColts fans were desperately hoping Ballard could bring in a difference making edge rusher to improve a defense that had gotten almost no pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Kemoko Turay has so far looked as though he could be a guy to do exactly that. Through the midpoint of the season, Turay has the second most quarterback pressures of the 2018 draft class with 25. The only player with more is Bradley Chubb with 32. The difference? Chubb has played 31% more snaps than Turay. Turay needs to develop, to be sure. He has the raw ability and needs to hone and perfect his craft so that those pressures start turning to sacks. He did, however, have a sack/fumble against the Bills that was reminiscent of the days of Robert Mathis. The Colts will need to continue to add talent up front, but Turay has a bright future ahead if he continues to grow as a player. Regardless, getting immediate production of any kind from a rookie is a positive.Grade: B+ 2nd round, 64th overall: Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio StateTyquan Lewis spent the first half of the season on IR with a toe injury. He will look to return for the back half of the schedule, and will make his debut sometime after the bye week. Grade: NA4th round, 104th overall: Nyheim Hines, RB, NC StatePhoto by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesNyheim Hines wasnít drafted to be the lead running back on the Colts roster. He was drafted to be a shifty change of pace back who could work great out of the backfield on third downs where they needed a good pass protecting back and a weapon in the passing game. Thatís exactly what they have gotten out of him so far this season. Hines has found a successful role in the offense and provides a valuable weapon situationally. Look for his role to continue to grow as he develops.Grade: B5th round, 159th overall: Reece Fountain, WR, Northern IowaChris Ballard seems to have missed on this selection. Reece Fountain has insane athletic ability and at this point in the draft, it is understandable why you might take a shot on a guy like that. It is not as though it is uncommon to miss at this stage. The Colts have spent this season cycling 5th round picks from 2016 and 2017 from other teams off and onto their practice squad. When your chances of hitting on a guy who will succeed are lower with each round, I am okay taking a shot on a guy with crazy athleticism and hoping he can develop. It seems however, that Fountain is either too raw or perhaps simply doesnít have what it takes to take the next step. He is signed to the Coltsí practice squad, so hope is not totally lost that he could get better, but given the likelihood of the Colts adding several receivers in the coming offseason, the prospects arenít good.Grade: D-5th round, 169th overall: Jordan Wilkins, RB, Ole MissPhoto by Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesJordan Wilkins is pretty much exactly what you hope for when you pick a running back at this point in the draft. He has great vision and balance, and the guy nearly always is good for positive yards. He lacks the explosiveness that Hines or Mack have, which likely limits his touches, but if you need a guy to get yards when your lead backs need a breather, Wilkins is ready to contribute. He is a solid depth player and could even stand to be used more by the Colts down the stretch. Grade: B6th round, 185th overall: Deon Cain, WR, ClemsonDeon Cain was the Coltsí training camp darling. He was a highlight reel at every practice and had fans really excited to see how he looked when the games began. Unfortunately, he was lost to an ACL tear in the preseason. Hopefully he can pick up where he left off last season.Grade: NA7th round, 221st and 235th overall: Matthew Adams, LB, Houston and Zaire Franklin, LB, SyracuseYou just donít expect much from players who are picked in the 7th round, certainly not as rookies. However, Adams and Franklin have both been getting some time with the defense Cheap Jordan Wilkins Jersey , whether it be in sub packages or due to injuries. More importantly, both play solid roles on special teams, which is exactly what 7th round picks should do. These guys arenít world beaters, and whether they ever develop into more significant role players or not is not of the utmost importance. What matters is that at this stage, they are meeting expectations for guys picked here, and they addressed a needy position on the roster as well. Grade: B-VerdictIt is really early, far too early to make real judgement about this class long term. Having said that, it appears that Chris Ballard absolutely crushed this draft. Even assuming that Tyquan Lewis and Deon Cain donít ever amount to anything, getting the level of talent and product theyíve already seen out of their rookie class is huge. With just his first and second round picks, Ballard looks to have found more difference makers than Grigson did in all his 5 years in Indy, and that gives Grigson credit for Luck, which seems generous. That is a pretty encouraging thing to look to as this team goes forward.Indianapolis Colts by the Numbers: Week 5 Offensive Stats Every week, I will present a summary of some basic and advanced stats for the Colts performance relative to the league. Thanks to Pro Football Reference, NFL.com and the nflSCrapR project for being awesome sources of weekly data.Before discussing the Colts Week 5 offense, I want to address the new roughing the quarterback rule the NFL instituted to make the game safer. A lot of fans are upset with this rule, but I think if you look at the examples from The Colts-Patriots game below, it will help explain the NFLís position. In the image on the left, the Coltsí Najee Good dangerously manhandles Tom Brady by rushing straight at him and then with the full weight of his hand, places his palm directly on the side of Bradyís helmet.A play like this could easily lead to a QB chafing a cheek or even an eye poche. Additionally, to avoid contact, Goode contorted his body and landed awkwardly on his hip which is unsafe and fully deserving of a 15 yard tack-on.Now in the image on the right, you can see 2 Patriot defenders demonstrating the proper technique. They both leave their feet and come crashing down on Andrew Luck. Notice how they wisely placed all of their body weight directly over Luck allowing Luckís rib cage and skull to gently cushion the force of their 1鈦? ton mass in free fall.This is much safer for the defenders and correctly resulted in no penalty. Also, this is not lowering the head and leading with the helmet because reasons. OFFENSEIn week 5, the Colts offense was limited to 2 field goal attempts on 6 drives in the first half for 3 points and a putrid 57% DSR.In the second half, Luck and the offense responded with 21 points and an outstanding DSR of 82%.Let me do the math: 1 half of horrible + 1 half of great = 1 game of mehAn overall 72% game DSR is good but the last drive should be discounted as the game was already over and if you take that away then the rest of the game was just a league average 68% DSR. Itís not that the Colts couldnít move the ball. There were only 2 three & outs, but turnovers killed 3 additional drives.TEAM TOTALSOverall, the numbers arenít bad. The third down yards to go was a little steep (7.4), but the offense still managed to convert those at a high rate (47% video station 38% league average).Really the only black mark is the turnovers, which killed an otherwise decent effort.PASSINGLast week, I mentioned how I hate to talk about receiver drops, but I also donít like complaining about officiating and I already did that so, what the hell.The receiver drops are getting pretty ree-god-damn-diculous. With a dozen over the last two weeks, that is an elephant in the room problem that must be addressed. Luckís ANY/A was a not very good 5.4, driven somewhat by stone-handed receivers but primarily by 2 picks, one of which was not at all his fault and another that was so much his fault that it should count twice.I have been keeping an eye on the depth of attempted passes (aDOT) which for the Coltsí first 3 weeks was laughable, but in week 4 was much improved. There is no Ďrightí number for aDOT; longer attempts arenít necessarily better (unless you are really good at completing them).Week 5 saw a continued effort to stretch the field a bit and if you want success with a dink and dunk offense, this is the kind of depth you need. Notice, however, that the week 5 yards per attempt dropped significantly. This is due to a much lower yards after catch than normal. This could be the result of injuries to primary receiving targets, but week 3 saw a similar result so maybe not.Whatever the cause, the YPA needs to improve. RUSHINGThe Colts ran the ball more in week 5, but they didnít run it any better. YPC increased from 2.4 last week to 4.0 this week but that impact didnít carry over to increased success as the weighted success rate only ticked up 4 points to about 31%. That ranks 20th which is just one spot higher than last weekís 21st ranking. The Colts only attempted 1 third down conversion by run, which was successful. That isnít good or bad in and of itself. But you certainly would like to see a game with lot of 3rd and shorts resulting in a lot of 3rd down run conversions. CONCLUSIONSI think without the receiver drops and the 3 turnovers, this would have been a much different game.The offense was showing that they could move the ball on the Patriots but the Colts kept getting in their own way. If the offense can clean up these mental errors, they have the ability to be truly good.As it is now, they are not. SEASON TOTALS (per game)



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