- Matt Williamson, ESPN.com
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Starting Sunday and running through April 18, "SportsCenter" will put every NFL team with a first-round pick "On the Clock." Scouts Inc. will break down each team and look at what questions still need answering, including a look at the Colts, one of two teams that do not own a pick in the first round of the 2008 NFL draft.
The Indianapolis Colts continue to be one of the most complete teams in the league, but they fell short of their goal of back-to-back championships. After talk of retirement, head coach Tony Dungy will return as the Colts will open the Lucas Oil Stadium this season. They'll be armed with a very similar team as last season's. Bill Polian and the Colts' front office have been noticeably quiet in free agency this offseason; they chose to keep their own potential free agents off the market and give themselves valuable depth at several positions. Polian is known for building his team through the draft, and this year will be no exception. With all the major pieces in place, including the highly regarded and experienced coaching staff, the Colts will be among the AFC's best teams.
The Colts secured depth at several positions by locking up players who were headed for free agency while restructuring other contracts. Getting safety Bob Sanders, tight end Dallas Clark and guard Ryan Lilja inked were the top priorities and the highest-profile players retained offseason. Most of the Colts' key additions should come from this year's draft.
Indianapolis did lose a few players this offseason, but most were backups and not a big part of the Colts' overall success. DT Dan Klecko, DE Josh Thomas and LB Rocky Boiman provided valuable depth and contributed on special teams, but they will likely be replaced with players from the draft and free agents. The loss of guard Jake Scott hurts a little more. He will be replaced by third-year player Charlie Johnson, and this position will be watched closely.
There aren't many questions to be answered. There's always speculation of how well the explosive Colts offense would operate without future Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning. Could Jim Sorgi step in and move the offense if Manning were to go down, or should the Colts' front office consider acquiring another quarterback to groom? The interior depth in the offensive line likely should be addressed with a versatile player who could back up 33-year-old center Jeff Saturday as well as help fill a void left by the departure of Scott. Depth at defensive end continues to be a question, as there clearly was a drop-off pressuring the quarterback when Dwight Freeney was out with an injury. Does the Colts' interior defensive line have enough playmakers, or would an additional tackle with great quickness bolster this position? Though TJ Rushing flashed effectiveness as a returner, the addition of an explosive athlete to the Indianapolis special teams could take it to another level.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.
3dEric D. Williams
2dMel Kiper Jr.
2dEric D. Williams