Chris Ballard took over as the Indianapolis Colts’ general manager and will have a lot of work to do to turn the franchise back into a Super Bowl contender. Just a few short years ago, the Colts were one of the top up-and-coming teams in the NFL. That has changed, but Ballard has a good chance to put Indianapolis back on the map in the AFC.
One of the areas that Ballard may choose to improve is the running back position. Frank Gore is a good back, but he isn’t getting any younger and will not be a long-term option.
Looking ahead at the 2017 NFL Draft, the Colts could get their long-term running back with the No. 14 overall pick.
Brad Weiss of FanSided and many other mock drafts have listed Florida State running back Dalvin Cook as a likely target for the Colts. Cook has superstar potential and would completely change the outlook for the Colts’ offense. He would take pressure off of Andrew Luck’s shoulders and would finally give Indianapolis the workhorse back that they have been needing.
Last season with the Seminoles, Cook ended up carrying the football 288 times for 1,765 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also caught 22 passes for 203 yards on the season.
Adding those numbers to the Colts’ backfield would give them a much-needed playmaker. He is capable of grinding out tough yards on the ground, but can also make huge plays each time he touches the football. Cook is without question one of the top playmakers in the entire draft class.
At 5-foot-11 and 213 pounds, Cook has the necessary size to stand up to the grind of the NFL. His work ethic has been well-documented throughout his college career and that is what makes most analysts think he will end up being a star at the next level.
Indianapolis may choose to address the defensive side of the football with their first round pick. Ballard will likely be aggressive in free agency looking for defensive help, but there is a lot of work to be done. Drafting a running back may not be as high of a priority with Gore playing at least one more season with the Colts.
Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how the Colts attack the upcoming offseason. After moving on from Ryan Grigson, there is finally optimism surrounding the franchise.
Jim Irsay has to feel good about the way his team is set up for the upcoming offseason. They have quite a bit of cap space to spend and should get a big piece in the draft. Cook would allow the Colts to flip Gore in a trade, which could net them another piece or two.
So to answer the question, is Cook the right option for the Colts in the first round of the 2017 draft? Yes. He would add exactly what the offense needs to take the next step and balance out.
There is a chance that Cook doesn’t last to the No. 14 pick in the draft. A few teams ahead of the Colts could use some help at the running back position. One of those teams, the Carolina Panthers, are widely expected to draft Leonard Fournette according to most mock drafts.
All of that being said, Cook seems to be growing as a candidate for the Colts in the first round. If they do end up taking him, Cook will be a star in Indianapolis for years to come. Fans may prefer defense, but Cook will win over the critics early on in his career.
Do you think the Indianapolis Colts should select Dalvin Cook in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft? Which other prospects do you think the Colts should target? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Mark Wallheiser/AP Images]