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2013 NFL Draft primer: Indianapolis Colts

SMU defensive lineman Margus Hunt runs a drill

SMU defensive lineman Margus Hunt runs a drill during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. (Feb. 25, 2013) Credit: AP

The first round of the 2013 NFL Draft kicks off on April 25, and every team will look to build for both present and future. This is the 23rd in a two-a-day, 30-part series that looks at each team and which potential first-round picks would be a good fit.


2012 record: 11-5

Key offseason acquisitions:

LaRon Landry, safety

Gosder Cherilus, tackle

Darrius Heyward-Bey, wide receiver

Aubrayo Franklin, defensive tackle

Erik Walden, linebacker

Key offseason departures:

Dwight Freeney, defensive end

Austin Collie, wide receiver

Donnie Avery, wide receiver

Jerraud Powers, cornerback

Winston Justice, tackle

Tom Zbikowski, safety

Biggest holes in roster: Defensive end, defensive tackle.

After a surprising 2012 campaign, the Colts made a few moves that could put them over the top in 2013. They bolstered their young offense with speedy wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey and right tackle Gosder Cherilus, and added ex-Jet safety LaRon Landry to help out on defense.

Still, they cut ties with longtime pass-rusher Dwight Freeney, leaving a big void at defensive end. They did sign ex-Chargers DT Aubrayo Franklin to help improve their 28th-ranked run defense, but they could still use a young nose tackle to help clog inside running lanes.

Luckily, there are plenty of options at both positions. The most intriguing option is SMU's Margus Hunt. Hunt is a former World Junior Championship gold medalist in the shot put and discus. He has a freakish combination of size (6-8, 277 pounds), speed (4.60 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the Combine, tied for third-best among defensive linemen) and strength (38 reps on the bench press, tied for the most at any position). Hunt recorded 28 sacks and 17 blocked kicks in four years with the Mustangs. He's one of the older prospects in the draft at age 25, and he can disappear for a while after making a big play. If he can find some consistency, he could be a J.J. Watt-type nightmare for opponents.

If the Colts are looking for a more versatile lineman, UCLA's Datone Jones could be their guy. Jones had a good senior season, totaling 62 tackles (19 for a loss) and 5 1/2 sacks. At 6-4 and 283 pounds, he has the size to play defensive tackle and enough speed to play outside, though he's not quite the speed rusher that Freeney was. Jones' versatility alone is worth drafting.

As many options as the Colts have at defensive end, there are even more at defensive tackle. Alabama's Jesse Williams, UNC's Sylvester Williams and Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins should all be on the board at No. 24. All three are similar in that they project as powerful nose tackles in a 3-4, the same scheme the Colts use. Indy can't really go wrong with any one of these three.

New York Sports