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2016 NFL Mock Draft: Indianapolis Colts Select OLB Darron Lee at No. 18

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With the No. 18 pick in the 2016 DBN Community NFL Mock Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select...

Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State

The selection and write-up were made by fjblessi:

After 3 straight years of winning the AFC South and advancing further into the playoff each year, the 2015 Colts regressed to the norm and went 8 and 8.  The fall from Super Bowl contender to out of the playoffs showed the weaknesses of the roster which had been hidden by the play of their franchise QB, Andrew Luck.   The 2015 spending spree to bring in aging veterans to "put them over the top" proved to be a miserable failure as most of the additions proved that they could no longer perform to even an average NFL level.  At the end of the season it was assumed that Chuck Pagano would be let go and that the Hatfield to Pagano's McCoy, Ryan Grigson may also be let go.  Surprisingly Robert Irsay was able to get Grigson and Pagano to make up and both are back for 2016.

Looking at the roster going into the 2016 season there are needs across the board.  The most significant are on the offensive line and all three levels of the defense.  Less significantly is a loss of depth at tight end and the need for a younger RB to spell Frank Gore who proved he still had something left in 2015, but that he could no longer carry a team like he used to.

Drafting at #18, it didn't seem like there was any possibility of getting one of the 2 stud left tackles in the draft, but getting in on the 2nd tier did seem possible.  Unfortunately those hopes were dashed as both Taylor Decker and Jack Conklin were taken when the Colts came on the clock.  Improving the offensive line is still the #1 priority, but given the players currently available that is going to have to wait until round 2.  Maybe Ryan Kelly will be available, but if not Nick Martin or another solid interior blocker should be there and can be taken then.  Another promising option was Jaylon Smith, but with his medical re-check showing he would miss all of 2016 and maybe more he is no longer an option in the first round.

The focus then falls to the defensive side of the ball.  Given the Colts reluctance to take character risks many of the higher rated pass rushers (Nkemdiche, Spence, etc.) are off the board, even though the need to replace Robert Mathis is a real one.  The secondary could really use another CB to pair with all-pro Vontae Davis since Greg Toler has left so Mackensie Alexander and Eli Apple would be good fits.

That said, the highest rated player left on my board is Darren Lee and that is the pick.  Given the needs at all levels of the defense, the Colts have to take the top rated player.  Lee is an exceptional athlete, can cover the tight end from the middle linebacker position, can blitz and most importantly for Indy he is an excellent tackler.  Lee will immediately step in as a 3 down linebacker for the Colts to replace Jerrell Freeman who went to Chicago and will be a difference maker for the defense.

The Buffalo Bills are up next, led by GratefulDawg.

2016 DBN Community Mock Draft Results (so far)

Pick Team Player Position School Username
1 Los Angeles Rams Jared Goff QB California michael.hamper
2 Philadelphia Eagles Carson Wentz QB North Dakota St. Bizono
3 San Diego Chargers Jalen Ramsey DB Florida State Crawford_T
4 Dallas Cowboys Ezekiel Elliot
RB
Ohio State
Manly and Loving It
5 Jacksonville Jaguars DeForest Buckner DE Oregon Bob Stalnaker
6 Baltimore Ravens Laremy Tunsil OT Ole Miss pt_999
7 San Francisco 49ers Joey Bosa DE Ohio State apocrylle
8 Cleveland Browns Myles Jack OLB UCLA Robo Dawg
9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Vernon Hargreaves III CB Florida Ezweav
10 New York Giants Ronnie Stanley OT Notre Dame mrwhitman
11 Chicago Bears Jack Conklin OT Michigan State Barnestorm
12 New Orleans Saints Sheldon Rankins DT Louisville Rube Sports
13 Miami Dolphins William Jackson III CB Houston Brocolis154033
14 Oakland Raiders Andrew Billings DT Baylor makeaplay59
15 Tennessee Titans Taylor Decker OT Ohio State aszabo1
16 Detroit Lions Laquon Treadwell WR Ole Miss Mean Ol' Pete
17 Atlanta Falcons Shaq Lawson DE Clemson Mudville
18 Indianapolis Colts Darron Lee OLB Ohio State fjblessi
19 Buffalo Bills GratefulDawg
20 New York Jets troy145
21 Washington Redskins Greg"TheDropper"Little
22 Houston Texans Royce Groff
23 Minnesota Vikings MissinTheVicius
24 Cincinnati Bengals OhioCityBrownsBeliever
25 Pittsburgh Steelers Legoman0721
26 Seattle Seahawks Southern Cali Dog
27 Green Bay Packers Matt Wood
28 Kansas City Chiefs Ted Washington's Belly
29 Arizona Cardinals a2342432a
30 Carolina Panthers Suppa Bob
31 Denver Broncos poultman
32 Cleveland Browns Adam Rice