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NFL draft questions: Indianapolis Colts' plans change?

With the 2013 NFL Draft only weeks away, Around The League will examine one big question facing all 32 teams. Next up: The Indianapolis Colts.

What did free agency change for the Indianapolis Colts?

General manager Ryan Grigson had money to spend this season, and it burned a hole in his pocket. The Colts signed safety LaRon Landry, tackle Gosder Cherilus, linebackers Erik Walden and Lawrence Sidbury, wide receiver Darius Heyward-Bey, defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois, cornerback Greg Toler, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and guard Donald Thomas. They basically addressed every position of need.

The moves gave Grigson all kinds of flexibility in the 2013 NFL Draft. Some fans might disagree -- those who aren't exactly excited about Cherilus or Walden. Earlier this offseason, owner Jim Irsay addressed the lack of household names by tweeting, "Once upon a time,players like Saturday,Mathis,Bracket n others walked. N2 Coltsland and there were those who yawned n moaned n yelled 'WHO!'"

The team believes this group will develop into productive, consistent players.

Few mock drafts have a consensus player the Colts would take in the first round at No. 24. They might add another outside linebacker early, despite the Walden signing. Defensive end Robert Mathis is 32 years old and has 10 years in the league. He'll need to be replaced at some point.

A team never can have too much talent at cornerback these days, and the Colts don't have that so-called star.

It's always smart to give your franchise quarterback weapons. Even with the strong play of rookies T.Y. Hilton and Vick Ballard, wide receiver or running back depth helps Andrew Luck. The Green Bay Packers, for example, keep Aaron Rodgers loaded with talented receivers. Tennessee's Justin Hunter or California's Keenan Allen might be in play.

Inside linebacker is an option, and Manti Te'o played college ball three hours away.


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The 3-4 defense thrives with a dominant nose tackle, and this is a deep draft at defensive tackle. This also is a strong class along the offensive line, and Luck took a beating in 2012.

The only position that won't be an early option is quarterback.

Grigson has to be happy with the scenario. It's hard to predict what's going to be available at No. 24. Guys can slide up or down by that point of the first round. If a team is desperate at a specific position, it might be forced to pass better talent. The Colts' action in free agency truly allows for a best-player-available mindset.

Unless you're not that into the free agents the Colts signed. If that's the case, the defense and offensive line still has plenty of holes.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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