A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
The Colts find themselves in unfamiliar territory: mediocrity. For just the second time since the NFL re-aligned, the Colts did not post a winning record in 2015. Colts fans are not used to missing the postseason. Free agency did not bring the team much improvement. They did not sign big names in March (like they tried to last year) because they have to prepare financially for signing Andrew Luck to his first significant contract.
That leaves the team's numerous holes to be addressed through the draft. The most glaring of those needs is strengthening the defensive front, which was 8th worst in rushing yards/game and 10th worst in sacks generated. Since all of the Day 1 candidates they have met with are defensive players, the team looks ready to break with their normal offense-focus in the first round. And so, that's why with the 18th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts are selecting A'Shawn Robinson.
Robinson brings an instant upgrade to the Colts' run defense and is versatile enough to slide over to DE and rush the passer when needed. He can play all three downs and can play anywhere along the line, which creates much-needed flexibility. He may not have the highest ceiling of the defensive linemen available at #18, but he his combination of size, speed, and strength will bring the most immediate impact. Robinson should be a productive player for a long time.
Mock Draft Order:
7. 49ers - DL DeForest Buckner, Oregon
8. Eagles - CB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida
9. Buccaneers - DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
10. Giants - OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
11. Bears - LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia
12. Saints - DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
13. Dolphins - LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
14. Raiders - CB Mackenzie Alexander, Clemson
15. Rams - QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State