Last year, the Colts were in desperate need of a left tackle. And late in the first round, they passed on Rodger Saffold. With hindsight, Bill Polian was pissed. In our Indy draft preview, I ask Joe Baker from 18 To 88 if the team will learn from its mistake in 2011…

1. After screwing up and not taking a tackle in the first round last year, the Colts have to go tackle with their first-round pick this year, right?

I’m certainly hoping Indy picks up a new starting left tackle in the first round, but the Colts’ philosophy leans strongly to the value side of the need-versus-value spectrum. Reviewing the history of Colts first rounders it’s clear that while the Colts do address needs they have no reservations about ignoring their biggest need to take a player they rank higher at a position of lesser need. While Bill Polian said publicly they made a mistake drafting Jerry Hughes over Rodger Saffold, his comments were clear that he sees it as a mistake in their scouting of Saffold, rather than a problem with their philosophy.

2. What other positions of need should they look to address in this draft?

The Colts have most of the pieces of an excellent defensive line with three dangerous pass rushers in Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis and Jerry Hughes, effective penetrators on the interior in Fili Moala and Eric Foster, but they lack a defensive tackle who can hold the middle consistently. Indy won’t be running against their philosophy to drop an immobile behemoth in the middle of the line. Adding a stout defensive tackle who can support the middle on early downs then yield to better rushers in passing situations would give the Colts a fantastic D-line rotation. Getting a quality safety behind Antoine Bethea and Melvin Bullitt is also a major concern, but is unlikely to be addressed in the first since this class doesn’t have any top-caliber safety prospects. The interior line has some promise for improving without adding players, but the Colts would benefit from adding more talent there.

3. Any specific players you have in mind for that 22nd pick?

At offensive tackle, Gabe Carimi, Anthony Castonzo, Nate Solder and Derek Sherrod all fit the Colts preference for smart, experienced players. Corey Liuget and Stephen Paea look like possibilities at defensive tackle. Of course, there’s a good chance none of those six will be the pick. Especially in the first round, the Colts picks have a tendency to surprise, while still making sense.