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Colts think they found value in second, third rounds

The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- Without a first-round pick, the Indianapolis Colts came away from the first two days of the 2014 NFL draft with a versatile offensive lineman who can play guard, tackle or center and a speedy wide receiver with good size.

Former Ohio State starting tackle Jack Mewhort got the call as the 59th overall pick in the draft. Indianapolis had traded its first-round pick to Cleveland last year in exchange for running back Trent Richardson, so Mewhort going in the second round was the Colts' first overall selection of the draft.

Ex-Ole Miss wide receiver Donte Moncrief, meanwhile, was Indianapolis' pick in the third round as the 90th player selected overall. The physical 6-foot-2, 224-pound Moncrief is expected to give Colts quarterback Andrew Luck yet another deep receiving threat and helps to improve the overall depth at wide receiver.

"Finally got to make a pick," Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson joked at the end of the third round. "It was interesting though. We just got to sit there (during the first round) all dressed up with no place to go. We were sitting there watching everyone come off (the draft board).

"But it's still good to go through the process and just get a feel for the guys coming off and setting your board, getting everything lined up for (Friday)."

Mewhort earned first-team All-Big Ten Conference and All-America honors as a senior. He earned an invitation to the Senior Bowl, where he saw work at both offensive tackle positions. As a junior and senior at Ohio State, Mewhort worked as a left offensive tackle.

"Jack is someone who was a highly recruited guy (for college). He was a center in high school at 6-6, which is pretty unique. But he had really good film at multiple positions. We thought he played well at guard. And we thought he played well at tackle as well," Grigson said.

"And at the Senior Bowl was the moment we thought that, wow, this Mewhort guy might rise after that game. We were really happy. We really had him earmarked for a long time. We're really happy that we have him. I think he brings versatility, toughness, strength. Played at a high level at a high-level program where they're used to winning. So I think he fits our culture very well."

The 6-foot-6, 309-pound offensive lineman had an outstanding senior season for the Buckeyes, leading the Big Ten with 24 blocks that resulted in touchdowns. Mewhort -- a Toledo, Ohio, native -- also had 115 knockdown blocks.

Colts offensive line coach Joe Gilbert had worked him out prior to the draft and had remained in contact in recent weeks.

"He has played them all (offensive line positions). We'll get him in here and we'll figure it out. We'll find him a spot to start out and let him go to work. He's a damned good football player," head coach Chuck Pagano said.

"He's big, he's tough and he's smart. He loves football, fits our culture, fits our environment. He'll be great in our locker room. What I like is he's got nasty. He's tough. Extremely excited to have him on board."

Mewhort is expected to push for playing time at either guard spots as a rookie. Indianapolis returns Donald Thomas and Hugh Thornton from last year's squad, although Thomas missed most of the season with injuries. The Colts also added former Chicago Bears offensive guard Lance Louis as a free agent after the 2013 season concluded.

"I thought I had a good workout (with Indianapolis). But on draft day anything can happen," Mewhorst said Friday night. "Being drafted at all is a huge compliment. And then to go to a team that's right up the street from my hometown and one state over is just awesome.

"I know they've got a great organization and a pretty young team. When I got on the phone with (Pagano), he told me that they're trying to win championships. So that's always something that I've wanted to be a part of. So I'm really excited."

Moncrief, meanwhile, was still available in the third round despite being rated as a potential second-round draft pick. The Colts were happy to see him still on the board.

"He was the one of the highest-rated guys on our board. The size, the speed, the production in the SEC. He was still an underclassman (came out for the draft as a junior). You're talking about a guy who had a 16-yard average (per catch) in his SEC career. He blocks. He had 10 touchdowns as a sophomore, six this year," Grigson explained.

"He's a guy that's done a lot at a high level and he's still young. He's still got some things to learn. But you can't teach 6-2, 220 and runs 4.3. He's a worker too. He doesn't say much. We interviewed him at the combine. Great kid. He'll come in here and work and learn. We're excited to have him because we feel like he has tremendous upside."
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