Mike Beas column April 23

Survey the assortment of NFL mock drafts, and four names hog the spotlight regarding the 29th selection of the first round.

Former Alabama strong safety Landon Collins is one. The others are recent Florida State teammates Cameron Erving, Eddie Goldman and D.J. Humphries.

All of which assures the Indianapolis Colts nothing.

While I’m confident all are high on general manager Ryan Grigson’s wish list, the truth is, with the draft still six days away, we’re doing little more than pitching darts at a faraway cork board.

Yes, Indianapolis has needs to fill, particularly on defense, in order to stride forward in its dogged pursuit of another Super Bowl title. But so do 31 other franchises, which means the only thing set in stone is nothing is set in stone.

Every year teams negotiate to move either up or down. GMs not known to give their cellphones a vacation are racking up minutes like at no other time of the year.

I’ll give you this if you give me that. And I’ll throw in this as a bonus for helping to work this deal.

The Colts might not even have the 29th pick when all is said and done. Depending on what the team’s willing to give up, Indy’s first crack at it could just as easily be the 11th pick as it could the 52nd.

Wherever it lands, it’s my opinion Indianapolis must target the best run stopper available, regardless of where he lines up.

It’s here the 6-foot, 222-pound Collins excels, though for that element the Colts might be rolling the dice in pass coverage as the All-American has been mildly criticized in this area.

Goldman is a barn-sized defensive tackle (6-3, 320) who could be the type of between-the-tackles lane clogger Indy hasn’t had in years.

Erving is a center, so that eliminates him from this discussion. The same goes for Humphries, a 6-5, 307-pound offensive lineman.

If provided a choice, it’s a no-brainer.

Collins is our guy.

I’ve said it a hundred times before and I’ll say it again, the Colts were at their best when no-nonsense safety Bob Sanders snarled his way around the secondary, silently daring opposing ball carriers to run in his direction.

Collins, if available, is the closest thing to Sandersesque in this year’s draft. If not, perhaps it’s worth the gamble to go with Goldman, a tremendous athlete for his size whose reputation includes a nasty streak the Colts sorely lack on defense.

For Indianapolis to become a legitimate force, the defense can’t afford another season of having the likes of LeGarrette Blount (New England) and Le’Veon Bell (Pittsburgh) leaving cleat marks as souvenirs.

And, yes, the Colts line up against both during the upcoming regular season.

Crazy as it sounds, if the Colts are to ever slide past the Patriots in the AFC, they must force Tom Brady to pass the football on a more frequent basis.

Picking either Collins or Goldman would be steps in the right direction.

Here’s hoping they’re on the board by the time Indianapolis picks. Whenever the heck that is.

Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.

Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.