This will likely not happen, but it's always nice to dream, right?
*End of Spoiler Alert*
Jimmie Ward - FS - Northern Illinois
Ward is a tremendous talent on the back end of the defense. He is a natural fit at playing the center field role, which will allow LaRon Landry to attack the line of scrimmage mitigating his poor tackling angles infield. Ward is also has great ball skills to either grab a game changing interception or at the very least break up the pass. Many point to Ward's size as being one of his downfalls, which would be true if he was a strong safety, but as a free safety, his size and speed combination is perfect.
Ward's only true downfall is he can be a tad late in diagnosing plays and does not possess elite speed to catch up to deep vertical players.
sb nation mock draft
- OLB - Louisville
While it would be a true dream is Jeremiah Attaochu fell to Round 3, I can't possibly think that will happen. This choice was down to Smith and Carl Bradford. I went Smith, even though he may too be gone, but hey, this is my dream scenario. Smith is a bit of a 'tweener. He possesses great pass rush potential and goes hard on every play. He has good athletic ability and can cover tight ends and slot receivers when needed. Smith shows solid instincts and great overall awareness playing as an OLB and DE at Louisville.
However, Smith does not possess the power to disengage bigger blockers in the run game and has a limited pass rush repertoire.
stampede blue mock draft
Walt Aikens - CB - Liberty
Aikens didn't get much publicity as he played for tiny Liberty but he has prototypical NFL CB size. Aikens has experience playing both press-man or off-man coverage, which are the primary coverages the Colts run. He seems to have"fluid hips" and can stay stride for stride with most wide receivers. Aikens is not afraid to make a tackle and is aggressive in run support, taking on blockers if necessary.
However, Aikens played at a tiny school against lower level competition, which may be why he's able to make that hip transition when he turns to run. He only has average ball skills. Aikens tends to bite on play fakes and gets caught peeking into the back field. There are also character concerns regarding his dismissal from Illinois following a theft conviction.
Brandon Thomas - OG/OT - Clemson
Yes, I realize Thomas tore his ACL in workouts last month. Prior to the injury, he was a borderline first round talent who can play multiple positions along the offensive line. Thomas was a player I prayed would fall to the Colts in Round 2 prior to his injury. While he played LT at Clemson, Thomas may be best fitted to play OG in the NFL. He has great balance and long arms with big, strong hands that can easily manipulate defenders once he's able to latch on. Thomas is athletic and can get to the second level when needed, but that's not his strong suit. He is also very experienced as he was a three year starter at Clemson. Thomas held his own against Jadeveon Clowney without needing any chip or double team.
Thomas, however, is not a traditional "mauler" and can be especially susceptible to bull rushers when he doesn't win the initial leverage battle. He will need a bit of work in terms of blitz and stunt recognition if he moves down to OG.
Ben Gardner - DE - Stanford
Gardner was one of the more notable combine snubs but put up great numbers for scouts at the Stanford pro day. He is very physical and has a non-stop motor. As cliche as it sounds, Gardner is very intelligent and quickly diagnoses plays to either disengage a blocker or cut down to make a tackle. He is a very versatile defender who can easily collapse the pocket. Gardner is a bit of a 'tweener in a traditional defense but would make a quality 3-4 five-technique DE in the Colts hybrid defense.
Gardner is a bit of an injury concern after tearing his pectoral muscle last season. If his strength does not return, he'd be lost because he does not possess the speed necessary to move to OLB.
Priority Free Agents
Kadeem Edwards - OG - Tennessee State
Howard Jones - OLB - Shepherd
Matt Hazel - WR - Coastal Carolina
Zach Kerr - NT - Delaware
Tyler Starr - OLB - South Dakota
Nat Berhe - SS - San Diego State
Isaiah Crowell - RB - Alabama State