This evening on ESPN, draft analysts Todd McShay and Mel Kiper held a live mock draft in which they picked the entire first round. With the NFL Draft taking place a week from tonight, interest in mock drafts is at its highest point, and so its worthwhile at least to take a look at what two of the most well-known draft analysts are predicting.
In this mock draft, the Colts were helped out significantly by a run on wide receivers (six of them) in the first round, among other things, and they end up with an incredible value pick at number 29 overall: Missouri outside linebacker Shane Ray.
"You've gotta go with Shane Ray here," McShay said on the program. "We're [speaking as the Colts] going to get him back at some point; hopefully if he has surgery we'll have him in late September. This guy we talked about potentialy as a top 15 pick, maybe in the top 13. 6-2, 245, love the quickness with his hands, love the job he does stretching out the zone plays, I think he's great in terms of his first step quickness and explosiveness. Gotta develop in terms of the power moves and finishing at times, but highly productive, plus I love his motor. To get Shane Ray at 29, we feel great about this as a Colts organization. Can't ever have too many pass rushers."
McShay is of course referring to the fact that Ray was discovered to have a foot injury during a visit with a team. According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, however, a foot specialist advised against surgery and rather just suggested rest. Ray is a very good player who was very productive at Missouri, and it would be a shock if he fell to 29 despite the injury. But if he were there, it would be a good pick for the Colts.
"I love it," former Colts general manager and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian said. "If this happens, if he fell this far, Chuck Pagano should go to church Sunday morning and put a huge donation in the basket, because this is a great football player who fits perfectly in the 3-4 defense. This is Robert Mathis' clone."
Former scout and current ESPN analyst Louis Riddick agreed, saying that, "when you look at the rushers that they have, Trent Cole is 32, Robert Mathis is 34, Erik Walden has never given them anything in the way of pass rush, and this is a guy who is just tailor-made for this. When you talk about converting this guy to a 4-3 defensive end, I just sit there and go, 'why? This guy is a 3-4 pass rusher.' I mean, it's just an easy pick. Celebrating, as Bill said."
Of course, there are a lot of questions about this particular mock draft. First and foremost as it pertains to the Colts is the fact that McShay and Kiper have Ray falling all the way to 29. That's unlikely to happen. Even more amazing than Ray's drop, however, was the drop of Vic Beasley, who wasn't taken in the first round. Another player not taken in the first round: Alabama safety Landon Collins.
Throw out all of the opinions about how unrealistic this mock draft is and consider that if this actually happened, the Colts would have several very good options. But if I had to guess on which one of those three the Colts would take, I actually think it might be Collins. It might be lesser value than Beasley or Ray, but I think the Colts might lean toward taking the safety. If it were up to me, I'd take Beasley, but I think for the Colts it'd be more of a discussion than many might think.
Either way, however, it's almost certain that the Colts won't have to make the decision between the three players, because there's probably a much better chance that all three are gone by pick number 29 than all three of them are available. Shane Ray would be a good pick for the Colts, but would he be available there and would he be the best or most likely pick there? I think the answer to both of those questions is no.
What are your thoughts on this mock draft?