Let me start by saying this is going to be a long article. We've got lots of picks and analysis with potential UDFA signings as well. So let's get this going. TrueBlue87 was the Colts primary GM in this mock draft with individuals from other SB Nation sites, and I played trade negotiator and Asst. GM.
Round 1, Pick 29: Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
TrueBlue87: When we first made this pick, we were incredibly ticked off. Initially we had made a deal to trade with Tennessee which would move us back to the top of the 2nd while flipping 4th round picks. However, when Peat was taken one pick before us, Tennessee backed out without informing us, leaving us little time to make a sudden pick. What made things worse was by accepting Tennessee's offer we turned down a deal from Seattle which would have netted us a ton of picks (though it would have meant moving entirely out of the first round).
This is not a common pick for the Colts. Ultimately there are only roughly 20 true first round prospects, while there are around 20 players of equal talent/potential who sit between picks 21 and 40. Collins is one of those prospects. This is not a pick for next season, as Collins would start out 4th on the depth chart. But after this season Greg Toler's contract is up and the Colts will have an opening opposite Vontae Davis. We considered a tackle like Flowers or Clemmings here, but ultimately felt the Colts already had a lot of bodies at offensive line and we liked the depth of the tackle class and felt we had a good chance to get someone later.
The things which immediately stand out about Collins are his physical attributes. He is a tall corner at 6'1 and has excellent speed (he famously sprinted 65 yards and caught up with Melvin Gordon to tackle him). Collins has the physical style of play necessary in Chuck Pagano's system. Although Collins is limited as a starter, he already showed good instincts in mirroring receivers and displayed excellent play-amnesia. Collins is still incredibly raw and needs to work on his technique; particularly high and setting himself back on his heels and is not ready to start right away. Fortunately, the Colts don't have to start him.
Stephen: I echo TrueBlue87 on this one. We were incredibly ticked TEN jumped out of the trade without telling us only to send an email after the trade was posted to say they didn't want to do it anymore. Bad form.
As for Collins, he has all the physical tools to excel in Pagano's defense and only needs to work on technique. If Pagano is as good with DBs as he's proclaimed to be, this could be a steal for the Colts.
Just so everyone knows, this pick was made before news of Collins's failed drug tests came out. Had we known about them, we likely would have gone in a different direction.
Round 2, pick 61: Quinten Rollins, CB/FS, Miami University
TrueBlue87: When you first look at the pick, it seems odd to take a corner immediately the round after taking Collins. However, it makes more sense when you understand that Stephen and I consider Rollins (as well as Byron Jones and Eric Rowe) safeties, not corners. And Rollins is one of my favorite players in the draft, and not just because he is a graduate of my alma mater.
Rollins is even rawer than Collins. Rollins was a four year point guard on the Miami University. This year, Rollins played football for the first time at the collegiate level and was a major star in the MAC and earning Defensive Player of the Year honors. Rollins is a physical specimen with excellent speed and strength. Rollins has excellent hip control, making his transitions smooth and quick. Rollins also has the right temperament for the position-aggressive and able to quickly forget completions and mistakes. Like Collins, Rollins has limited experience and needs to be coached up for the NFL level. And like with Collins, the Colts are fortunate in that they are able to site Rollins this year while Lowry and Adams start.
Stephen: As many of you know, Rollins is a guy I've been a fan of since the beginning of the draft process. He ideally will move to FS and be a long term center-field safety who also isn't afraid to mix it up. He'd be a great get for the Colts at this point.
Round 3, pick 93: traded to Dallas
Traded pick 93 for picks 127, 163, 236 and a 2016 RD4.
Round 4, pick 127: Jaquiski Tartt, SS, Samford
TrueBlue87: Round four was a bit nerve wracking. Stephen and I were paying attention to three prospects in particular: Donovan Smith, OT, Penn State and Henry Anderson, DT, Stanford as well as Tartt. Unfortunately, Smith and Anderson were both taken before our pick. Fortunately, Tartt wasn't and we pounced. What made the round so baffling was safeties we had rated at the end of the round (guys like Adrian Amos and Clayton Geathers) went before Tartt. Stephen and I were so convinced we wouldn't get one of our mid-round safeties we were discussing contingency plans for the 6th-7th round, where we felt the value would be.
Regardless, Tartt fell and we couldn't be happier. Like Collins and Rollins, Tartt needs to be developed. The Samford product showed his ability to play with NFL-caliber talent at the Senior Bowl, but a redshirt year surely wouldn't hurt. Tartt has the physical frame you want in an NFL safety, with good height (6'1) and long 32 5/8 inch arms. Tartt is an enforcer-type safety who attacks the line of scrimmage and lays vicious hits to receivers coming across the middle. However, Tartt likely doesn't have the speed to play as the single-high safety in the NFL (which he played at Samford) and may do better closer to the line of scrimmage. Tartt has only played 4 years of football while this gives him extreme upside, it also means he needs a redshirt year.
Stephen: Ugh. Round 4 made me so frustrated. Had we done the initial trade with SEA, we would've had two more RD4 picks, which would have netted us at least Anderson or Donovan Smith. Alas, we didn't expect Tartt to be available in Round 4 so we pounced. Despite playing at a small school, Tartt more than showed he can hold up against NFL caliber players at the Senior Bowl. He's a hard hitting strong safety and with Mike Adams on a two year deal and Dwight Lowery only on a one year deal, it makes sense to grab talent at both positions.
Round 4, Pick 128: Kwon Alexander, OLB, LSU
TrueBlue87: I had not planned to take a DE/OLB in this draft because I worry about the logjam the Colts have at the position. However, when Alexander fell from the third all the way down to the fourth, Stephen and I had to take him. In keeping with the theme of this draft (looking more for talent to develop behind the existing free agent starters), Alexander showed a lot of potential at LSU and has the ideal height and weight for a 3-4 pass rusher. He shows excellent awareness in terms of locating the football and shows great quickness pushing to it with a penchant for delivering violent hits which jar the ball loose. This also plays into something he needs to be coached on, as he can be too aggressive at times and lose containment. Alexander's aggressive nature also means he ends up on the ground too often, though Alexander has a great motor and always hustles himself back into the play. As an added bonus, Alexander has experience in coverage and understands how to read a quarterback and keep himself in passing lanes.
Stephen: TrueBlue87 and I were a bit shocked that Alexander lasted until pick 128. He's got great talent and could come in and produce on passing downs where Bjeorn Werner could not. We couldn't pass up on a potential contributor at OLB with the age of the Colts at the position.
Round 5, Pick 163: Xavier Williams, NT, Northern Iowa
TrueBlue87: Xavier Williams was a pick I really pushed before, because I believe his is the most underrated nose tackle prospect in the class. Williams is a small school prospect and yet he started for three years and, more importantly, looked more and more impressive between his sophomore and senior years. Like most small school guys who come into the draft, Williams needs to work on his technique, as he tends to dip his head, needs to work on his strength, has to sink his hips more, and has a bad habit of off-sides penalties. Additionally, Williams does not offer much as a pass rusher. And yet with all of those issues (which explain why he was available in the late 5th), Williams's positives are numerous. Williams has the body you want in a nose tackle, 6'2 and 320 lbs with 30 reps of 225 lbs on the bench press. Like many successful linemen, Williams comes from a wrestling background. Williams also as a great attitude, both on and off the field. He plays with a non-stop motor and always chases after the ball. Williams has a great competitive streak, working his butt off on the practice field and game field alike. Williams is quite, but is also a leader, and doesn't mind doing the dirty work necessary to win, including playing special teams (he has 8 blocked kicks in his career).
Williams is a project, but has the highest ceiling of all the mid-round nose tackle prospects. I think his ceiling may be as high as Danny Shelton's.
Stephen: Williams is a guy I had rated as a sixth round prospect but given the run on big DTs, we had to make the move. Williams could come up big for the Colts but he'll need some time to develop and get used to the bigger stage.
Round 5, Pick 165: Mike Hull, ILB, Penn State
TrueBlue87: It took 165 picks, but we finally get to the point where inside linebacker presented a value. Other teams reached badly on ILBs, including Jake Ryan, Ramik Wilson, and Taiwan Jones all going about a round earlier than they should have. It's important to remember that while inside linebacker is one of the biggest needs on the team it is also one of the shallowest positions on the draft and, as Stephen and I have said year after year, reaching for need kills your team.
Hull played outside linebacker in Penn State's 4-3, but is a candidate to shift inside for a 3-4. Hull doesn't have ideal NFL size or arm length and there are some durability concerns as Hull had a knee scoped early in the year which sidelined him for the Senior Bowl. However, Hull also has a number of positives, including NFL bloodlines (his father played for the 49ers) and a hard-nosed physical style stemming from a wrestling background. He very clearly loves the game and plays with intense passion. Hull also has excellent instincts and flows well to the ball while playing with an intense passion and love for the game.
Stephen: As TrueBlue87 mentioned, we planned to take several ILB prospects later but they flew off the board far too early. I've been a big proponent of moving Jake Ryan of Michigan to ILB but Miami took him at the top of Round 4. I'd rather take another highly productive LB from LB U.
Round 6, pick 205: Josh Robinson, RB, Mississippi State
TrueBlue87: Stephen and I really wanted to take advantage of a deep running back class, but a number of the guys we targeted: Coleman, Abdullah, Cobb and Langford, either never fell to a position of great value or were passed over in favor of a player of greater value. Fortunately, we were able to get Josh Robinson in the late 6th round.
Josh Robinson is not a flashy back. He lacks top end speed and elusiveness. He can be overly patient and doesn't do well having to improvise. He needs better technique in pass blocking and is somewhat limited in that department due to his 5'8 frame. However, Robinson has a lot of potential (many analysts felt Robinson should have returned to Mississippi State for another season to refine his game). Robinson has good vision and is excellent and slipping and sliding in short-yard situations. While not a slippery back, he does have enough elusiveness to keep the defense honest. Robinson has been durable and has little wear on his treads. Robinson has shown a solid feel in the passing game. Ultimately, Robinson has been described as a poor man's Ray Rice, and that is something the offense could use.
Stephen: Robinson was a solid value in our minds at the end of Round 6 since we didn't want to reach for a RB in Rounds 1-4.
Round 6, pick 207: Andrew Donnal, OT, Iowa
TrueBlue87: Andrew Donnal is an interesting prospect. A senior, who only cracked the starting lineup as a senior, Donnal is physically limited. He doesn't generate much push in the run game and occasionally gets driven back off the line of scrimmage. When Donnal slides over in protection he can get too narrow in his base. Despite these limitations, Donnal flashed major ability through technical know-how, a non-stop motor, and a lunch pail attitude. Donnal keeps his head on a swivel and his eyes downfield; always looking and staying active. Donnal can play guard or tackle and has the legitimate chance to make a roster.
Stephen: Both TrueBlue87 and I really liked getting Donnal at this point in the draft. He won't push for playing time immediately but given a year to learn and to strengthen himself in an NFL weight program, he could be a force down the road.
Round 7, pick 236: Nick Boyle, TE, Delaware
TrueBlue87: I'll admit, I hadn't planned on drafting a tight end in this draft. It is an incredibly weak class and, unlike some fans, I fall in the camp who believe in Fleener's value to the offense and see him as one the best up and coming tight ends in the league. I am among those who feel the team will keep both tight ends and if they have to lose one, it may be Allen (as he has had some difficult staying healthy while Fleener has improved each season). However, by the time pick 236 rolled around, Nick Boyle was too much value to pass up.
Like many of the other players in the draft (especially at positions of depth), Boyle is a project player who has been drafted completely on potential. He was a mixed bag at the Senior Bowl, but left the Blue Hens a three year starter with a program record for receptions and second for touchdowns. Boyle has spent most of his career playing close to the line of scrimmage, thought he did run a 5.00 40. Boyle needs to improve his route running and engaging more his blocks and routes more quickly off the line of scrimmage. However, Boyle passes the eyeball test with the body of an NFL tight end combined with the kind of attitude and football IQ you want in a player. Boyle may not develop into more than a special teamer and 4th tight end, but ultimately that is worth the gamble this late in the draft.
Stephen: While TrueBlue87 and I vehemently disagree on which current Colts TE should be kept, we both felt that this was great value for Boyle who could come in as a depth player and be a serviceable backup if the Colts were to lose rightfully let Fleener walk. Haha. It may be tough for Boyle to see any snaps with Doyle and Swoope still on the roster but it was just solid value this late.
Round 7, pick 244: Ross Scheuerman, WR, Lafayette
TrueBlue87: I'll be honest, I didn't know much about Ross Scheuerman coming into the draft. However, all it took for me to trust Stephen's analysis was seeing that Scheuerman ran a 4.45 40 in the wind and snow and see comparisons between Scheuerman and Julian Edelman. While a running back in college, Scheuerman likely will make the switch to wide receiver in the NFL. If Scheuerman can become half the slot receiver Edelman (who played quarterback at Kent State) developed into, then this was a successful 7th round pick.
Stephen: Scheuerman is my personal late round gem of this draft. He's a bigger, faster and non-concussed version of Julian Edelman in my mind. Shifty player who can make guys miss in the open field then can get going in a hurry. I know he's drawn interest from several top tier teams and may very well be drafted in Round 6.
Round 7, pick 255: Raw Drew, DE/DT, Georgia
TrueBlue87: Ray Drew was one of the top recruits in the county in 2011. However, Drew never blossomed into an elite player. His technique is still incredibly rudimentary; Drew relies heavily on the bull rush and only has rough versions of the club and swim. Drew is also a bit of a ‘tweener at 6'4 265 pounds. However, Drew has the look of a professional defensive linemen. Drew has untapped potential, though, and could become a force as defensive linemen in the 3-4 and the 4-3. While his stats at Georgia were pedestrian, that largely comes from the block-eating role he was asked to play. Drew is a risk, but as the potential to become a force on the Colts defensive line.
Stephen: Drew is an interesting prospect. He's got great potential though and if he's ever able to realize it, he has the possibility to be great.
TrueBlue87 - Jake Smith, C, Louisville
Jake Smith is not an overwhelming athlete and he did not put together an overwhelming year. However, Smith is an excellent technician who uses superb hand placement and leverage to hold his own against superior athletes. Smith is quick in short bursts and so can be a factor in the run game. Smith also shows a good head and can stay calm after being knocked back in pass protection. Smith ultimately provides a little competition at the center position for Holmes and Harrison and has the toughness and attitude to potentially stick with the roster.
Stephen - Lorenzo Doss, CB, Tulane
Doss for whatever reason didn't get drafted so I would jump to grab him as an UDFA. He's a long and athletic CB who could be switched to FS. He's got great instincts and ability to read the QB on third down. He's got good ball skills but will gamble too often. He's also got to work on his technique.
TrueBlue87 - AJ Tarpley, ILB, Stanford
AJ Tarpley is only an average athlete. His frame is maxed out physically and he can have trouble outrunning angles and does not have great lateral agility. These are the reasons he undoubtedly fell undrafted. However, Tarpley is a smart and heady player who knows how to read and reacted to the developing play. He knows how to shed blocks and is a technically sound tackler who always wraps up and drives through. Tarpley is unlikely to be a 10-year player at middle linebacker, but is the type of smart and disciplined player teams need to play back-up and be on special teams.
Stephen - Bobby Richardson - DE - Indiana
Another shocker for me of a guy who did not get drafted. While I have a Round 6 grade on him, other sites have him as high as Round 3. He's a big body who play6ed 5-Tech 3-4 DE at Indiana so he's already got experience in the defense. He gets up field in a hurry and can shed blockers. He's little shorter than "ideal" but honestly, I think a 6'3" player is plenty tall enough to play 3-4DE.
TrueBlue87 - Cedric Thompson, S, Minnesota
At the moment, Thompson's instincts and awareness are below average. When coming down into the box for run support, he often is overeager and runs himself out of the play. However, Thompson has experience as both a strong and free safety and has the size and speed to cover tight ends. He is a solid tackler and understands how to line other players up in the defense. Thompson has good speed and had a great Pro Day. Ultimately, Thompson ‘s instincts prevent him from being a starting-caliber player, but he is worth a shot as depth and a special teams player.
Stephen - Antoine Everett, OG, McNeese State
Everett is a small school player but has the potential to develop into an NFL starter. He's got a thick frame and has great football intelligence. He's able to handle bull rushers too but needs to work on sustaining blocks in the running game.
TrueBlue87 - Cam Thomas, CB, Western Kentucky
Like our first round pick, Jalen Collins, Cam Thomas has the body and speed a corner needs to play in Pagano's scheme. Thomas also shows great effort and willingness to lay a hit in the run defense. However, Thomas has major issues with his technique that need to be worked on. Additionally, he has a habit of abandoning his responsibilities to try to make a big play. If the Colts staff can teach Thomas discipline and technique, he could end up being a steal at corner.
Stephen - Obum Gwacham, OLB, Oregon State
Obum has the talent to be a great 3-4 OLB but has only played the position one year. He's got natural ability to drop into coverage from playing WR at Oregon State. He's an explosive athlete and with a little seasoning and some added strength could be an absolute steal as an UDFA.
TrueBlue87 - Corey Grant, RB, Auburn
-Grant is blazingly fast, running between a 4.25 and 4.3 40. Grant has solid vision and the ability to be a factor in the passing game from the backfield. Grant has very little wear, with only 135 carriers in his college career, caused in part by his transfer from Alabama to Auburn. However, Grant benefited from the Auburn offense which put him in space and gears down to make his cuts. He does not have an economical running stance. However, Grant's speed alone makes him worth taking a shot on.
Stephen - Terry Williams, NT, East Carolina
First and foremost, Williams is massive. He's 6'1" and 353 pounds. Not a typo. The guy is the ideal big body. He also put up surprising good SPARQ numbers for the NT position when compared to guys 30 pounds lighter than him. He does have some off-field baggage, which likely will make the Colts shy away but he's got some great talent and could shine if given the right opportunity.
Love our picks? Hate them? Let us know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @Reed_StephenT