Now that the bulk of free agency is over (or at least the major signings), it's time we do another mock draft. With the Colts not signing or re-signing anyone, it's safe to say that they're relying on the draft.
If you ask me, I think the Colts can take just about any position (other than quarterback) outside of the 1st round and I would be fine with it. Past the 3rd round, I think anything goes and I'm also fine with that.
Within the 1st round, I believe the positions the Colts should target are:
Outside Linebacker/Edge Defender/Pass Rusher
Offensive Line (Any Position)
That's 6 positions. I'm for a mix of drafting based on need and BPA. What I'm for (in the 1st round only) is writing down your 6 biggest needs (like I did above) and then taking the best player on the board that plays one of those 6 positions.
In other years, I would have written down defensive line, but because it's such a great draft for defensive linemen, I feel the Colts shouldn't go after a defensive linemen so early, unless it's a top 10 talent, otherwise all bets are off.
As always, I used the FanSpeak simulator to try and make these a bit more realistic. However, if a star, top 10 player with no baggage somehow slips to the 2nd or 3rd round in the simulator, I don't take them as that's not necessarily realistic.
So, without further ado, here's the draft:
1st Round -- 18th Overall
Noah Spence -- Edge Defender -- Eastern Kentucky
We all saw in the Super Bowl how important a good pass rush is. A great pass rush can beat any offensive line and it can affect any offense. The Broncos went up against two completely different offenses (in New England and Carolina) and smoked them both. So, what does that have to do with the Colts? The Colts have had an abysmal pass rush ever since Dwight Freeney left town. Robert Mathis has had his moments since then, but he's slowed down significantly and his counterpart, Trent Cole, is getting up there in age as well. The Colts cannot rely on Erik Walden to be a pass rusher, so it's important that the Colts get a pass rusher. Even if Courtney Upshaw is signed (which many expect), he won't be a huge upgrade to the pass rush. The Colts need a pure pass rusher.
Enter Noah Spence. The kid has some off the field baggage, but on the field, he is a pure stud. At the Senior Bowl, he dominated in drills and looked great in the practices. He is a natural bender and is explosive off the line of scrimmage. Explosiveness is something the Colts defense lacks. Spence is an instant upgrade to the Colts defense and it will allow them to develop a serious front 7. Spence is the right pick here.
2nd Round -- 48th Overall
Artie Burns -- Cornerback -- Miami (Florida)
I'm still becoming more acquainted with Artie Burns, but from what I've seen, he looks like a legitimate player who can be an immediate starter. For starters, he comes from Miami (the U), so his chances of being drafted by the Colts are already much higher. On top of that, he has good length and very good athleticism. He's the type of player who's never out of a play and always making a play on the ball. He had 6 interceptions in 2015 and broke up a lot more passes, and that happened against some very good passing teams in the ACC. He is a little too handsy and he does get caught holding a little too often. He's a bit raw in general and needs some development, but I feel with Chuck Pagano as his coach, he'll get a good coaching with a good track record of developing top cornerbacks. That's why I feel he's not a very risky pick and why he could be a good fit for the Colts.
3rd Round -- 82nd Overall
Paul Perkins -- Running Back -- UCLA
Paul Perkins is a dynamic, 3 down running back, who can be an effective rotational running back on day 1. With Frank Gore being an old football player, the Colts need to find someone to take the pressure off him. Frank Gore cannot have another season with 250+ carries; his body just cannot handle it! Perkins would compliment him very well and he can be the future starter for the Colts. He runs with great vision and patience, has good lateral agility and can make defenders miss. That's something all the great running backs have and when we're looking back at this draft in a few years, it would not surprise me if Paul Perkins were the top running back (even over Elliott), because of his versatility and translatable NFL skills. The Colts would be very wise to take him in the 3rd round, and even if they don't, running back should be a big need considering Frank Gore's age.
4th Round -- 117th Overall
Jack Allen -- Center -- Michigan State
Jack Allen is one of the top centers in this year's draft. He's experienced and comes from a pro style offense in a rugged conference. I believe Jack Allen can be an immediate starter for the Colts and I feel he can be a 10 year starter along the offensive line. Allen took on some of the best defensive linemen in the country, from Ohio State, to Penn State, to even Iowa, whose linemen are "the biggest group of guys I've played against" according to a former Michigan State player I spoke to a few months back. Allen has the tools and size you look for in a center and the 4th round is a very good place to pick him.
5th Round -- 155th Overall
Denver Kirkland -- Offensive Guard -- Arkansas
Kirkland is a project pick. He's the type of player you develop and sit on the bench for 2 years and hope he becomes a starter in year 3. He's a big body, from a pro style system and he is talented, but he's raw in a few different areas. He has the versatility that you look for in offensive linemen as he has experience at a few different positions. In these later rounds, you can afford to make some riskier picks and Kirkland is a bit of a risky pick, but has very good long-term potential.
7th Round -- 237th Overall
Michael Thomas -- Wide Receiver -- Southern Miss
There seems to be a lot of hype for Michael Thomas... he played in Urban Meyer's system, had a productive career and can make big plays.
Crap, wrong one. This Michael Thomas is an underrated receiver from a smaller school, but he is very intriguing. I know many draft pundits are high on Michael Thomas. Thomas really took off this past season, averaging over 5 catches a game over the course of 13 games. He was the engine of the Southern Miss offense. Thomas isn't necessarily a player who can be an immediate impact player for the Colts, but he can easily start out as a #4 receiver for the Colts and slowly develop into a potential #2 or #3 receiver for the team. He has very good potential on top of good athleticism.