For his most recent mock draft, ESPN's Todd McShay set out to do his "Grade A" mock draft. In other words, rather than simply projecting what he thinks a team will do, he instead plays general manager and says what he would do if he had the final say.
It's a three-round mock draft and an interesting variant from the normal mock drafts, and it's nice to see the criteria right up front as to what the mock draft is describing. For the Colts, McShay has the team making an uncommon pick in the first round but then adding offensive linemen in each of the next two rounds.
In the first round, McShay has them taking West Virginia safety Karl Joseph; in the second round he has the Colts taking Kansas State guard Cody Whitehair; and in the third round he has Indy selecting LSU offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins. Here's what he wrote about the Colts' picks:
I wanted to get the Colts and offensive lineman with their first-round pick, but the value just wasn't there. So I went with the best player on the board (Joseph), who could be their next Bob Sanders. Joseph is one of the more violent and efficient tacklers we've studied recently at the safety position. Concerns about his 2015 knee injury aside, he's one of the fastest-rising prospects in this draft. Whitehair shows exceptional awareness on tape and would provide the Colts with a versatile interior lineman. Hawkins has the frame, skill set and football character to develop into a solid right tackle starter in the NFL.
I love the fact that McShay didn't try to force an offensive lineman to the Colts in the first round but rather realized that solid linemen could be had in rounds two and three, instead adding a defensive playmaker in round one. Joseph started 42 games while at West Virginia, recording 208 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, a sack, nine interceptions, eight forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. Just four games into his senior season, however, he suffered a season-ending knee injury. He was a strong leader and team captain for West Virginia and certainly a playmaker on the defensive side of the football, so as long as his medical evaluations are positive he could be a coveted pick in the draft. For the Colts, they could really use safety help with Mike Adams being 35 years old, so if they drafted Karl Joseph he could both see playing time this year while also being considered the replacement for Adams down the road.
Then in the second and third rounds, McShay has the Colts addressing their offensive line, showing that he's not ignoring that concern. Whitehair has been a common pick for the Colts that we've seen in mock drafts and would help the interior of the line, while taking a right tackle like Hawkins in the third round is more understandable than taking a right tackle in the first round. While you can debate about how effective this draft would be for the Colts, I at least give McShay credit for not forcing an offensive lineman to the Colts in the first round. What are your thoughts on this mock draft?