The 6th edition of the "Andrew Aziz Colts Mock Draft" series is back and with a new twist: a trade back. I hope to get out at least 2 substantive draft related articles before draft day and you can expect a lot of draft coverage on Stampede Blue!
I believe the top five needs are:
1- Edge Defender
2- Center/Interior Offensive Lineman
3- Running Back
4- Inside Linebacker
As always, I used the FanSpeak Premium simulator (with trading).
1st Round -- 26th Overall (Traded 18th Overall Pick to Seahawks for 1st & 3rd Round Pick)
Nick Martin -- Center -- Notre Dame
A center in the 1st round? Yep. Nick Martin, in my opinion, is the best center in this year's draft. He's an experienced, gritty center from a pro style system. Notre Dame also has a history (in recent years) of producing good NFL talent, and I feel that's somewhat important when evaluating whether players can be effective at the next level. Martin is a technically sound center who operates from a strong base and finishes his blocks. He initiates contact quickly out of his stance and gets his hands in the right position. He has very good size too and he can start immediately for the Colts.
Center is a big need for the Colts and Martin would fix that problem. Martin is a great man blocker meaning he would fit perfectly in the Colts' offense.
2nd Round -- 48th Overall
Shilique Calhoun -- Edge Defender -- Michigan State
I watched every Michigan State game this year and every game there was one player who consistently stood out: Shilique Calhoun. He can beat you inside and he can beat you with his speed. Don't be fooled by the 4.82 40 time at the combine, he's got the speed to beat you to the corner. He has an arsenal of pass rushing moves and he's great with his hands. He has the size to compete against left tackles in the NFL and he can be an immediate starter for the Colts.
The Colts desperately need talent and bodies at their outside linebacker spot. Their top 3 outside linebackers are all over 30 and all in the last year of their contracts. Investing a top 2 draft pick on a pass rusher is a necessity. They'll need to pick up a talented pass rusher early on.
3rd Round -- 82nd Overall
Joshua Garnett -- Guard -- Stanford
Garnett comes from a Stanford system that prepares offensive lineman well for the NFL. On top of being technically sound, Garnett is a bull. He has great strength and he has the feet to back it up. He can pull and make plays in space. He's one of the best guards in this draft class and can be an immediate starter for the Colts.
The Colts need some bodies up front on offense. They could use an experienced and strong guard who can win one-on-one battles. Garnett is that guy and I'm convinced he can start at right guard for the Colts.
3rd Round -- 90th Overall
Paul Perkins -- Running Back -- UCLA
With the Seahawks' 3rd round pick, the Colts select Paul Perkins, a shifty, 3-down running back. With Frank Gore (most likely) in his last season, the Colts need to have a good long-term plan to replace Gore. That plan starts with drafting a player like Paul Perkins, who can run and catch effectively on top of being a good blocker. Perkins could come in immediately and split time with Frank Gore. Perkins' best trait is his vision and his ability to make defenders miss. He's got the explosiveness and the burst, so all these things together can make him a star in the NFL. I'm convinced that he's going to be a top 10 running back in the NFL.
Running back is a big question mark for the Colts and getting someone like Perkins would clear up a lot of questions.
4th Round -- 116th Overall
Aaron Burbridge -- Wide Receiver -- Michigan State
Burbridge is my favourite receiver in the draft and for a few reasons. The former Big 10 WR of the year has good size, very good strength and solid hands. Burbridge is also one of the best route runners in this class. He can also make plays with the ball in his hands as seen in the Penn State game. The Colts have been looking at a lot of receivers this offseason, especially large bodied ones, so I have a strong feeling that the Colts will be selecting a receiver at some point in this draft. Burbridge won't be considered a "large bodied" receiver, but he plays big and he's tough to play against at the line of scrimmage. Throw in the fact that he's played against some of the top cornerbacks in the NCAA over the past few seasons and you have yourself a hell of a receiver.
Burbridge can come in and immediately fight for the #3 receiver spot against Phillip Dorsett. I'd argue that he's a better fit in 3 receiver sets than Dorsett. Drafting him would allow the Colts to have a good amount of depth at the receiver spot and 4 receivers who can rotate and play every game.
5th Round -- 155th Overall
D.J. Reader -- Defensive Lineman -- Clemson
D.J. Reader is a project, but he has the size, strength and athleticism to be a good rotational defensive lineman in the NFL. The best defensive lines in the NFL rotate several players every game. Having great depth is important to having a good defensive line. Reader may be raw, but he can become an effective nose tackle or 5 tech player for the Colts down the line. I question whether he can ever become a two gap player, but he can certainly become a very good one gap 5 tech DL or limited nose tackle.
7th Round -- 239th Overall
K.J. Dillon -- Safety -- West Virginia
While Karl Joseph gets all the attention on the West Virginia defense, K.J. Dillon is nothing to sneeze at. He is a versatile player who can play in the box and make tackles in the backfield as well as play as a center fielder. Dillon has good athleticism as well and could be a good player on special teams, which the Colts need after the departure of Colt Anderson.
I think the #TeamTradeBack mock draft may have been the best one to date! Nick Martin is a very good player and is definitely worthy of a 1st round pick. Picking up a 3rd round pick allows the Colts to target a good player who can have an immediate impact. I believe that the top 4 picks are players that can have immediate impacts and can be effective long-term players for the Colts. The first three picks address the two biggest needs and the 4th pick addresses the 3rd biggest need. It worked out perfectly.
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