If there is a silver lining to the 2017 season for the Indianapolis Colts it is this: they face the very real possibility of having the 3rd pick overall. How big of a deal is that? It might be even bigger for this franchise than you think.
The two teams currently projected to pick ahead of the Colts are the Browns and the Giants. That is significant. Both of those teams will be looking at drafting their franchise quarterbacks in this draft and that could be a very good thing for the Colts. There are not many draft analysts or scouts who have a quarterback as the top available talent on their big boards. Even fewer have two. But that very well could be how the picks are selected.
What that means is that there is a high likelihood that the Colts will have the highest rated player in the draft still on their board at pick number three. Who should they pick? That is the question posed to some of the Stampede Blue staff.
They were asked to step into the role of Chris Ballard and stake their reputation on what will be one of the most impactful picks of this franchise since the selection of Andrew Luck. Here’s what they had to say:
Chris Shepherd - Bradley Chubb DE
Obviously, my board will look a lot different from the board Chris Ballard and his scouts compile. I have been on the Connor Williams hype-train for a while now and for the record, I’m not getting off. To be fair I didn’t expect us to have the 3rd overall pick and due to the continued failure that 2017 has brought, we find ourselves in a unique position taking the best overall player. I believe the best player in this draft is edge defender Bradley Chubb from North Carolina State.
Some people will point to the fact that he’s a defensive end who will transition to a stand up outside linebacker role in the NFL. I have two things to point out about that idea; first, we don’t know who is going to be coaching the Colts next year and what scheme he will bring in.
Secondly, you don’t draft a top 5 outside linebacker to play in a 3-4 base set because he excels in coverage. You just don’t. You draft him to rush the passer and if he is a 10 sack a year guy in a 4-3 he will be a 10 sack a year guy in a 3-4 and that’s the most important aspect to his game. Over time you hope he will be able to add coverage ability to his game, but no one is going to be complaining about his coverage if he racks up 10 sacks a year.
Stephen Reed - Trade Back
If the Colts ultimately end up with the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, I would trade back. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone given my allegiance to #TeamTradeBack. There should be about 3-4 teams trying to get a QB and could net Ballard an extra 2019 Round one pick in addition to a few more second/third rounders, if not more. For me, the furthest I'd be willing to drop is into the early teens, ideally staying in the top 10. The early teens puts players like LSU pass rusher Arden Key or Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey still in play. If they can stay in the top 10, they could still have a shot at NC State pass rusher Bradley Chubb, Penn State RB Saquon Barkley or Notre Dame OG Quenton Nelson.
If you're pinning me down and saying I can't trade, then I'd go with Bradley Chubb. The guy is the best pass rusher in this class and that is by far the biggest area of need for this team. I could also see selecting Quenton Nelson if the interior OL is not addressed in free agency
Jared Malott - Quenton Nelson OG
I’m singing to the choir when I say the Colts need to look at offensive linemen and pass rushers in the first round of this draft. The Colts could have the 3rd-5th pick overall and that could lead to some shenanigans. There are 4 Blue Chip QBs in this draft and the Colts have theirs already, so my brain tells me to trade back the pick, load up on bodies on the offensive and defensive lines and get these coupla Lombardi’s that Irsay has promised before the raw talent we pass up in the Top 5 develops into some form of world beater.
Since we know that isn’t going to happen, I think the offensive line is the most important part of this team’s future, so I’d go with Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame because of how demanding a position need we have there. I could also see taking Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State if a viable trade back was not available. Like I said, the best player available when you’re up to draft is never a bad decision (Malik Hooker looked great in limited action this year!)
Jake Arthur - Bradley Chubb DE
The Colts look primed to be locked into a top 3-5 pick, so it’s natural to start salivating about the players they can get. Assuming they don’t go with a quarterback, and for the sake of argument that they stay put and don’t trade back, there are two players I’m primarily looking at for the Colts: NC State edge defender Bradley Chubb and Notre Dame offensive guard Quenton Nelson. While I like both players equally at this point, the positional value says that Chubb will get picked higher, so we’ll go with him for this exercise.
Chubb is the type of player that you can throw onto the edge right away and he’ll be productive. I had concerns earlier in the season that perhaps Chubb was more of a well-balanced edge defender and not necessarily the type of fierce pass-rusher that the Colts really need. However, he has erased my concerns with his performance this season. As I’ve studied him more and more, he reminds me a bit of Tennessee edge defender Derek Barnett last season, except Chubb appears to be a bit leaner.
Chubb has natural pass-rush abilities that don’t look manufactured and mechanical when he gets engaged with blockers. He has speed, can turn an edge and has power in his 6-4, 275-pound frame.
Andrew Aziz - Connor Williams OT
Connor Williams — Offensive Tackle — Texas
The Colts’ biggest issue in 2017 (besides staying healthy) has been the protection of the quarterback and the inconsistency in the running game. Jacoby Brissett has been sacked and hit more than any other quarterback in the league and that’s due in large part to the poor play of the offensive line. Edge rushers are able to easily crash the pocket and create pressure. The Colts need a good right tackle to help shore up that offensive line. Williams is arguably the best offensive tackle in this year’s class and would be an instant starter for the Colts. He is a whistle to whistle type of player with extremely good strength and athleticism. His flaws are minor and he can be an impactful player on day 1.
If the Colts are interested in keeping their franchise quarterback healthy, they’ll need to protect him.
Faraz Majid - Bradley Chubb DE
Protecting Andrew Luck is the number one priority, but with no consensus top 5 offensive tackles it may be tough to take one at pick #3. The next question is if a guard as good as Quenton Nelson is worth that pick, at a position that isn’t necessarily a high impact spot. I’m not sure how to answer that question, but I would still be inclined to go in a different direction entirely.
This defense has been disappointing, yet full of potential. Most of that optimism is present because of the run defense, while the pass rush lags behind significantly. The Indianapolis Colts are currently 28th in the league in sacks, they were 19th in 2016 and 22nd in 2015. Sure, there’s some promise in what Jabaal Sheard and John Simon have provided, but it’s not enough. This Colts team sorely needs a blue-chip pass rusher and that’s why Chubb is the pick. He’s the consensus top edge rusher in the class, and is the answer to what ails the horseshoe’s defense. This, in turn, will aid Luck in the win-loss column, and isn’t that the ultimate goal of this franchise?
Chris Blystone - Trade Back
It isn’t the sexiest pick, but picking at 3rd overall in this particular draft has some serious value. Given the absolutely desperate need for a quarterback, there will be a lot of teams anxious not to let a top quarterback prospect slip away. The Broncos, Bills, Jets, Cardinals, and Dolphins will all be in the hunt for a franchise passer and could provide a king’s ransom to move up to get the Colts’ pick at number 3.
For the purposes of our scenario, I am using that panic to trade back to pick number 10 from the Jets and get several more picks. That move should still leave guys like Harold Landry and possibly Arden Key as far as pass rushers, or a guy like Roquan Smith who would fill a hole at possibly the biggest need position on the Colts’ roster-inside linebacker.
Who would you select with the 3rd overall pick?
This poll is closed
Bradley Chubb DE
Quenton Nelson OG
Connor Williams OT
Trade back for more picks