It’s anonymous scout season in the NFL!
With only a few weeks left until the draft there’s plenty of talk from anonymous scouts about prospects and picks, and today Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman wrote a piece in which he spoke with a longtime NFC scout who “has been in the NFL for decades” about each pick in the first round.
What this scout said about the Colts’ pick was particularly interesting: think running back.
This is where (Stanford RB Christian) McCaffrey goes. Perfect fit there. I (also) have one sleeper there: (Oklahoma RB) Joe Mixon. Longest of long shots, but I can tell you the Colts are taking a hard look at him. A lot of teams are infatuated with Mixon, but so far no team seems crazy enough to take him in the first. But I think that owner (Jim Irsay) is crazy enough to do it.
There are two layers to this that we must explore. First, this scout thinks that Christian McCaffrey will be the Colts’ pick at number 15. McCaffrey has seen his stock rising and is now considered a player who could go in the top ten and might be the number one player at his position in the draft. It’s no sure thing that he’ll even still be available at number 15, but if he is the Colts will have a decision to make. McCaffrey would no doubt be a great fit with the Colts, as he’s an athletic, versatile playmaker. He can contribute in the running game, as a receiver, and as a return man, and that versatility and skillset would fit in nicely in Indianapolis. If the Colts were to think about a running back in the first round, I think McCaffrey makes the most sense.
The second thing that the scout noted, however, is even more interesting: the Colts are apparently taking a hard look at Joe Mixon. It doesn’t appear that this scout really thinks that Mixon will be the Colts’ pick at 15, though, as he’s simply piecing things together: the Colts are interested and he thinks Jim Irsay is crazy enough to do it (that assumption is debatable). But even he admits that it’s the “longest of long shots” and that so far there’s no team willing to take him in the first round. So I don’t think the big thing here is about a discussion of Mixon to the Colts in the first round as much as it is that the Colts “are taking a hard look at him.”
Mixon is a very talented running back, but everyone knows of the horrible off-field issues too. Earlier this week Chris Ballard said that he hadn’t delved into Mixon much, but even at the time that felt hard to believe - but it did give the impression that the Colts weren’t interested. This report, however, gives the opposite impression: that the Colts are indeed interested.
Quite frankly, it would be a surprise if the Colts weren’t taking a hard look at Mixon. He’s a talented running back who will drop in the draft due to the off-field issues. So for the Colts, a team with a running back, to automatically leave him off their board without even looking into it wouldn’t make sense. Now, in a case like this I wouldn’t neccessarily make the leap that “taking a hard look” means that the Colts are ready and willing to take Mixon, but it does mean that they’re looking into it and doing their due diligence.
As for the first round? Yeah, I’d be absolutely shocked if that happened. Shocked. It’s possible that they could take a running back (like McCaffrey) there, but even then I think there should be some very good defensive options there. Really the only concrete thing that this scout said about the Colts was that they’re taking a look at Mixon, but that’s unlikely to be in the first round. This scout might get the sense that the Colts could take a running back and maybe they will, but I wouldn’t neccessarily think that’s a given.