A popular post-draft exercise each year immediately following the conclusion of the NFL Draft is to grade how each team did.
There are a lot of people who think that these grades are completely pointless since we haven’t seen the players on the field yet, and that’s true to a degree. But what these draft grades do provide is an opportunity for us to understand what different people thought of the colts’ draft class based on their opinions of the players. That’s where it’s valuable.
I gave my draft grades for each Colts pick on Sunday, and now let’s take a look at what some other draft analysts had to say about the Colts’ draft.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. gave the Colts a B. Here’s part of his write-up:
New general manager Chris Ballard inherited a porous defense, and he went that direction with his first three picks. Malik Hooker could have gone as high as No. 7, but the one-year wonder dropped to 15. He's the best center fielder in his class, and some have compared him to Ed Reed, but Hooker needs to improve as a tackler. He's a ballhawk who is recovering from having surgery in January to repair a torn labrum in his left hip and repair sports hernias.
Quincy Wilson went higher than I thought, and he gets a little grabby in coverage, but he has good ball skills and instincts. Top-end speed is the issue -- he ran a 4.54 40 at the combine. Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, Fabian Moreau, Ahkello Witherspoon were all still on the board when Wilson went. Tarell Basham is a premium pass-rusher I thought could go in the second round. He had 29.5 career sacks.
The Colts got one of the steals of the first round in safety Malik Hooker. I know he’s a liability as a tackler, but his ability dropping in coverage is special. If Chuck Pagano wanted a new Ed Reed, he found it. The Colts followed that up with another defensive back, taking Florida cornerback Quincy Wilson in the second round. The Colts had to fix their secondary and did so with their first two picks.
Indianapolis also had to find an edge rusher and did it with end Tarell Basham. He plays with good burst and power. Massive blocker Zach Banner should help the Colts running game, as should running back Marlon Mack, a fellow fourth-round pick. He could pick off carries from Frank Gore early in his career. The other picks for the Colts are decent depth pieces.
The Colts needed only their first two picks to completely remake their secondary. They were very fortunate in the first round when S Malik Hooker dropped to them at No. 15. He was thought by many observers to be worthy of being taken in the top 10. Second-round CB Quincy Wilson also could become a mainstay in the defensive backfield.
They needed to get defensive help, and they used their first three picks on that side of the ball. First-round safety Malik Hooker is a rangy player in the Ed Reed mold, which they needed. Second-round corner Quincy Wilson is a nice cover player who will start right away, and third-round defensive end Tarrell Basham should help the pass rush. I like fourth-round running back Marlon Mack a lot. He has big-play ability.
New GM Chris Ballard immediately went to work overhauling a 30th-ranked defense and may have really scored with S Malik Hooker at pick No. 15. Hooker is inexperienced and has injury concerns but might also be Ed Reed one day. Second-round CB Quincy Wilson and third-round edge player Tarell Basham shouldn't take long to crack the lineup. The running game could get an immediate boost from a pair of fourth rounders, OT Zach Banner and RB Marlon Mack.
Incredible value for the Colts at each of their first three picks: Safety Malik Hooker (No. 15 overall) and cornerback Quincy Wilson (46) should be instant starters in the secondary, while edge rusher Tarell Basham (80) at least can make an impact on passing downs. For a team whose defense picked off just eight passes last season and lost OLBs Erik Walden (free agency) and Robert Mathis (retirement), this was a critical restocking. RB Marlon Mack (Round 4) is a home-run threat to slot in behind Frank Gore, while fifth-round LB Anthony Walker has three-down potential. The only shoddy pick was OT Zach Banner, who faces a long road to being a serviceable NFL blocker.
So overall it seems that people liked the Colts’ draft class, with a B being the most common grade. That’s where it’s subjective, though, because there was a lot of nice things said about this draft class and not many negative things, yet the grade winds up as a B instead of an A. Either way, though, it seems that a lot of people liked this draft class and thought it was a good one.