We continue this series with Part 4, what the Colts could do in the draft.
I fully believe that owner Jim Irsay, general manager Chris Ballard and the Indianapolis Colts are on the way back to some semblance of the team’s 2000s glory days, so I wanted to put together this project where I see what the Colts can do to get back to Irsay’s favorite era — the Peyton Manning glory days.
No one can snap their fingers and make this team completely constructed in just one offseason. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Players take time to develop. It also needs to be appreciated just how special those Manning-led teams were. They did things that we may never see again, and that’s OK.
What these Colts can do is continue to build a foundation to try and start another quasi-dynasty.
We have addressed the coaching changes and free agency, and now, to the nitty gritty — the 2018 NFL Draft.
In the free agency edition, I re-signed and added a handful of players to the Colts’ roster: wide receivers Allen Robinson and Donte Moncrief, tight end Erik Swoope, offensive guards Andrew Norwell and Jack Mewhort, off-ball linebackers Preston Brown and Edwin Jackson, cornerback Pierre Desir, placekicker Adam Vinatieri and long snapper Luke Rhodes.
With those moves made, it clears things up a little bit for this hypothetical draft haul.
I had not even planned on putting out a Colts mock draft (or an NFL one) until after the Senior Bowl. However, I felt the need to throw one together for the purposes of this piece.
Something to keep in mind: Because compensatory picks have yet to be rewarded, the complete NFL draft order is not set. However, these picks are based on what the draft order currently is.
Now, to the actual picks. It is completely possible that the Colts trade back in the first round of the draft. The first several picks will be shaped by quarterbacks. In fact, the Colts are the only team in the top six that should not be looking at a quarterback (assuming Andrew Luck’s health). There is a good chance that even if they slide back a few slots, they still can get someone like Bradley Chubb, plus another early-round pick. Because of this scenario, I give you a first-round trade (the value checks out, although some teams give up more than they should to get their guy):
- The Colts trade: Round 1, Pick 3
- The Denver Broncos trade: Round 1, Pick 5 and Round 2, Pick 40
Colts 7-round Draft Projection
|Round 1, Pick 5 (from DEN)||Bradley Chubb||Edge Defender||NC State|
|Round 2, Pick 36||Chukwuma Okorafor||Offensive Tackle||Western Michigan|
|Round 2, Pick 40 (from DEN)||Ronald Jones II||Running Back||USC|
|Round 3, Pick 67||Holton Hill||Cornerback||Texas|
|Round 4, Pick 100||Tegray Scales||Linebacker||Indiana|
|Round 5, Pick 131||Cedrick Wilson||Wide Receiver||Boise State|
|Round 6, Pick 164||Mike Love||Edge Defender||South Florida|
|Round 7, Pick 195||Jarrod Franklin||Safety||Tulane|
- Pick 1:5 | Bradley Chubb — Offensive line and pass rush are the two biggest needs, but adding Norwell in free agency puts pass rush to the forefront. The Colts still can get Chubb in this scenario following a trade down. After years of being out of range for a top-notch edge defender in the draft, the Colts finally get their chance.
- Pick 2:36 | Chukwuma Okorafor — The Colts need to try and find a definitive starter at right tackle on the other side of Anthony Castonzo. Here, they find a collegiately-seasoned stalwart in Okorafor who has the ability to play both sides of the line.
- Pick 2:40 | Ronald Jones II — It’s hard to tell what the Colts will do at running back this offseason. Do they find a bruising back to complement Marlon Mack? Do they just find the best running back that they can and not consider Mack? Here, they do the latter and find a running back in Jones who is capable of being a three-down lead back. I wasn’t trying to force a running back here, either. I legitimately have loved studying Jones so far. Although Sony Michel gets a lot of hype, I think that if there is going to be another Alvin Kamara in this draft, it’s Jones.
- Pick 3:67 | Holton Hill — Two of the Colts’ best 2017 corners are free agent in Rashaan Melvin and Desir. I have them re-signing Desir to mix in with Quincy Wilson and Kenny Moore, but the Colts need more quality bodies at the position. Hill fits what Ballard looks for in a cornerback.
- Pick 4:100 | Tegray Scales — What the Colts now have at linebacker with Antonio Morrison and Jon Bostic won’t cut it regardless of whether they stay in a 3-4 defense or move to a 4-3. In this scenario, the Colts are in a 4-3 defense and have Brown, Anthony Walker Jr. and John Simon at the top of their three-linebacker lineup. Simon has a tendency to get injured, and we don’t know what Walker will be yet. Scales is an arguably more athletic version of Walker. Scales also is the on-field coach/field general type of linebacker, which is one thing that the Colts like so much about Walker.
- Pick 5:131 | Cedrick Wilson — T.Y. Hilton and Chester Rogers and the only receivers with any notoriety under contract for 2018. After they add Robinson and re-sign Moncrief, they still need to add some competition. After all, Moncrief’s not just given a big role; he will have to earn it. Wilson and his YAC ability would fit in nicely with Josh McDaniels’ system.
- Pick 6:164 | Mike Love — If the Colts want to get serious about upgrading their pass rush, then adding as many quality pieces to it as they can will be critical. Love is a late-round prospect with plenty of upside, but who will need time to develop.
- Pick 7: 195 | Jarrod Franklin — We don’t know the future of T.J. Green on this roster, and there’s a good chance that the Colts don’t re-sign Darius Butler because of his age. If the Colts move to a 4-3 defense then Clayton Geathers is a candidate to move down to WILL linebacker, leaving openings at safety. Franklin is another sleeper who can supply some depth.
In the next and final edition of this series, we will whittle down the roster to 53 players following an offseason of moves.