Once a month, from now through April, I’ll take a look at 2018 NFL Mock Drafts around the web from some of my favorite draft writers. Things change throughout draft season — the Senior Bowl in in January, the Scouting Combine in February and then pro days, workouts and meetings in March and April.
The Colts aren’t accustomed to having a pick this high up, and I’m not accustomed to having such a narrow list of candidates to write about for them in their top spot. For example, the Colts having the No. 3 pick means we’re not looking at guys who are projected mid-to-late first-rounders. There are only a handful of valid options.
Many Colts fans have a favorite option at No. 3, whether it’s NC State’s true edge defender Bradley Chubb, Penn State’s incredible tailback Saquon Barkley, Notre Dame bulldozer Quenton Nelson, Georgia’s defensive field general Roquan Smith or Alabama’s do-it-all defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. However, there’s one name that absolutely dominated mock drafts this month.
NC State Edge Defender Bradley Chubb
Bucky Brooks (NFL.com), Dane Brugler (NFLDraftScout.com) Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com), Dan Kadar (Mocking the Draft), Jon Ledyard (NDT Scouting), Joe Marino (NDT Scouting), Josh Norris (NBC Sports), Jonah Tuls (NDT Scouting), Lance Zierlein (NFL.com)
The reason why so many have made this choice is because it’s an easy pick to make. The Colts haven’t had a young star pass rusher since the mid-2000’s with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. Every spring, we wish the Colts were in a position to draft guys like Von Miller, Vic Beasley or Myles Garrett. Now, they finally are. If the Colts stay put at the No. 3 pick — while there are a few very smart options — one stands out, and that’s Chubb.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard knows that you must have a reliable defense to win in the postseason, and every good defense must be able to rush the passer. The Colts have some capable guys in Jabaal Sheard, John Simon and maybe Tarell Basham, but they don’t have anyone like Chubb yet.
Georgia Linebacker Roquan Smith
Luke Easterling (DraftWire)
While it wouldn’t be my favorite pick just because of who else would be available, I do love Smith as a member of the Colts. The Colts haven’t had a middle linebacker that commanded the defense since Gary Brackett, and Smith has a much higher ceiling than Brackett.
The Colts have dealt with subpar linebacker play, most recently from Antonio Morrison and Jon Bostic. Neither are true three-down linebackers that stretch sideline to sideline, but Smith is. He’s got the speed to keep up with just about any tight end and most running backs. He also has no problems diagnosing what’s in front of him in the run game. Whichever team adds Smith to their defense is going to be better for it.