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Colts Draft: Exploring Options — Round 2

Who might be the best options available to the Colts in Round 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft?

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The Indianapolis Colts are in a great spot in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft. Yes, they have the sixth overall pick. However, remember that it means they also pick near the top of each round of the draft, subsequently sending them some players with regularity that are valued higher than where they would be picking them.

In this series, I find options for the Colts that fit what they are trying to build on both sides of the ball. I’m starting with Round 2 because you guys know their options in Round 1; fans and anyone who covers the Colts have already gone over it ad nauseam. At No. 6, there are only a handful of guys to look for.

As far as this list goes, before thinking “there’s no way _______________ will be there in Round 2,” remember that the Colts are picking consecutively near the top of Round 2, and there are plenty of players with first round grades who fall in that range every year for whatever reason (think Landon Collins, Dalvin Cook, Myles Jack, Quincy Wilson, Geno Smith).

I took a group of 36 players who could be available to the Colts with their three picks in the second round (No. 36, No. 37 and No. 49 overall) — within reasonable range of their stock — and whittled it down to my top 15.

1. Derrius Guice | Running Back | LSU | 5-10, 212

I’ll start by saying that Guice is a first-round player. However, the depth of this running back class may have teams addressing other positions beforehand. If Guice is available to the Colts at 36/37, then selecting him should be a no-brainer. They get a three-down back who is second only to Saquon Barkley in this draft class, and they get him for better value than spending the No. 6 overall pick on a running back.

Guice would be a great complement to current Colts running back Marlon Mack because Guice is a proven between-the-tackles runner. He had some awful play from his line at LSU but he still fought for every inch, and did it effectively.

2. Anthony Miller | Wide Receiver | Memphis | 5-11, 201

Miller had to sit out much of the pre-draft process as he recovered from a Jones fracture in his foot, but he bounced back in a big way at his pro day on Tuesday, running a 4.48 forty and posting a 39” vertical. When I watched Miller’s tape, I was surprised that he isn’t talked about more among the top few receivers. Personally, he’s my WR1 and reminds me quite a bit of Antonio Brown. Miller has the speed to get behind the defense, great hands and can run ankle-breaking routes.

3. Jaire Alexander | Cornerback | Louisville | 5-10, 196

Alexander is smaller than what Colts general manager Chris Ballard typically covets in a cornerback, but there’s no denying Alexander’s abilities as a cover man. If you take away the fact that he’s 5-10, you can see that he is effective at staying with his man and making it hard to get open. He’s got ball skills, even making contested interceptions, and he’ll mix it up in the run game. The pro comparison I’ve seen most for Alexander is Chris Harris Jr. from the Denver Broncos. I can definitely see the similarities.

4. Marcus Davenport | Edge Defender | UTSA | 6-6, 264

Teams who are looking for pass rushers in the latter half of the first round may decide between Florida State’s Josh Sweat and Davenport. On one hand, Davenport has freak size and dominated his lower level of competition. On the other, Sweat has athletic traits similar to Jadeveon Clowney and has a lot of promise despite injury concerns and being super raw. There’s a good chance that one of the two is available near the top of the second. Davenport is much bigger than former Colts pass rusher Robert Mathis was in his playing days, but the current Colts pass rush consultant could be an invaluable tool for Davenport’s development.

5. Ronald Jones II | Running Back | USC | 5-11, 205

Jones isn’t talked about enough, but he truly has the potential to be a star. He catches the ball very well and has enough speed to take it the distance on either runs or receptions. However, he also gets the job done between the tackles. Jones hits holes decisively and keeps his legs churning. He may only be 205 pounds, but he’s got a thick lower body and runs with determination. When he’s asked to block or pass protect, he does it effectively and with good form. I have no doubts that he could be somebody’s stud three-down back.

6. Connor Williams | Offensive Line | Texas | 6-5, 320

Williams is one of the top linemen this year. However, he had inconsistent 2017 tape, and his arms aren’t as long as some want for the tackle position. While some teams could still take a shot with him at tackle, others see him as a guard. The Colts could use him at either spot, but he’d be a great fit to plug onto the right side after selecting him in the second round. He’s better at blocking for the run than the pass, and he’s not the most nimble guy so guard may be his best fit.

7. Isaiah Oliver | Cornerback | Colorado | 6-0, 201

If the Colts’ corners are going to be playing more zone moving forward then Oliver is a good fit. His film had me worried about him potentially getting beaten deep when he was in man otherwise. Overall, he’s got good closing speed, is a willing tackler and his long arms help keep the ball from getting into the receivers’ grasp.

8. James Daniels | Interior Offensive Line | Iowa | 6-3, 306

Daniels is primarily looked at as a center, but if the Colts think he can play guard then they should be interested. With their emphasis on speed, and Daniels’ quickness and overall movement skills, this could be a good match.

9. Sony Michel | Running Back | Georgia | 5-11, 220

Like Barkley, Guice and Jones, Michel is a three-down back that you can keep on the field in all scenarios. He can run between the tackles but his speed, agility and overall short-area quickness allows him to bust big plays on a regular basis.

10. Billy Price | Interior Offensive Line | Ohio State | 6-4, 305

Price tore a pectoral muscle while doing the bench press at the Combine. However, being only a partial tear, he is expected to be back in time for training camp. If teams elect to go with someone like Daniels or Will Hernandez in the middle of their line instead, Price could find himself available to the Colts with any of their three second-round picks. Mixing him in with Jack Mewhort, Matt Slauson and Ryan Kelly would give the Colts a physical interior of their line.

11. Mike Hughes | Cornerback | UCF | 5-10, 189

Like Alexander, Hughes at 5-10 with 30 7/8-inch arms doesn’t fit the size that the Colts look for in corners, but he’s got other traits worth coveting. He moves very fluidly, which helps him stay in receivers’ hip pockets. When he physically engages with receivers, he displays plenty of strength to disrupt their route.

12. Will Hernandez | Offensive Guard | UTEP | 6-2, 327

If the Colts draft someone other than Quenton Nelson in the first round, then we’ll feel we missed out on the Colts taking a “nasty” offensive lineman. Hernandez isn’t Nelson, but he definitely has that nasty portion of the game down. The Colts have options at guard with Slauson, Mewhort, Joe Haeg and Denzelle Good, but Hernandez would be a definite upgrade.

13. D.J. Moore | Wide Receiver | Maryland | 6-0, 210

Moore is a fun receiver to watch because he plays like a running back once he gets the ball in his hands. His explosiveness is more subtle than some of the other top receivers in this draft, but he makes plays, no doubt. He makes sharp cuts in his routes, tracks the ball very well downfield, and his body control and strong hands help make for some excellent grabs. If you’ve heard him compared to Detroit’s Golden Tate, just know that the comparison is valid.

14. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo | Edge Defender | Oklahoma | 6-1, 253

Okoronkwo is an interesting evaluation because his size and role at Oklahoma doesn’t match up with being a pass-rushing demon. I actually hope the team he goes to doesn’t make him rush the passer full-time. He’s able to do so much that they may be missing out on other plays he can make. Okoronkwo is able to drop into coverage, even lining up in the slot. He’s got great movement skills, including covering a ton of ground in a hurry and changing direction instantly. He’d fit as a 4-3 off-ball linebacker on early downs, then rushing the passer on passing downs.

15. Josh Sweat | Defensive End | Florida State | 6-4, 251

It’s great to see Sweat rising back up draft boards. The main concern was his health, as he had knee injuries as a senior in high school and in 2016. However, he was healthy enough to play all season in 2017, which led to 12.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. He also smashed the Combine in February, running a 4.53 forty, posting a 39.5” vertical and 124.0” broad jump, all of which were top three among edge defenders.

My main concern is Sweat’s effort. He’s very inconsistent when you watch him, and it leads you to think he takes plays off. He’s an athletic freak with a ton of strength and explosion, but he rarely gets a good jump off the ball and gets stuck on blocks more than you’d like, even though you know he’s a better athlete than the tackle he’s facing. Justis Mosqueda had something to say about Sweat that made me feel a little better, but we’ll see. A big reason Sweat could be a good pickup with the Colts is primarily because of two guys in the organization — Robert Mathis and Director of Sports Performance, Rusty Jones. Jones could help Sweat get his body in peak condition, while Mathis can help Sweat with his mechanics and teach him the tricks of the trade.

For more on the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft, buy the very first Stampede Blue Draft Guide! Tons of information about this year’s draft including position-by-position scouting reports, needs for all 32 teams, an extended look at the Colts’ needs, mock drafts, seven-round Colts mock drafts and much more!