The Indianapolis Colts fell 38-35 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday. With a match-up on Monday night against the New Orleans Saints, the Colts have their backs against the wall. While they still could potentially make it, they would need to win out and get some help to even have a chance at the postseason. With how unlikely it seems to happen, especially with how this offense is playing, it is officially “Draft Season” in Indianapolis.
As we enter draft season, there is nothing better than reading mock drafts. They may not be the most accurate when it is all said and done, but it is a nice way to learn about potential players the Colts could have interest in come April. With all the research I did for the Build-A-Ballard series last off season and looking at the Colts’ needs going into next year, I will be doing a weekly mock draft on this site titled Mock Draft Monday. This is the third of many to come using The Draft Network’s Mock Draft Simulator on their site.
Round 1 Pick 15: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
The Colts’ pass rush is so close to being very effective. Free agent acquisition Justin Houston is having his most productive seasons in years as he is nearing his first double digit sack campaign since 2014. Young pass rushers Ben Banogu and Kemoko Turay have also shown some ability and should be real contributors once they are healthy and more developed in 2020. Even Denico Autry, who hasn’t had the greatest statistical season, is near the top of the league in pass rush win rate among defensive tackles. The one missing piece is a big bodied nose tackle who can get after the passer.
Javon Kinlaw could be that guy for the Colts. A monstrous human being standing a 6’6” 305 pounds, Kinlaw is a force on the interior. He has elite strength and length as he is near impossible to block one on one. With his power though comes some excellent athleticism for a player his size. He is able to effortlessly maneuver around blockers with quickness that most 300 pound players don’t have.
With Kinlaw, the Colts could have a potential game changer in the mid-first round. Add in that he will be at the Senior Bowl this year, a place that Chris Ballard loves to draft from, and that Kinlaw himself said recently on the Stick to Football Podcast that he wants to play for the Colts, the match seems perfect for this team.
South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw has been right there with Derrick Brown as the most destructive interior DL in CFB this fall. pic.twitter.com/op0Wu42Vhl— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) October 14, 2019
Round 2 Pick 35: Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
Jacoby Brissett had one of his better games last Sunday yet it still wasn’t enough to get the Colts the victory. He was sporadic with his accuracy all game and when the team needed points late in the game, he yet again fell short. While he hung in there and made a few plays, these constant issues remained and make it look more and more likely that the Colts need a franchise quarterback in this upcoming class. He showed yet again that he is an average quarterback who can play well at times but just isn’t the long term answer at the position.
Jacob Eason however could be that answer. A former five star prospect, he transferred to Washington last season after losing his starting spot to Jake Fromm in Georgia. As he became Washington’s starter this season however, his immense talent began to show. He has a very live arm with the necessary velocity and strength to fit it into tight windows. He is fearless as he will take shots down the field and trust his arm and play-makers in the process. He showcases good accuracy and pocket awareness as well as he is able to locate these receivers down the field. There are some areas to improve in his game, such as working against pressure and decision making, but he has all the upside to be a very solid NFL quarterback.
Jacob Eason is a gunslinger with a STRONG arm. Here's a deep bomb for a TD. pic.twitter.com/n7BrWhZ3PQ— Jeaux Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) October 19, 2019
Round 2 Pick 47: Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
The Colts’ passing game hasn’t been near as good as it should have been this season. There is plenty of blame to go to the receiver core and quarterback play but the tight end play also played a part. Veteran Jack Doyle has been solid for the most part as he has consistently controlled catches in the short to intermediate game. Mo Alie-Cox has been a solid blocker but hasn’t really shown much as a pass catcher. The biggest disappointment however was Eric Ebron who followed up a 2018 Pro Bowl season with a rough 2019 contract year that ended with him going on IR with just 4 touchdown catches on the season.
The perfect replacement could be a college prospect from nearby Purdue University. Brycen Hopkins wasn’t a huge name in draft circle until huge Junior and Senior seasons made him a name to watch. While he doesn’t have any elite trait overall, the former basketball player should be a solid NFL tight end. With a good catch radius and above average athleticism, he should be a great security blanket for any NFL quarterback. Add in that he was a Team Captain for Purdue and the Colts desperate need for a receiving threat at tight end and this seems like a great match for both team and player.
Round 3 Pick 79: Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest
The Colts need help at receiver. T.Y. Hilton has been one of the best receivers in football throughout his career but he is getting into his 30’s, now, and the injuries are starting to mount. Devin Funchess was signed to be the team’s number two, but he broke his collarbone in the first game of the year and his future with the team is very much up in the air. Rookie Parris Campbell has shown flashes this season, but was a raw prospect coming out who has also dealt with many injuries in just his rookie season. To round out the roster, Zach Pascal has had a breakout year but he is likely not the answer as a top 2-3 receiver on this team going forward.
A potential solution would be to draft young wide receiver Sage Surratt. Only a redshirt Sophomore, he is a bit younger than most players that Chris Ballard likes to draft. With his youth though comes a ton of upside and potential. A former two sport star in high school, he was the North Carolina player of the year in both basketball and football as a Senior. What is even crazier is that he was also his school’s Valedictorian with a grade point average above 5.0 and was once committed to Harvard. On the field, he is an absolute freak who moves extremely well for a 6’4” player. We will have to see if he declares for this draft but it is hard not to like what this player could bring to an NFL team.
Round 4 Pick 111: Khalid Kareem, DE, Notre Dame
The Colts could potentially find themselves needing a defensive end in this upcoming draft if veteran Jabaal Sheard ends up leaving in free agency. The perfect replacement for him would be Notre Dame pass rusher Khalid Kareem. Kareem was a Team Captain and leader for his college team and could bring that to an NFL team as well. On the field, he is a powerful player who dominates with strength and strong hands on the edge. He is excellent in run defense while also providing more juice and speed on the edge than Sheard at this point in his career. Overall, this would be the absolute perfect replacement for Sheard in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Senior Notre Dame DE Khalid Kareem is an intriguing prospect for 2020.— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) May 10, 2019
- '19 1st year starting - 42 tackles/10.5 TFL/4.5 sacks
- Plays up & down LOS. $ alignment is 4-pt wide-9
- Top trait is length/use of hands
- Leads w/long arm but has multiple counters off it pic.twitter.com/7NE63Bz01b
Round 5 Pick 174: Shyheim Carter, SAF, Alabama
The Clayton Geathers era in Indianapolis is coming to an end this offseason as the veteran safety is a free agent. While he has been solid in his career here, the NFL game just requires safeties to have more speed and athleticism nowadays. With the Colts already having three solid safeties in Malik Hooker, George Odum, and Khari Willis, adding a versatile player with upside in Shyheim Carter would be smart. Carter isn’t the most developed prospect but he has a ton of upside with his athleticism. He is also extremely versatile with his experience playing nickel corner, safety, and linebacker for Alabama the last few years. Carter would be an excellent player to have at the bottom of the safety depth chart for the Colts.
Round 6 Pick 174: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
The Colts need to add more depth up front with their offensive line. While they have stayed healthy for most of 2019, that is not a trend to bank on for the future. They need more depth and both the contracts of LeRaven Clark and Joe Haeg’s expiring after the season, they could draft a developmental backup in the later rounds. One player to take a chance on could be Ezra Cleveland out of Boise State. An athletic offensive tackle, Cleveland has the size and finishing ability to be a player in this league. He also has a good set in pass pro and is a solid run blocker. he could stand to develop a bit but he would be a quality player to backup the Colts’ starting offensive tackles.
3rd quarter George TD run...— Will Hall (@WillHallKTVB) November 5, 2019
-What a cutback reading his block there near the LOS
-Burst out of that cut through the hole and eventually into the end zone
-LT Ezra Cleveland mandhandles his guy, finishes with a big pic.twitter.com/yJHl1P0MGp
Round 6 Pick 185: James Proche, WR, SMU
The Colts need receiver help from top to bottom of their roster. One intriguing player to add late in the draft could be SMU receiver James Proche. A highly productive receiver in college, Proche has some of the best hands in the class. He is able to catch passes right on the outside of his catch radius and make multiple plays in traffic to bail out his quarterback. He is also a Team Captain and the type of player who coaches in the NFL will love. He doesn’t have the best speed, size, and quickness but he is a perfect player to have round out your WR depth chart in the NFL.
This play didn’t count but I do not care. What an incredible catch by SMU WR James Proche. pic.twitter.com/a3fjX3rVeI— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) November 3, 2019
Round 7 Pick 206: Stephen Carr, RB, USC
The seventh round in the draft is where you can afford to take chances on talent even if it isn’t necessarily a need. One insanely talented player who could fall this far is USC running back Stephen Carr. A former five star recruit, Carr was a dominant as a freshman as he split time with Ronald Jones. Over the years, injuries piled up and he wasn’t quite able to have the career he hoped to have. That being said, if he can regain his confidence and strength that he had as a freshman, he could be special. He has insane athleticism and quickness and is a talent that you absolutely take a chance on in the seventh round if he’s available.