For Colts fans, it may have seemed like the world is ending.
The prospect of fixing what ails the team in the NFL Draft is here to take our minds away from a disappointing year. If Chris Ballard works some magic this off-season, this organization is right back in playoff contention. It’s obviously easier said than done - and QB must be addressed - but a strong draft would go a long way towards establishing the future of this franchise.
Using The Draft Network’s predictive simulator, I ran through a 7-round draft scenario to try and get Indy back on track. The results of my experiment are below.
Round 1 (Pick 14): Jordan Love QB Utah State
Sitting at a mediocre 7-8, the fact of the matter is that Indy - no matter what they do to end the year - probably won’t have a top 8 selection. Thus, unless Chris Ballard uncharacteristically trades up, the Colts will miss out on elite passing prospects like Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa.
With Burrow, Tua, and Oregon’s Justin Herbert off the board in this scenario, it leaves Ballard with the option to grab the best player available or the top QB prospect. In this scenario I had Indy choose the ladder. Utah State’s Jordan Love may be considered a reach, but with the number of picks Indy has, he’s a risk well worth taking.
This franchise desperately needs a franchise QB - and despite regressing with a terrible supporting cast this past season - Love offers elite upside.
He’s a mobile thrower with a laser arm and strong out of structure ability. Simply put, some team is going to fall in love (pun intended) and take him early. After being in attendance for several Utah State games this season, Ballard and the Colts could very well be that franchise.
Utah State QB Jordan Love has the prettiest throw in the NCAA.— charlie white (@_charliewhite_) October 5, 2019
Definitely has a lot of other things to work on, but if he lands on the right team he has limitless potential. #UtahState pic.twitter.com/KEE7lkAMkV
Round 2 (Pick 36): Neville Gallimore DL Oklahoma
A freak athlete with drastically improved 2019 tape, Gallimore is a high upside rusher from the interior with elite burst and a nasty spin move. With a need at defensive tackle, Gallimore can slide in right away as a starter opposite Denico Autry while Grover Stewart rotates in as a situational run-stuffer.
Whew, nasty spin move by NT Neville Gallimore.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 12, 2019
Such a freaky dude. pic.twitter.com/xUmiBXfVof
Round 2 (Pick 47): Jeff Gladney CB TCU
With Rock Ya-Sin expected to make a big leap next season, corner isn’t exactly a pressing need. Gladney is too good of a value to pass up at this point, however, and provides Indy with another option should Ya-Sin fail to materialize or if Pierre Desir regresses.
A quick-twitch man corner from TCU, he may not be the fastest player, but Gladney is a borderline 1st round player with some of the strongest tape in the class.
TCU's Jeff Gladney balled out against WVU, allowed zero receptions from five targets and picked up two impressive PBUs. pic.twitter.com/9Uq0tLSDnP— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) November 30, 2019
Round 3 (Pick 79): Justin Jefferson WR LSU
There’s no denying the Colts monstrous hole at receiver, which is where Jefferson helps shore up a crippling weakness.
Similar to Juju Smith-Schuster in both his spatial awareness and body control, the LSU WR is a crafty route-runner and polished blocker with an extremely strong pair of mittens. He may not have elite upside, but Jefferson is exactly the type of player you want as your number two option in the passing game. With T.Y. Hilton able to handle top duties, Indy provides the perfect fit for Jefferson to establish a productive career as a balanced complimentary option.
Huge fan of LSU WR Justin Jefferson. Big, fast & tough. He has outstanding hands & he’ll attack the ball in traffic. He also has the ability to separate on the outside. Love his yac too. Big time player. pic.twitter.com/ysoi1jRWxO— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) November 13, 2019
Round 4 (Pick 111): Antoine Winfield S Minnesota
Similar to Gladney, this selection is all about value. Malik Hooker and Kharis Willis are locked into the starting roles on the Colts D, but Winfield is a rangy and instinctive safety who simply makes plays. He has a rough injury history, but pairing him with another oft-injured player like Malik Hooker should ensure that 1 is always healthy and roaming the centerfield.
In Antoine Winfield Jr. we trust. 〽️ pic.twitter.com/KVIjOlxiwL— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) September 8, 2019
Round 5 (Pick 142): Robert Hunt IOL Louisiana
Mark Glowinski has taken a huge step back this year despite his big contract last off-season, and it remains to be seen if he’ll even be on the roster come next season. Instead of needlessly moving Braden Smith back inside and creating a hole at right tackle, Hunt provides depth and some competition for Glowinski at the right guard spot.
A physical phone booth “mauler”, although Hunt played tackle in college, his aggressive tendencies and stout stature make him an ideal fit in Indy as an interior lineman.
Round 6 (Pick 174): Zack Baun EDGE Wisconsin
A former basketball player, Baun is a versatile and polished edge defender who can play all over the line. Taking a huge step forward this season with 12.5 sacks, Baun doesn’t exactly have superstar upside, but he’s a perfect fit in a rotational role. You can never have too many pass-rushers and Baun would give the team some much-needed depth in that regard.
Wisconsin’s Zack Baun (@zackbizzaun) is having a heck of a season. Against Ohio State, he recorded 10 tackles and a sack (now 7.5 on season) and was wreaking havoc for Ohio State’s rushing attack.#WNSFilm pic.twitter.com/WAt2siBKZc— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) October 28, 2019
Round 6 (Pick 185): Antonio Gandy-Golden WR Liberty
One of my favorite players in the entire class, Antonio Gandy-Golden is a catch point monster with a plethora of absurd receptions on his resume. A physical outside wideout, he lacks top speed and can struggle to separate, but he simply catches everything. And I mean EVERYTHING.
Attending the Reese’s Senior Bowl next month, it will be interesting to see how he fares against some better competition, as in college it often looked like he was stealing candy from a baby.
This team needs WR help in the worst way and Gandy-Golden offers the type of red-zone threat that Indy doesn’t currently have at the position.
Antonio Gandy-Golden knows how to catch a football. Can confirm. pic.twitter.com/cLBTVGiom6— Carter Donnick (@CDonnick3) November 30, 2018
Round 7 (Pick 206): Michael Pittman Jr. WR USC
Similar to Gandy-Golden in a lot of ways, Pittman is a physical wideout who exploded on the scene in his last year at USC. Also attending the Senior Bowl, Pittman’s overall athleticism and ability against press coverage are both question marks, but his elite hands and size out on the boundary make him a worthwhile Round 7 selection.
Taking 3 receivers may seem like overkill, but Pittman and Gandy-Golden would essentially compete for one spot. Taking both increases the chance that one ends up on the final roster.