Well, football season is over so it’s time to begin the speculation of what the Colts are going to do before we kick off again in September. In this article, we’ll take a closer look into the draft, especially the Colts first 4 picks and consider who might slide, who will probably be there and who may be a “reach” but would make sense schematically or potential wise.
With the 26th overall pick, the Indianapolis Colts select.....
Note: This is our first pick and I truly can see Ballard trade down if he deems that there is not much of a drop off in talent between the late first round and early second, particularly if it lets him stockpile picks. However, since mock trades get a little bit untidy, let’s just say the Colts stay put.
The possible slip:
Montez Sweat, DE Miss St.:
Sweat was predicted to be a late first-round pick, around the Colts’ range, but after dominating the Senior Bowl, he is quickly moving up draft boards. At 6’6’’, 241 pounds with 22.5 sacks to his name over the last 2 seasons (10.5 and 12 respectively) against SEC competition, Montez Sweat would be an ideal selection.
He definitely has measurables that Ballard would like plus his motor is off the charts and he has decent hand placement to go along with above average explosiveness. His secondary moves are somewhat lacking as, from his tape, he seems to just outwork the OT when his primary move fails. Overall, his extreme athletism and his use of hands remind me of a mixture between a less-athletic Bradley Chubb (5th overall pick) and a less-refined Derrick Barnett (14th overall pick).
Needless to say, Sweat at 26 is a no-brainer.
Dre’Mont Jones, DT Ohio State University:
This draft is so deep in the interior DL that Jones doesn’t even crack the Top 5 DTs. At 6’3’’ and 295 pounds, Jones is slightly over-weight, noted it’s mostly muscle, to play the 3-tech, but he definitely has the bust and hand-use to produce at a high level.
I still like him as a great penetrator against both the pass (8.5 sacks) and the run (13.5 TFL). I don’t see him testing as well as other players in the Combine just because his size and weight aren’t prototypical, but if the Colts nab him at 26, it will be a pick well used.
Deebo Samuel, WR University of South Carolina:
So a lot of people have been clamoring that Deebo be the first selection by the Colts due to his performance at the Senior Bowl. And while I agree that he certainly helped his stock in Mobile, it’s against my beliefs to take a WR in the first round (unless it is a generational talent and we have a top 10 pick).
Now, that doesn’t matter since I’m not the Colts’ GM, but Ballard seems to agree with me as he has never drafted a WR earlier than the 3rd round and, as Zach Hicks pointed out, Ballard seems to take WRs in the mid rounds and values height and athleticism over route running and catching ability. And while I disagree (which again, doesn’t matter in the least), I just don’t see Ballard wavering from his beliefs and I honestly think that the first round is going to be DL or OL for the foreseeable future considering the emphasis Ballard puts in the trenches. \
That said, Deebo may have the best route running tree in the whole class along to go with decent speed and average hands. My comp would probably be Stephon Diggs as they have similar size and both seem to gain separation with clear cuts and speed.
With the 34th overall pick, the Indianapolis Colts select......
The possible slide:
Byron Murphy, CB Washington:
If the DL prospects that the Colts want are all gone at 26, this is the guy I would take. To me, the top CB prospects are in two separate tiers. Greedy, Deandre and Byron in tier one, a drop-off and then everyone else. Greedy and Deandre are both length corners that will be great pros, but they are mostly press DBs.
Byron is not the athlete either of the latter two are (5’11’’ and 180 pounds), but his instincts are insanely good (6 INTs in the last 2 years) and he seems to be made for a zone scheme. Sadly, I don’t see him sliding past 25 because the secondary needy Eagles will probably take him.
Andre Dillard, OT Washington St.
Alright, I get it. The Colts have a Top-3 OL which is young, talented and straight-up mean. But do you know who is also those three things? Dillard. He takes a lot of pride in his work and his effort would certainly match that which the Colts already have.
Ballard has stated that he wants 8 starting caliber OLs, and the Colts probably have 6 (Castonzo, Nelson, Kelly, Glowinski, Smith, Haeg) due to the cutting of Denzelle Good and Matt Slauson retiring. The one knock against Dillard is his hand placement is inconsistent and he sometimes goes a little wide instead of getting his hands on the Pass-Rushers chest.
I think the Colts take their left tackle of the future and groom him for when Castonzo hits FA.
Jaylon Ferguson, DE Lousiana Tech:
Last year the Colts gave a small town prospect a try and that worked out pretty well. Ferguson is one of those love-hate prospects in the draft. Some GMs and coaches are raving about his FBS D1 record 45 sacks while others can’t see past the fact that he is a small school player and therefore faced lesser competition.
He is very raw but has elite potential thanks to his incredible burst and bend. He would need some grooming but this could be a nice role-of-the-dice pick for Ballard.
With the 59th pick, the Indianapolis Colts select......
The possible slide:
Julian Love, CB Notre Dame:
Another instinctive Corner who would certainly play well in Eberflus’ Zone Defense. His size isn’t standard (5’11’’ and 193 pounds), but he is a sound tackler (176 tackles in 3 years) and plays with an aggressiveness that is uncommon in small CBs.
He’s got nice closing speed in curl routes and thanks to his smaller size he can twist and turn out of cuts better than corners with bigger strides. Sometimes, when he goes down the field past 20 yards from the LOS, he decides not to turn his head around to see the ball. That and his size are the only knocks I have on him.
Hakeem Butler, WR Iowa State:
While the Colts have the small speedster in T.Y. Hilton, Butler gives them the complete opposite. A 6’6’’ behemoth had 1,318 yards his senior year and averaged 22.0 YPC. His height is one of his clear strengths, the other is his elusiveness, which is strange for a WR that big.
His route running is not superb as bigger strides make it harder for him to change direction. Could be the WR with the most upside, and considering Ballard likes the tall, raw, high-potential receivers, I can see him taking a gamble on Butler with this pick. The FA market is quite dry except for maybe Golden Tate, who will demand an inordinate amount of money.
Drafting Butler would give the Colts a sound WR room with T.Y. Hilton, Deon Cain, Hakeem Butler, and Zach Pascal/Chester Rodgers.
Charles Omenihu, DE Texas:
Omenihu seems to have all the tools to have been a great player in college. At 6’6’’ and 275 pounds, Omenihu could play inside or outside due to his good get-off at the LOS and arm length. He has a great motor, athleticism, tackling skills, and strength. He showed out at the Senior Bowl where he began to gain traction, but there are still some knocks against him.
While his senior year was good (45 tackles, 18 TFL, 9.5 sacks) his previous 3 years combined were a bit underwhelming (70 tackles, 12 TFL, 7 sacks). He will test well in the combine, but during the interviews, he will have some explaining to do as for why he took so long to put his tools together in a defense-deficient Big 12.
With the 90th overall pick, the Indianapolis Colts select.....
Andy Isabella, WR UMass
Andy Isabella is a high floor, low ceiling type of player. His FBS leading 1,698 receiving yards demonstrate that he can definitely get it done at a high level. Isabella isn’t lightning fast, but he is quite elusive, as shown by his 16.6 YPC; and while Isabella did play against lower competition, he also displayed his talents versus higher level competition (219 yards and 2TDs vs Georgia).
His stature (5’11’’ and 190 pounds) will certainly hurt him and he seems to have little room for growth. He will never develop in the areas he is weak in (23-year-olds don’t tend to grow 4 inches overnight) and his route running, twitch-reflexes and hands aren’t going to get any better. If developed correctly, he could be a Julian Edelman-type player, but that would mean that he would have to play mostly out of the slot, which is Hilton’s area of expertise.
Rock-Ya Sin, CB Temple:
If Ballard could build a Corner to his liking, it would look a whole lot like Sin (6’2’’ and 190 pounds). He played in the American Conference so he didn’t really face much top-end talent, but coaches liked his performance in the Senior Bowl, as he was constantly pitted against Deebo Samuel and held his own.
Now, he is an extremely raw press corner and will need to sit out a year or so to be groomed; however, you can see that there is an improvement as he nabbed 2 INTs during his senior campaign, compared to the 0 he accumulated in his first 3 years.
Darrell Henderson, RB Memphis:
This one is going to feel like a luxury pick, and in all honesty, it is. Mack has the makings of a 4.5+ YPC, 80 YPG back with Hines receiving out of the shotgun and Wilkins taking a few snaps a game to keep the starters fresh. Still, I think Henderson would be a player to keep your eyes on.
At 5’9’’ and 200 pounds, his center of gravity is low and close to the ground, so close that seeing linebackers bounce off him is not uncommon. His low stature also allows him to have great change of direction, which, combined with his speed (8.9 YPC both his sophomore and junior years), makes him a threat to take it to the house on any given moment (22 TDs junior year).
Our first three picks are probably going to be DL, WR, and OL (in no particular order). Why not spoil ourselves a little bit in the third round with this outstanding talent (1,909 rushing yards)?