In this series, we will look at mocking viable and realistic options to the Colts each week and analyzing each pick in how they fit the Colts.
Welcome to Mock Draft Face Off with Elliot and Stephen! The offseason is officially here and the NFL draft is arguably the leagues biggest offseason event. So each week we will both be mocking draft picks to the Colts and analysing them. We will now be mocking the first two picks of the Colts then building up to include the other rounds and picks as we get into free agency and then closer to the draft.
Elliot’s Round 1 - Pick 26
Christian Wilkins - DL - Clemson
Chris Ballard has reiterated the need to fortify the Colts defensive line. The Colts have both Margus Hunt and Al Woods set to hit free agency also. Enter Christian Wilkins, the forgotten man in the defensive tackle group, a group that’s led by bigger flashy names such as Quinnen Williams and Ed Oliver. Wilkins has a great blend of pass rushing skills and nose for stopping the run, managing to rack up 40.5 tackles for a loss and 16 sacks in his college career. He brings a versatility that is similar to Denico Autry in that he has been used inside and on the edge. Wilkins from Clemson projects well as a fit in the Colts interior defensive line.
Elliot’s Round 2 - Pick 34
A.J. Brown - WR - Ole Miss
The Colts are in desperate need for help opposite TY Hilton, so why not grab one of the best receivers in this draft class. AJ Brown is exactly the type of receiver the Colts need to help elevate the pressure of Hilton. Brown offers a big body, secure hands and plenty of YAC ability. Adding a wide receiver like Brown is exactly what the Colts need and may help take the offense under Frank Reich to another level.
As the first two picks go for the Colts, you probably couldn’t be happier with this combo. Wilkins is exactly what the Colts look for in not just a player but as a person. He’s a penetrating 3-technique who can cause havoc in the backfield. He’s surprisingly stout against the run and is possibly one of the more versatile DTs in this class. Add in that Wilkins appeared to be a leader off the field for Clemson and you’ve got the total package.
Brown is an interesting case. He had two quality WRs with him at Ole Miss so his production certainly wasn’t as high as it could have been. That said, Brown has quality hands and runs solid routes. He could contribute immediately but has athletic limitations. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brown turned out to be a better pro than his counterparts at Ole Miss.
Reed’s Round 1 - Pick 26
T.J. Hockenson - TE - Iowa
This might be a shock to some with the TEs the Colts currently have on the roster but Hockenson, in Frank Reich’s offense, is perfect. He’s the Swiss army knife of TE prospects. He’s effective at the point of attack in the run but has great hands with an ability to make contested catches. Hockenson appears to be an upgraded version of Jack Doyle.
Reed’s Round 2 - Pick 34
Jeffery Simmons - DT - Mississippi St.
Another controversial pick here for some fans. As many of us know, Simmons tore his ACL earlier this month. Prior to that, Simmons was consistently projected as a top 10 pick and likely considered the second best DT in the entire draft. He is the perfect gap penetrating DT for the Colts system. He has his limitations at the point of attack but can hold his own.
The biggest red flag for fans, myself included, relates to Simmons assault of a woman prior to enrolling at Mississippi St three years ago. You can read the story here and make your own determination. Since that time, Simmons has been a model citizen and a leader at Mississippi St.
If this were a draft based solely on talent, Simmons is a no-brainer, which is why he goes at 34 overall. However, Simmons could also be off Chris Ballard’s board entirely. I wouldn’t be surprised either way and would support Ballard’s decision to remove him entirely. Assaulting women is indefensible. Period.
Wow, hello Mr Controversial! Love the Hockenson pick, Hockenson in my opinion in the best tight end in the class and better than his Iowa counterpart Fant, who is getting all the draft attention. Hockenson, as Reed mentioned, is a jack-of-all-trades tight end who really can do it all but also does it all extremely well. If Hockenson was the first pick in the draft by the Colts, I would certainly feel conflicted. On one hand the Colts grabbed one of the best offensive prospects in the draft in a position which will become a future need, but on the other hand may have neglected the bigger immediate needs in doing so. Regardless, the Colts could do a lot worse than Hockenson.
Simmons, based solely off on-the-field play and presence, would likely be a top 10 pick in this class, but a draft grade isn’t solely off on-the-field play, which dampens Simmons’ grade. Simmons does wreck havoc along the defensive line and does so well in penetrating gaps which is exactly what the Colts ask of their defensive linemen. However, Simmons’ off-the-field issues aren’t great, Reed mentioned the assault on a female above, plus add in the fact that he has just torn his ACL, so he wouldn’t be able to contribute early on if at all in the season. Simmons isn’t the best use of the 34th overall pick in the draft in my opinion.
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