(I used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator, as it is the most unpredictable and realistic in my opinion. Keep in mind it is a simulation, there was a Draft I made on which both Haskins and Ed Oliver slid to the second round, unpredictable stuff happens.)
Round 1, pick 26
Christian Wilkins, defensive line, Clemson
What else is there to say about Wilkins that Colts’ fans have not heard. He is quite possibly the best prospect Ballard could ever dream of. A tough, hard nosed defensive tackle, who can both plug the run and is capable of rushing the passer, though he was inconsistent in that department. Wilkins would become the leader of the trenches and his hard-working, no BS personality fits right in with the Colts culture. Wilkins is what seems like a match made in heaven for the Colts.
Other options: Byron Murphy, CB. Jerry Tillery, DL.
Round 2, pick 34
Clelin Ferrell, defensive end, Clemson
What’s better than one defensive lineman out of Clemson? Well, two defensive linemen out of Clemson! Ferrell would likely play on the edge while Wilkins is best suited for a three-technique role. Ferrell’s excellent size (6’5’’, 260 lbs) and production (27 sacks in 3 seasons) should be enough reasons to pick him. Jeffrey Simmons was still on the board at the time, but Ferrell gives the Colts an instant starter right away, and he showed no red-flags during his time in Clemson, something Ballard values a lot. Ferrell should immediately become one of the best pass-rushers on the Colts roster.
Other options: Jeffrey Simmons, DL. Joejuan Williams, CB.
Round 2, pick 59
Marquise Brown, wide receiver, Oklahoma
Finally some wide receiver help for Andrew Luck. Unlike my fellow writers, personally I am not that high on Devin Funchess. While he can be a solid red-zone threat I do not envision him becoming any more than that. Brown, on the other hand, is an incredibly talent receiver that plays above his small frame and has insane athleticism. Brown can burn past any cornerback in the NFL, watching him burn Bradley Roby on a post route would be one of the sweetest feelings in the world. With Hilton and Ebron on the field, Brown could take advantage of easier matchups and explode as a rookie.
Other options: Deebo Samuel, WR. Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE.
Round 3, pick 89
JJ Arcega-Whiteside, wide receiver, Stanford
Arcega-Whiteside is one of the most polished receivers in the NFL Draft. Spare me your D.K Metcalf memes, I'll take the reliable route-runner, with rock solid hands everyday. He is a tall receiver with absurd body control and excellent hands. In my opinion, he would need just a couple of weeks to take the starting spot from Funchess and he could become the most productive wide receiver of the class.
Other options: Dre’Mont Jones, DL. Amani Hooker, S.
Round 5, pick 129
Beau Benzschawel, interior OL, Wisconsin
I was surprised to see Benzschawel drop so much, as he was a 3rd round pick caliber player to my eye. Benzschawel can provide some much needed depth on the offensive line, and because of his immense size (6’6’’) he could also be developed as a tackle for the future or in case of emergency. He has the versatility and hard-nosed attitude Ballard loves, so he seemed like a reasonable pick.
Other options: Khalen Saunders DL, Montre Hartage, CB.
Round 5, pick 135
Ugochukwu Amadi, safety, Oregon
Looking for later round gems I fell in love with Amadi. He is one of my favorite sleepers on this draft class. Amadi possesses insane athleticism and his movement just seems so natural. He can play either safety, nickel or slot. He does not fit the “thumper” role needed next to Hooker but his speed and instincts would allow him to play anywhere on the field. Yet another versatile guy that can make plays all over the field. As the League is turning much more pass-oriented, pairing him up with Hooker when the situation calls would be a terrifying sight for opposing quarterbacks.
Other options: Tyler Roemer OT, Isaiah Buggs DL.
Round 6, pick 164
Terry Godwin, wide receiver, Georgia
If utilized correctly, Godwin can become a valuable threat on the Colts offense. Because of his questionable size and strength Godwin may not be suited to handle the blows of a full 16 games of the season, but if used sparingly he can give the Colts a reliable receiver with excellent route-running and above average athleticism. Playing in a run-heavy Georgia offense must have hurt his production, which caused him to slip in the Draft.
Other options: Saivion Smith, CB. Lukas Denis, S.
Round 7, pick 199
Bryce Love, running back, Stanford
How does a Heisman runner-up end up becoming a 7th round pick? After his historical 2017 season where he racked up over 2K yards and 19 scores, Love chose to return to Stanford for his senior season. Time and time again, returning to school after you already proved your worth has shown to be one of the worst decisions athletes take. The Colts can take advantage of this and select Love with little to no commitment. If he returns to full form after tearing his ACL then the Colts could have a gem in their hands, yet if he does not the damage is nearly minimal.
Other options: Marvel Tell, safety.
Round 7, pick 240
Ryan Finley, quarterback, NC State
Considering the fact backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett could leave next season, the Colts can already start looking for his replacement. Finley was solid his last two seasons at NC State and has the intangibles to develop as a backup in the NFL.
Other options: Penny Hart, receiver.