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 league's biggest offseason event. Each week we will both be mocking draft picks to the Colts and analyzing them. We will now be mocking the first three rounds of picks by the Colts, then building up to include the other rounds and picks as we get closer to the draft.
Elliot’s Round 1 Pick 26
TJ Hockenson - TE - Iowa
Yes, a tight end with the first pick in the draft. Hear me out: First, TJ Hockenson is a top offensive prospect in this draft. Along with his college counterpart, Noah Fant, they are the top two tight ends in the draft. Hockenson is a do-it-all tight end who can catch and block, and the end result of both are always good. He’s the jack of all trades, Swiss Army knife tight end that I’m sure the Colts will love to have on their offense. Add in the fact that both Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle are free agents at the end of the year, and this pick makes all the more sense for the future.
Elliot’s Round 2 Pick 34
Taylor Rapp - Safety - Washington
The need for a safety for the future is evident. Clayton Geathers is the presumed starter next year after re-signing on a 1 year deal but after that, the position is up in the air. Taylor Rapp is the perfect safety for the Colts. He’s a versatile safety who works best when plays in the box and in a two high system. That's exactly what the Colts play and it's presumably how the team would use him. Rapp is a strong tackler who is effective in run support, can cover tight ends and plays zone well. Rapp fits what the Colts look for in a safety very well, and would be a perfect partner for Malik Hooker
Elliot’s Round 2 Pick 59
Zach Allen - DL -Boston College
Zach Allen is the epitome of a hard worker. The tape shows just that, he wins from hard work, motor and technique. This is a player with fantastic instincts, who plays very effectively against the run and offers upside rushing the passer. Allen would likely play base 4-3 end and can kick inside to 3 Technique defensive tackle during passing downs, similar to how Tyquan Lewis was used last year. With his initial quickness and play strength, Allen could play defensive tackle full-time and maximize his strengths.
Elliot’s Round 3 Pick 89
Joe Jackson - EDGE - Miami
The Colts need pass rushers and Joe Jackson is exactly that. Jackson gets after the quarterback by any means necessary and has proven to be very effective, getting constant pressure and production. Jackson bulked up around 30lbs and it has helped tremendously with his strength. He projects to be a defensive end in the Colts scheme.
As a whole, I agree with most of Elliot’s picks. Getting Hockenson at 26 would be an absolute steal but might be unpopular with some Colts fans in the same way Reggie Wayne was an unpopular pick when he was drafted. Hockenson can do it all, though, and would flourish in Reich’s offense. Picking Hockenson would also give the Colts some insurance if Jack Doyle or Eric Ebron were to walk after the season.
Taylor Rapp is my favorite safety fit for the Colts. He’s a perfect pairing with Malik Hooker and would fill the box safety role perfectly.
Zach Allen is a high-motor type of defensive end who is solid all the way around. He doesn’t have the speed or athleticism some might desire as an edge defender though.
Jackson is an interesting pick up in the third round. To me, he seems more like a 3-4 DE than an EDGE rusher. His size and strength would make him a solid DE in the base 4-3, but he doesn’t have the initial quickness or flexibility to be a consistent pass rusher from the outside. If he’s moved inside to DT, he may be able to collapse the pocket with a simple bull rush.
Reed’s Round 1 Pick 26
Andre Dillard - OT - Washington St
Oh, Elliot wants to surprise people with a controversial pick at 26? Challenge accepted! Dillard is a perfect pick for the Colts here. He’s an athletic left tackle prospect that excels in pass protection. Given his time in Washington State's passing-oriented offense, he’ll need some time to work on run blocking. Dillard could learn behind Anthony Castonzo for a year then immediately take over if the Colts don’t extend him. Think this idea is crazy? Chris Ballard said in his interviews at the Owner’s meetings last week that he really like the OL in this class so don’t be surprised if they look for a long term solution for life after Castonzo.
Reed’s Round 2 Pick 34
Jerry Tillery - DT - Notre Dame
Tillery is the perfect fit for the DT position in the Colts speed-based defense. He has the power and explosion to shoot the gaps and collapse the pocket. He’s strong at the point of attack, and gets his hands up to cause tipped balls. He does need to be coached up in a few areas but, overall, he’d be a perfect fit.
Reed’s Round 2 Pick 59
Hakeem Butler - WR - Iowa St
Hakeem Butler is my favorite WR in this class. He’s been mocked anywhere from top 20 to the third round so the jury really is out on him. He could fall, however, based on his inconsistent hands and limited route tree. Butler does have trouble getting off of press coverage, as well. That said, with the right coaching, Butler can be an absolute game changer. He’s got a massive catch radius (which Frank Reich mentioned at the Owners meetings he likes in his pass catchers), and huge hands. Butler can just physically maul DBs once the ball is in his hands, and he’s deceptively fast with his long strides. To be fair, this might be the Colts pick at 34, but they very well could get him here, too.
Reed’s Round 3 Pick 89
Jachai Polite - EDGE - Florida
The slide for Polite’s disastrous pre-draft experience stops here. On tape, Polite is one of the best pass rushers in this class. He’s got it all. A fantastic first step, the ability to bend around the edge, and he's adequate against the run. Polite’s basically a blank canvas of secondary pass rush moves to develop, too. Unfortunately for him, Polite’s stock has plummeted from a likely top 15 pick to a Day 2 pick because of massive maturity concerns, poor athletic testing and rumored terrible interviews. If Chris Ballard and Frank Reich think they can help Polite mature, this could very well be the biggest steal of the draft. I wouldn’t be opposed to taking Polite at 59 if the front office were comfortable with it.
Wow I think Reed wins the shock/surprise factor with his first round pick. An offensive lineman round 1 would be a stunner! Andre Dillard is a beast of a left tackle, though, and could be just the tackle the Colts need to be Castonzo’s eventual successor. Don’t forget that Castonzo is a free agent at the end of the upcoming year, so Dilliard could be a good, cheaper option at left tackle for the future. Great pick, good value, but I just can’t justify an offensive lineman in the first round with such quality defensive talent atop this years draft class. I’d be upset but I’d get over it knowing what I know of Dilliard.
Jerry Tillery is exactly the type of defensive tackle the Colts love, an attacking one. I saw someone liken Tillery to Chris Jones of the Chiefs and I can see why, both have that constant attack mode whether it be in the run game or pass rushing. Don’t forget Chris Ballard was in Kansas City when they drafted Jones, Tillery could end up being his Indianapolis counterpart.
Hakeem Butler is flying under the radar at the moment but he shouldn’t be. His incredible catch radius and physical traits make him exactly the type of receiver the Colts need for Luck to just throw it up and let Butler come down with it. The biggest knock against him (as Reed mentioned) is his hands, as he has been prone to drops. Time with Luck and Reich will shore that up in no time, though. With the knocks on him I do think this is a good range for Butler but I could see him slip further and he could be had with the Colts third rounder instead.
Polite would be an absolute steal here. Yes, his testing sucked. Yes, his pro day sucked. You know what didn’t suck? His tape! Just put his tape on and you’ll see a dominate player who is a great pass rusher and holds up well against the run. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if Ballard grabs a falling Polite, providing he checks out interview-wise.
So who do we think won this weeks Mock Draft Face Off?
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