Round 1, pick 26
S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida
Gardner-Johnson is one of my favorite prospects in the entire Draft. He would be the perfect complement to Malik Hooker in the backfield. CGJ is the prototype of a modern safety. He is extremely versatile, being able to play as the lone center-fielder, on a two-deep scheme or also can cover man-to-man. Gardner-Johnson is also an excellent tackler who excels in run-support.
The most interesting thing about CGJ is that, despite the fact that he would start right away in the backfield of the Colts defense, he still has plenty of room for improvement, and could become one of the league’s top safeties in the near future.
Round 2, pick 34
DL Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
This would be my dream Draft scenario for the Colts. After solidifying the back end of the defense, the Colts get a monster in the trenches in the form of Jerry Tillery. Tillery is a massive (6’5’’, 306lbs) defensive tackle with incredible hand usage and explosiveness. He would help solidify the pass-rush from the inside of the line, something the Colts were extremely lacking last season.
The problem with Tillery is that there are some questions about his work ethic and passion for the game, and he has a history of dirty plays. However, I personally think Ballard likes players that carry a mean demeanor in them. Quenton Nelson is not your “nice” type of player, why should Tillery, a defensive tackle, be nice? Leave that to #12.
Round 2, pick 59
WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
Deebo Samuel fills an immediate need for the Colts as a shifty slot receiver to complement both Hilton and Funchess. He is the missing component the Colts offense desperately needed last season, an intermediate guy that can move the chains and get open on a play-to-play basis. Samuel can do it all for the Colts, and he is the type of Swiss-army knife that would excel with Andrew Luck at quarterback and in an offense where he would be the third option.
He does have a bit of an injury history, but he is the type of versatile, outside the box play maker that Luck never had in his career.
Round 3, pick 89
CB Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt
Williams is a long, physical cornerback with plenty of potential, but he could need one or two years to develop his technique and hone his craft, in order to reach his ceiling. Williams has all the tangibles needed to be a solid outside cornerback in the NFL, and he fits perfectly with the Colts, who already have Desir, Wilson, and Kenny Moore returning next season.
Williams could serve as a depth player for his rookie year and could showcase his full potential once he is ready.
Round 4, pick 129
WR Damarkus Lodge, Ole Miss
Doubling down on receiver in the first 5 picks might be considered too much, but the Colts started 1-5 last season mainly because of the receiver’s inability to catch, and Dontrelle Inman is still a free-agent. Lodge could become an Inman 2.0, with a much higher ceiling. Lodge has probably the best releases out of the line I have seen in the Draft class. He is also a blue-collar type of player with excellent work ethic and willing to play the scrapper role on the field.
The main knock on Lodge is that he did not run a complete route-tree in Ole Miss’ offense, and it is also worrying that he was the third option in that passing offense, so he might have benefited from easier match-ups.
Round 4, pick 135
DL Kingsley Keke, Texas A&M
Keke is a raw, developmental prospect with plenty of upside but also a very high risk. He has all the physical tools to be at least a serviceable starter in the NFL but he is far too inconsistent to be great. Keke struggles with football IQ, technique and overall grip for the game, and he has not shown a remarkable work-ethic in order to improve on such things.
Still, the Colts locker room culture could absorb Keke and shape him into the player he has the potential of being. Even though there is a big risk with drafting Keke, the Colts have perhaps the best shot at maximizing his enormous potential.
Round 5, pick 164
LB Tre Watson, Maryland
Behind DROTY Darius Leonard the Colts are relatively thin at linebacker, and could use some depth. Tre Watson is a solid all-around player, that can fill in and do his job. He will not blow you away with extreme athleticism or big hits but he is a technically sound linebacker that has a knack for being in the right place. He may even take Anthony Walker’s spot by the end of the season, as Walker has a tendency of giving up the big play, while Watson almost never makes big mistakes.
Round 6, pick 199
S Ugochukwu Amadi, Oregon
Amadi is my favorite late round prospect of the entire class. He can play safety, nickel, or slot and is also a solid returner and special teamer. He provides the best value out of a 6th round pick and is also a natural born leader (Team Captain at Oregon). Amadi would be one of those under-the-radar pickups that make teams considerably better in the little things.
Round 7, pick 240
RB Ty Johnson, Maryland
Johnson is a small, boom-or-bust running back that can also provide great value as a special teamer. He knows how to use his small-frame to his advantage and does not have plenty of tread on his tires. Johnson would give the Colts a player that can take every ball he touches to the house, his inconsistency, however, will have to be worked on.
What position would you like to see the Colts invest more in?
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