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Scouting Notebook: College Players to watch for the Indianapolis Colts

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Scouting Notebook is back with a weekly look at college prospects who fit the Colts

NCAA Football: Utah State at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Scouting Notebook is back for 2019 as we take a weekly look at college prospects who could fit the Colts. If you are unfamiliar with this series, the Scouting Notebook highlights four prospects each week that Colts fans should have their eye on for the upcoming NFL Draft. Now that Chris Ballard has three Colts’ drafts under his belt, it is much easier to identify his types at most positions and really target guys that he may like.

For this first Notebook, we won’t have a guest analyst featured like we did last year but may have a few analysts guest write in the future. For now, here is our first four prospects of the season to keep an eye on for the Colts.


Jordan Love, QB (6’4” 220 lbs)

NCAA Football: Utah State at Brigham Young Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Background

Love is one of those rare college quarterbacks who has started since his Freshman year on campus. Throwing to NFL caliber players such as Darwin Thompson and Dax Raymond at Utah State, Love has put together a very solid career at the school thus far and has improved each season. Going into his Junior season in 2019, he has completed 61.9% of his passes for 5,908 yards and 44 touchdowns and only 15 interceptions. He has also rushed for 261 yards and 9 touchdowns over the course of his career.


Analysis

Jordan Love looks the part as an NFL quarterback. He has ideal height and size along with being very mobile in and around the pocket. He has outstanding arm strength and can make throws that other quarterbacks simply can’t make. He has some of the best touch and anticipation in the entire country. He has to develop more poise in the pocket and improve his decision making but Love has all the makings to be a very good NFL quarterback.


Film Room

Effortless arm strength and excellent touch are big parts of Love’s game. He sits in the clean pocket and leads his receiver to the back of the end zone for the score. With a QB like Love, the Colts would be able to take advantage of the speed and versatility they have on the outside with TY Hilton, Deon Cain, and Parris Campbell. You can see the NFL talent on display here though.

Throwing on the run is so important in today’s NFL and Love excels in this area. He gets to the edge quickly and keeps a solid base while doing so. His arm strength when throwing off-platform is still great as he pushes this pass towards the sideline. He may not be a perfect prospect but he has a lot of intriguing traits that translate well to the NFL.


Fit with the Colts

Jordan Love would be an excellent pick regardless of whether or not Brissett proves to not be the answer at QB this year. If Brissett struggles and fails to put together a winning season, Love can be the next quarterback to take over as the face of the franchise. If Brissett plays well but not great, then Love could be the next quarterback in waiting who could potentially take over in 2021 when he is ready.

There are a lot of intriguing aspects of Jordan Love that could interest the Colts. His ability to push the ball down the field with anticipation and accuracy have to be the most interesting traits. It is still too early to say if the Colts will need a QB in this upcoming draft, hopefully Brissett shows he can be the future face of the franchise, but Chris Ballard has said he likes Jordan Love so he could be a very real possibility in the 2020 class.


Tristan Wirfs, OT (6’5” 322 lbs)

NCAA Football: Miami (Ohio) at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Background

One of the most hyped up players of this offseason, Tristan Wirfs could be a future left tackle in the NFL. A right tackle for Iowa, Wirfs has had quite a college career already for a Junior. He is the only freshman to start at offensive tackle under head coach Kirk Ferentz and has started 20 games in his career. He was an Honorable Mention All-Big 12 in 2018 and is an Honor Roll student at Iowa. He is also a known star in the weight room as he made Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List this offseason with a power clean record of four reps of 450 pounds and a 35” vertical.


Analysis

Despite playing right tackle the past two seasons for Iowa, Wirfs could make the transition to left tackle in the NFL as well. He is an outstanding athlete, moving effortlessly in the open field. His power is evident on film as he clears running room by dominating players on the edge. His technique is also a big plus as Iowa does a great job of developing their lineman to be as technically sound as possible. He does have some lapses in pass protection but overall he is an outstanding tackle prospect.


Film Room

Power, leg drive, and finishing ability in the run game all on display here. Wirfs is able to dominate this block as he drives his defender out of the play and back to the secondary. He finishes this impressive play by putting the defender on his back. Wirfs is easily the best run blocking lineman in the country with his athleticism and power.

Playing some left tackle in this clip, he dominates this pass blocking rep. He gets his hands up quickly inside on the edge rusher and is then able to use his power to dominate the rest of the block. His quickness and movement in his kick step do need some work but that could be a good thing for the Colts. The Colts teach more of an aggressive pass set rather than the traditional kick step so it could be beneficial to have him in this Colts’ scheme.


Fit with the Colts

Anthony Castonzo is a free agent after the 2019 NFL season. Even though he is playing the best football of his career of late, he could find himself on another team after the year due to the rising rates of left tackles on the open market. If that fear becomes a reality and Castonzo departs in free agency, Wirfs could be a perfect replacement.

With his power and ability in the run game, he would fit perfectly with the Colts’ mentality on the offensive line. He may have some growing pains as a pass protector early on but the long term upside is insane. Developing him next to a superstar in Quenton Nelson would be a nightmare for opposing defenses.


Derrick Brown, DT (6’5” 318 lbs)

NCAA Football: Music City Bowl-Auburn vs Purdue Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Background

An impressive player on the field, Brown has had a very productive career for the Auburn Tigers. He has accumulated 123 tackles, 22.5 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles in his collegiate career. Off the field, he is even more impressive. In 2018, he made the AFCA Good Works Team while finishing as a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy (for community service) and for the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year award.


Analysis

Elite strength and athleticism sum up Brown perfectly. His power is unmatched as he wins most blocks at the point of attack. He attacks with great leverage and plugs holes with great ease. Brown is an excellent run defender who understands how to eat space. He may not be the best pass rusher statistically, but he wins one on one blocks with ease. Brown has a great bull rush, along with some other moves that he builds on top of that. He would be a perfect run stuffing defensive tackle in the NFL with pass rushing upside.


Film Room

Brown's power is insane and even deadly at times. He wins his block at the point of attack here and plugs the run lane. The running back tries to lower his shoulder on Brown but he is having none of it. He picks up the running back off his feet before burying him into the ground. Great run defense as well as showcasing some nastiness and power on this play.

8.5 sacks in three seasons is not too impressive but he does drive the pocket very well. He has active and violent hands inside. He uses these hands along with his natural leverage to drive the pocket and create opportunities for his edge rushers. Here, he is able to drive the pocket and hit the quarterback as the ball is thrown. This bull rush is incredible and shows off his pass rush upside.


Fit with the Colts

The Colts elected to not address defensive tackle in the 2018 NFL Draft and that was a bit of a confusing decision. With the departure of Al Woods in free agency, one would have thought the team would address the need for a run stuffing tackle in the draft. Maybe they address it in 2019 with Derrick Brown.

Brown is not your typical run stuffing defensive tackle as he offers so much pass rush upside with his power and violent hands. He also brings a bit of nastiness to a Colts’ defensive line that could use it. The Colts have pass rushers up front and adding a run stuffer with big time upside could be a great addition in the 2020 Draft.


Tyler Johnson, WR (6’2” 205 lbs)

NCAA Football: Georgia Southern at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Background

The final prospect in today’s notebook is Minnesota star receiver Tyler Johnson. The school record-breaking receiver has had a great career for the Gophers. For his career, he has 144 catches for 2,226 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also is a Team Captain and has set school records for receiving yards in a season and receiving touchdowns in a game.


Analysis

Johnson may not be the most athletically gifted receiver in this class, in terms of long speed, but he makes up for that in other areas. He is an outstanding route runner understanding how to utilize leverage and break down his hips to gain separation. He is also great in traffic as he fights through contact to come back to balls. Johnson does struggle a bit pushing deep down the field, and that may limit his overall draft position, but he should be a productive NFL receiver with his baseline skill set.


Film Room

Here, Johnson is able to win in the slot with a quick inside move. He gets his head back around to the quarterback and makes himself available off of the blitz. He catches the ball in stride and is then able to turn up field for the score. Great route to get quick separation and a great job to take it to the house afterwards.

Great feet on the sideline and great job tracking the ball. Johnson brings a reliability factor with his route running and body control that many receivers on the Colts roster don’t have right now. He is a very polished, high floor receiver that would fit the Colts well.


Fit with the Colts

The Colts have done a great job of adding speed to their receiver group. With youngsters like Deon Cain, Parris Campbell, and even Daurice Fountain going forward, the team could use a polished underneath route runner.

If Devin Funchess departs in free agency after this season, Johnson could be a great mid-round replacement. He is a great route runner who can get separation and be a reliable target underneath. He’d be a great fit in the Colts’ current receiver group.


Final Thoughts

It is fun to look at potential draft targets for the Colts this early in the season. Truth is, though, who knows what their needs could be going into the draft? There are plenty of ways that Chris Ballard could plug up these holes before the draft and there are ways that more holes could arise throughout this season.

At the moment, these players could be great fits for the Colts in 2020 from their off-field accomplishments to their on-field ones. Things are obviously subject to change but watch out for these four talented players throughout the 2019 collegiate season.