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.
Today’s notebook will focus on four SEC players who the Colts could have interest in in the 2020 NFL Draft. Who is your favorite of the prospects listed below?
Javon Kinlaw, DT (6’6” 310 pounds)
A rare defensive tackle with a blend of size and quickness, Kinlaw could work his way to first round consideration with a strong 2019. A pure pass rusher, he has constantly played in the opponent’s backfield in his college career. He has totaled 60 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, 8 sacks, and three forced fumbles in his college career. He also received the Joe Morrison Award as the MVP of South Carolina’s defense in 2018.
Long and athletic, Kinlaw has all the traits you look for in a defensive tackle. At 6’6”, he has excellent length to separate from interior blockers. He is quick off the snap of the ball and has quite a few pass rush moves up his sleeve. He truly is everything you would want in a moldable defensive tackle prospect. He needs to work on his consistency and play with lower pad level but the potential is huge with him. He reminds me a bit of Chris Jones as a prospect out of Mississippi State.
Javon Kinlaw could end up being a top 15 or top 10 pick. If he plays this way every Saturday from here out then i find it hard to believe he falls further than 15. Defensive tackles like him are valuable, especially ones that can rush the passer pic.twitter.com/OwyDtVDjo3— Paul Huggins (@ninemiles45) September 19, 2019
We spotlighted South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw in this week’s GamePlan. Here’s good evidence on why. pic.twitter.com/uyAYGUPwmD— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 14, 2019
Javon Kinlaw, whew. Impressive sack on Tua. pic.twitter.com/bGVWmkjmRm— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) September 14, 2019
Fit with the Colts
The Colts need more talent on their interior defensive line. Denico Autry has been solid thus far and provides a good boost in both pass rushing and defending the run. Outside of that though, there have been major struggles. Grover Stewart and Margus Hunt have struggled this season and Jihad Ward has barely seen the field. Adding a player with the upside of Kinlaw would be an excellent addition to the team. He would immediately contribute with his power and size while adding long term potential as a star pass rusher. He would fit great alongside Autry at defensive tackle going forward.
Jabari Zuniga, DE (6’4” 246 lbs)
Another talented pass rusher from Florida, Zuniga is just hitting his stride as a pass rusher. The athletic defensive end has totaled 110 tackles, 30.5 tackles for a loss, and 18.5 sacks in his college career up to this point. The redshirt Senior is coming along nicely in 2019 as he already has three sacks and three tackles for a loss in just two games.
The first word that comes to mind when thinking of Zuniga? Bendy. He has excellent bend and explosiveness around the outside. As we have seen with Chris Ballard drafting Ben Banogu and Kemoko Turay, that is clearly the number one trait he looks for in a pass rusher. Zuniga also showcases a wide array of moves when rushing the passer and his quickness off the ball allows him to really put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. He has to improve his run defense and play with better overall consistency but his intangibles combined with his fiery motor make him a very intriguing prospect.
Jabari Zuniga is so explosive. First step might be the most impressive thing I’ve noticed. He’s a big disruptive force due to his explosiveness. pic.twitter.com/74hgyI1tYc— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) June 7, 2019
JABARI. ZUNIGA. He's so fast off the ball (and Zion Nelson is so slow). Easy sack. What speed! pic.twitter.com/Q35pfJECAM— Fed Scivittaro (@MeshPointScout) August 25, 2019
Florida DL Jabari Zuniga getting some work inside. Nice swat to remove hands. Could be tough to handle in jet packages moving forward. pic.twitter.com/RmIvOyLDBw— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) September 13, 2019
Fit with the Colts
Chris Ballard loves adding pass rushers and he especially loves pass rushers with this particular mold. The question may be asked if Zuniga would be overkill with both Banogu and Turay already on the roster but in today’s NFL you always need pass rushers. With Zuniga, the Colts would be getting yet another talented pass rusher to groom on this defense. With Jabaal Sheard potentially departing after the season and Justin Houston getting up there in age, it would be very hard to ignore the talent of Jabari Zuniga.
Demarkus Acy, CB (6’2” 195 pounds)
The talented Missouri corner back has steadily improved each year on campus. For his career, he has totaled 91 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, 16 pass deflections, and 3 interceptions. He broke out last season and earned 2nd Team All-SEC Honors for his strong play. He looks to build off that breakout campaign in 2018 as he heads into this season.
A physical cornerback, Acy uses his size to his advantage. He plays with great play strength and competes for every pass in the air. He can get physical at the line of scrimmage or move with receivers in off coverage. He is a good run defender as he plays with aggressiveness on the outside and wraps up well in one on one situations. Showcased great ball skills for the first time in his career in 2018 with three interceptions and 10 pass deflections. He needs to be a bit more disciplined on the backend but his tenacity and length are very intriguing.
Fit with the Colts
The Colts don’t necessarily need another corner in this next draft with young players in Rock Ya-Sin and Quincy Wilson along with locked up vets in Kenny Moore II and Pierre Desit already on the roster. Chris Ballard though should continue to look at adding talent to the group as depth is always needed at this vital position. Acy would fit very well with Ya-Sin and Wilson as he offers great length and competitive toughness. His physicality and willingness in run defense would also fit very well with what the Colts want to do. Acy may not be a need in this upcoming class but he’s a player who would fit perfectly with this Colts’ team.
Prince Tega Wanogho (6’7” 305 lbs)
The Nigerian born left tackle went from basketball star to NFL Prospect in a few short years. Flying over from Nigeria in hopes of playing in the NBA, Tega Wanogho dominated at football in high school and earned a scholarship to Auburn. He started every game as a Junior in 2018, earning First Team All-SEC honors from Pro Football Focus. Off the field he is a star student as he is a multiple time Academic Honor Roll student.
Standing at 6’7”, his length and size are excellent. He has quick feet and is surprisingly nimble for a player of his size. His anchor is solid when countering bull rushes and his natural strength is very impressive. He plays with occasional nastiness in the run game as well. He has all of the tools to be a dominant tackle in the NFL. He has to improve his consistency and hand usage but he could be a long term starter at the position in the league.
Prince Tega Wanogho told me earlier this spring that he needs to work on his pad level in the run game.— Christian Page (@_ChristianPage) August 4, 2019
If he gets the right leverage, he has the strength to be a people mover. #Auburn #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/SJPTK6thtJ
Fit with the Colts
Even though Anthony Castonzo is playing the best football of his career, the Colts have to look at the longterm answer at the position. Even if they re-sign Castonzo in the offseason, Tega Wanogho would be a great tackle to develop behind the veteran. He has all the tools to be a great tackle in the NFL, he just needs more development and coaching. Getting him in a room with Quenton Nelson, Castonzo, and Coach Chris Strausser could turn him into a high level starter in this league.
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.