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Neville Gallimore is an ideal interior defensive line prospect for the Colts in the first round

NFL Combine - Day 4 Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

There are plenty of good reasons why the Indianapolis Colts are being tied to quarterback prospects in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft. There is no position more important to the long-term success of an NFL franchise and Chris Ballard is certainly well aware of that fact.

Still, if history has told us anything about Ballard, it should be that he does not allow a panicked fan base to determine the direction of the franchise and that he places a great deal of value on his draft picks. As a result, there is no reason for anyone to believe with absolute certainty that Ballard is going to use the Colts’ first round pick on a quarterback. It’s far more likely that the pick will be treated with great care and if “his guy” isn’t sitting on the board when it is time to turn in the card, Indianapolis may go in an entirely different direction.

With that in mind, we need to narrow down our list of possible selections to those that perhaps make the most sense at each position. While quarterback and wide receiver are at or near the top of the list offensively, the biggest defensive need is in the trenches. Edge rushers are always attractive, though this isn’t necessarily the flashiest class we’ve seen recently, but consistent interior defensive pressure has been lacking.

Enter Oklahoma’s Neville Gallimore.

He will be competing with other top defensive line prospects for attention in the first half of the first round in April’s draft. Javon Kinlaw is an incredible athlete and has the type of size that could be used to dominate opponents. Derrick Brown had a strong collegiate career and has been long considered the top prospect at the position and a likely top-10 pick.

No matter, for my money, Neville Gallimore is the guy for the Colts if he is there and if Ballard doesn’t feel that he wants to dedicate his first round pick to reach at quarterback or at a position he has historically not chosen so high in the draft — wide receiver.

What Gallimore brings to the Colts is a three-down starter who can play at either the 1- or 3-tech positions depending on down, distance, situations and/or injuries. In terms of athleticism, no he isn’t nearly 6’6”. However, at 6’2” and 304 lbs. he is stout enough to hold up against the run and agile enough to be terribly disruptive getting into gaps and pushing the pocket. He also ran a ridiculous 4.79 second 40-yard dash.

The other boxes Gallimore checks include his selection as a third team AP All-American and first team All Big 12 selection as a senior. He was a Team Captain at Oklahoma. At 23 years old, he isn’t too young physically to contribute right away. He has already completed his Bachelor’s Degree and is working on his Master’s in Human Relations. He attended this year’s Senior Bowl and was one of the standouts at practices.

In my Colts-specific scouting of the top defensive linemen in this year’s NFL Draft, he earns the highest grade. He checks the academic intelligence boxes, the athleticism boxes, the Senior Bowl and leadership boxes, the ability to play multiple positions in the NFL, and perhaps the most coveted ability to rush the passer from interior. He is better suited for a one-gap, penetration defensive style than a straight-up anchor and hold alternative.

It’s all but impossible to actually pick which position the Colts will target in the first round, let alone which player. With that said, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the Colts select Gallimore, even if it is before players like Javon Kinlaw or Derrick Brown.

Don’t forget to pre-order your copy of the 2020 Anthony Arena Memorial NFL Draft Guide. We plan to release the guide no later than the first week of April. We’re keeping the price at an affordable $4.99.