According to TheDraftWire’s Justin Melo, the Indianapolis Colts have met remotely with a number of highly athletic prospects as of late including Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims, Colorado linebacker Davion Taylor, and Boise State offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland:
#Baylor WR Denzel Mims worked out privately for the #Buccaneers & #Cardinals prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.— Justin M (@JustinM_NFL) March 25, 2020
Since then, he has FaceTimed with the #Titans, #Colts, #Bears and #Bills.#NFLDraft2020 | #NFLDraft
With the ongoing worldwide pandemic, the NFL recently sent a memo to all teams noting that all in-person meetings with draft eligible prospects are prohibited—so league scouting personnel such as the Colts’ scouts have had to utilize technology as of late.
Here’s a breakdown of the three prospects below:
Denzel Mims, Wide Receiver, Baylor
Regarding Mims, the 6’3”, 207 pound senior wideout out of Baylor caught 66 receptions for 1,020 receiving yards (15.5 ypr. avg.) and 12 touchdown receptions in 13 games—earning First-Team All-Big 12 honors.
During his 4-year collegiate tenure, the former Bears’ star caught 186 career receptions for 2,925 receiving yards (15.7 ypr. avg.) and 28 touchdown receptions in 40 games.
He ranks 5th all-time in receptions, 6th all-time in receiving yards, and 3rd all-time in touchdown receptions in Baylor school history respectively.
Mims’ stock really rose after the Senior Bowl, and he blew up at the NFL Combine posting a 4.38 forty time (3rd best), 38.5 inch vertical jump, and 131.0 inch broad jump (t-4th best)—featuring a 94.6% NFL percentile SPARQ rating.
Mims has the size and speed combination that would work wonders for the Colts offense, as a big bodied wideout to pair with Pro Bowler T.Y. Hilton on the other side.
He also is the type of tall, deep threat that can win 50-50 jumpballs down the field—which is exactly the type of player that veteran starter Philip Rivers has had success with (see: Vincent Jackson or Mike Williams) throughout his longtime NFL career.
The young wideout does need to work on fine-tuning his routes and being stronger at the point of attack at times.
If he’s available at #34 for the wide receiver needy Colts, Mims seems like a ‘slam dunk’, but there’s still a strong chance he doesn’t make it out of the first round entirely.
Davion Taylor, Linebacker, Colorado
Meanwhile, Davion Taylor, the 6’0”, 228 pound senior linebacker from Colorado recorded 72 tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss, 4 passes defensed, a fumble recovery, and a sack in 12 games.
Like Mims, he was another Senior Bowl participant and posted a 4.49 forty (3rd best), 35.0 inch vertical, and 127.0 inch broad jump (4th best). Taylor had a SPARQ rating in the 84.5% NFL percentile as an off the line of scrimmage linebacker.
At 6’0”, Taylor measured with 32 1/8” inch arms—and Colts general manager Chris Ballard has a preference for drafting rangy, long-armed linebackers. For comparison purposes, Colts’ All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard’s (at 6’2”) are 34 3/8” and fellow starter Anthony Walker’s (at 6’1”) are 30 3/8”.
The former Buffaloes standout is a track athlete with good explosion and range—who makes sense for the Colts as a “Will” linebacker. Where he struggles is in his lateral movement and change of direction as it relates to covering receivers vertically and plays not in front of him.
Taylor projects as a late Day 2 or early Day 3 pick—but similar to Mims, his stock is rising.
Ezra Cleveland, Offensive Tackle, Boise State
Lastly, Boise State redshirt junior offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland at 6’6”, 311 pounds, has started 40 games for the Broncos—and earned All-Mountain West First-Team honors his last two seasons playing on that iconic blue turf at starting left tackle.
Cleveland posted a 4.93 forty time (3rd best), 30 inch vertical, 7.26 3 cone drill (best), 30 bench reps (5th best), and a 111.0 inch broad jump at the NFL Combine (among all offensive linemen who tested) and has a SPARQ rating in the 91.7% NFL percentile.
The former Boise State bookend has the size, athleticism, and pass protection skills—with nice hand placement to be a future quality starter at offensive tackle, but he’ll need to get stronger and a little nastier in the trenches as a run blocker—something that Colts All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson could assuredly help with.
The Colts could start developing Cleveland as their left tackle of the future, as veteran starter Anthony Castonzo is 31 years old and has already seriously mulled retirement—but still elected to extend his playing career with Indianapolis for two more years.
The team also lost valuable veteran depth as versatile swing-tackle Joe Haeg departed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency—and they could also use a long-term upgrade over starting right guard Mark Glowinski all together.
Cleveland’s stock is clearly rising at offensive tackle, and he seems like a safe bet to be an early Day 2 pick right now.
If there’s one takeaway though from these three talented prospects that the Colts have met remotely with, it’s that all three project to be exceptional athletes at the next level.
Update (12:38 PM EST): For what it’s worth, TheDraftWire’s Justin Melo has also reported that the Colts have had a telephone call with South Dakota defensive tackle Kameron Cline among other NFL teams’ interest:
South Dakota DT Kameron Cline had top 30 visits sked w/ the #Vikings & #Colts prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Those meetings occured via telephone.— Justin M (@JustinM_NFL) March 27, 2020
He also held pre-draft FaceTime meetings with the #Texans, #Packers & #Jets.
He's a sleeper to watch. 6-4, 295 DL.
The 6’4”, 295 pound defensive tackle had 36 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and 4.0 sacks in 12 games for the Coyotes in 2019.