According to Bleacher Report Matt Miller’s ‘post free agency mock draft’, the Indianapolis Colts will ‘get offensive’ early in Round 2, selecting Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts with the #34 pick and Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool with the #44th pick respectively:
34. COLTS (WSH)—QB Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
44. COLTS—WR Chase Claypool, Notre Dame
Miller projects the Colts to take Hurts over Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins (#40), and Claypool over wideouts: TCU’s Jalen Reagor (#64), Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk (#66), and USC’s Michael Pittman Jr. (#70) among others.
Having transferred to Oklahoma from Alabama for his senior season, the 6’1”, 222 pound quarterback completed 237 of 340 passes (69.7%) for 3,851 passing yards, 32 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions in 14 starts—as well as rushed for 1,298 rushing yards on 233 carries (5.6 ypc. avg.), and 20 rushing touchdowns. (He even caught a touchdown last season too).
With the Sooners in 2019, Hurts became the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year, First-Team All-Big 12 member, a Big 12 Champion, and was the Heisman Trophy Runner-Up.
As a two-year starter for Alabama previously (before losing the starting job to projected Top 10 pick Tua Tagovailoa), Hurts finished his impressive Crimson Tide career—having completed 445 of 707 passes (62.9%) for 5,626 passing yards, 48 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions in 28 starts.
He also rushed for 1,976 rushing yards on 381 carries (5.2 ypc. avg.) and 23 rushing touchdowns with Alabama.
Playing for head coach Nick Saban, Hurts was a National Champion, First-Team All-SEC member, a 2x SEC Champion, SEC Offensive POY, and SEC Freshman of the Year
Hurts started 42 of 56 career games and went 38-4 as a starter playing against elite competition.
Hurts had a strong showing at the NFL Combine—demonstrating his development as a passer, while posting exceptional measurables such as a 4.59 forty time, 35.0 inch vertical, and 125.0 inch broad jump. He has the top rated SPARQ rating (which measures overall athleticism) in his draft class among quarterbacks as he’s in the 95.6% NFL percentile.
He also really impressed at his Pro Day.
Hurts’ stock is clearly on the rise, as NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah now has him as his 50th best prospect overall.
Previously, Stampede Blue conducted a more detailed breakdown of the possibility of Hurts to the Colts—and why it could make a whole lot of sense.
He’s been a winner his entire career and is a dynamic playmaker at the quarterback position, whose a better passer than he’s gotten credit for—and only continues to improve.
However, admittedly, Hurts needs to work on his timing and anticipation of open throws and overall progression of reads as a passer.
That being said, Hurts has shown the leadership, athleticism, and continued growth as a passer to be worthy of being the Colts developmental quarterback of the future behind veteran starter Philip Rivers for the next year or two before fully taking over the starting reins.
Here’s a short-and-sweet breakdown of Hurts’ overall game:
Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma:— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) March 11, 2020
• Unshakable Poise (++)
• “It” Factor/Character
• Ultimate Leader (+)
• Short-to-Intermediate velocity
• Continued growth as a passer (+)
• Off-script creations
• Mobility/Designed run threat pic.twitter.com/68eK2uairj
Meanwhile, the 6’4”, 238 pound Fighting Irish wideout, Chase Claypool, has recently been surging up NFL Draft boards.
The senior standout caught a team-high 66 receptions for 1,037 receiving yards (15.7 ypr. avg.) and 13 touchdown receptions during 13 games in 2019.
Claypool only helped himself at the NFL Combine, having had a 4.42 forty time, 40.5 inch vertical, and 126.0 inch broad jump:
Chase Claypool at the 2020 NFL Combine— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) February 28, 2020
• Bigger than Cameron Wake
• Faster than Odell Beckham Jr.
• Stronger than Jared Allen
• Jumps higher than Julio Jones
• More explosive than Devin Hester@ChaseClaypool @NDFootball pic.twitter.com/4fLbNWInHv
Only two wideouts to measure 6’4” & 235 pounds or bigger have run a sub-4.45 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine since 2003:— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) February 28, 2020
One is known as “Megatron” (Calvin Johnson). The other?
Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool at the 2020 Combine.@NDFootball @ChaseClaypool pic.twitter.com/iHByYLhnp1
A ‘freak athlete’, Claypool’s SPARQ rating is in the ~98% NFL percentile, which is the third best in his wide receiver draft class:
Here is Chase Claypool's web: pic.twitter.com/ZzXOFGPkAD— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) February 29, 2020
He compares a lot athletically to New York Giants tight end Evan Engram.
Claypool is a physically imposing wideout with reliable hands—who can go up and win 50-50 jumpballs and make highly contested catches—having a huge catch radius.
He’s also an incredibly competitive player, who’s not afraid to mix it up after the catch or as a run blocker—with tenacity and physicality. He’ll be an immediate contributor on special teams wherever he goes.
Where he struggles is in his fluidity in-and-out of routes and tests a little bit better than his actual explosiveness on the field. He also has pretty good, but not necessarily great hands.
There’s also been some talk that Claypool could ultimately transition to tight end:
Scouts were already talking about a potential move to tight end for Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool but after weighing in at 238 pounds that talk is heating up. One scout told me he’s a potential matchup nightmare for defenses. He’s a round 3 player on my board.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 24, 2020
Watching Chase Claypool. Everything about him says Tight End.— CrockTIME (@eric_crocker) March 29, 2020
The Colts need help at either wide receiver or tight end, so Claypool could help in either regard no matter what position he ultimately ends up as in the NFL.
Rivers could use a big bodied weapon to pair on the other side of T.Y. Hilton on the outside or even over the middle to replace the tight end production and overall red zone threat that was departed Pro Bowl tight end Eric Ebron.
Historically, Rivers loves throwing to both big bodied downfield wideout threats (See: Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams), as well as his tight ends in the red zone (See: Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry).
With his overall athleticism, production, and competitiveness, Claypool seems like a player that Colts general manager Chris Ballard would really like—especially given his potential to be a mismatch nightmare in head coach Frank Reich’s offense:
Another big, fast playmaker that will make this WR class one for the ages... https://t.co/seIrANpP2x— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) February 28, 2020
WR’s continued to shine today at @seniorbowl practice. Denzel Mims/Baylor was a beast. Antonio Gandy-Golden/Liberty is a ridiculously good athlete, KJ Hill/Ohio State has crazy good hands, and Chase Claypool/Notre Dame is a physical freak! #nfl— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) January 24, 2020
Writing players always results in movement because you're forced to put all your notes in one place. And you realize which guys you really like.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) March 18, 2020
Chase Claypool and Michael Pittman won't be top WRs for me, but I love how both play. Would want either on my team.
I'd want to draft Chase Claypool for his special teams skills alone. Future Patriot, probably— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) December 28, 2019
Here’s the other selections that Miller currently projects for the Colts later on:
75. COLTS—EDGE Curtis Weaver, Boise State
122. COLTS—CB Amik Robertson, Louisiana Tech
160. COLTS—OT Charlie Heck, North Carolina
193. COLTS—RB Antonio Gibson, Memphis
197. COLTS (DAL/MIA)—IDL Raequan Williams, Michigan State
Time will tell what the Colts ultimately end up doing in the upcoming NFL Draft, as fans patiently await the results.