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Colts GM Chris Ballard’s Potential ‘Big Board’ at Wideout in the NFL Draft’s Early 2nd Round

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 27 Holiday Bowl - USC v Iowa Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts have been widely projected to select a wide receiver in the early second round of this week’s 2020 NFL Draft with either the 34th or 44th overall selection.

In what’s been regarded as a very deep wide receiver draft class, the Colts could look to find another outside wide receiver to pair on the other side of Pro Bowler T.Y. Hilton—and to join a receiving corps that already includes Zach Pascal and Parris Campbell.

With that being said, here are five top wide receiver prospects potentially projected for the Colts in early Round 2:

NCAA Football: Navy at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

5. Chase Claypool, Notre Dame

Year: Senior

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 238 pounds

Arms: 32 1/2”

Forty Time: 4.42 (u)

SPARQ Rating (which measures overall athleticism): ~98% NFL percentile (3rd best in the wide receiver draft class)

RAS [Relative Athletic Score](out of 10.0): 9.98

2019 Stats: 66 receptions for 1,037 receiving yards (15.7 ypr. avg) and 13 touchdown receptions during 13 starts.

Scouting Report: The big bodied wideout has vertical speed, strength, and reliable hands—with a huge catch radius and can be a consistent 50-50 jumpball winner. He utilizes his size, leverage, and body control to his advantage to make contested catches. Claypool is a physical runner after the catch and a willing run blocker, as well as a standout special teams performer. He’s been lauded for both his toughness and competitiveness.

Simply put, Claypool is an athletic freak, but he isn’t as explosive on the field as he tests. He’s more of a straight-line runner as far as speed goes and could become more fluid in his route-running at the next level. He also has pretty good but not necessarily great hands.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

4. Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State

Year: Senior

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 205 pounds

Arms: 33 1/2”

Forty Time: 4.5 (u)

SPARQ Rating: 89.4% NFL percentile (t-6th best in the wide receiver draft class)

RAS: 8.39

2019 Stats: 65 receptions for 1,192 receiving yards (18.3 ypr. avg.) and 8 touchdown receptions during 12 starts.

Honors: First-Team All-Pac 12 (2019)

Scouting Report: Vertical threat, and an explosive playmaker after the catch, who can potentially take every play to the house. Dynamic weapon on screens and jet sweeps. Aiyuk displays excellent body control and the ability to make contested catches. The former Sun Devils star also provides added versatility as an impact special teams returnman.

He’s more ‘straight-line speed fast’ and needs to become more refined in his route-running—as well as in his ability to consistently beat press coverage. Aiyuk’s skill-set might be best utilized in the slot at his next stop.

For what it’s worth, he recently also underwent core muscle surgery.

Update (11:18 PM EST): The San Francisco 49ers selected Aiyuk with the 25th overall pick (acquired via Minnesota) meaning he’s off the board for the Colts.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

3. Michael Pittman Jr., USC

Year: Senior

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 223 pounds

Arms: 32 1/2”

Forty Time: 4.52 (u)

SPARQ Rating: 85.7% NFL percentile (9th best in the wide receiver draft class)

RAS: 8.19

2019 Stats: 101 receptions for 1,275 receiving yards (12.6 ypr. avg.) and 11 touchdown receptions during 13 starts.

Honors: 2nd First-Team All-Pac 12 (2017, 2019), 2nd-Team All-American (2019)

Scouting Report: The big bodied wideout is a very good athlete for his size and has incredibly sure hands, can make highly contested catches, and can provide a true 50-50 jumpball threat downfield. Pittman has been a key special teams contributor and has been regarded for both his toughness and leadership—as the son of former longtime NFL running back Michael Pittman.

Pittman isn’t the most explosive or dynamic athlete and won’t always separate, but he largely makes up for it with his positioning, body control, and size. Pittman doesn’t have as high of a ceiling as some of the other wide receiver prospects listed, but he also has a pretty high floor—as a polished wide receiver who can contribute immediately.

TCU v Texas Tech Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

2. Jalen Reagor, TCU

Year: Junior

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 206 pounds

Arms: 31 3/8”

Forty Time: 4.47 (u)

SPARQ Rating: 93.3% NFL percentile (5th best in the wide receiver draft class)

RAS: 5.98

2019 Stats: 43 receptions for 611 receiving yards (14.2 ypr. avg) and 5 touchdown receptions during 12 starts.

Honors: 2nd-Team All-Big 12 (2018, 2019); Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year (2017)

Scouting Report: As an electric playmaker with blazing fast on-the-field speed, Reagor can consistently separate and take the top off of opposing secondaries. Reagor is a dynamic weapon after the catch—who also displays excellent ball skills and plays bigger than his size. He’s a nuanced route runner with pure home run hitting ability. He also provides value as a potential special teams returnman. Reagor’s father is former Colts Super Bowl champion defensive tackle Montae Reagor, but the younger Reagor is a totally different kind of athlete.

Reagor has had issues with drops and at times, finishing off routes—although that may have been out of frustration with shaky starting quarterback play. Both will need to be more consistent at the next level—as he better hones in his concentration. He also didn’t time as well at the NFL Combine in his forty as he was expected, but that may have been a byproduct of simply bulking up too much for measurements.

Update (11:01 PM EST): The Philadelphia Eagles selected Reagor with the 21st overall pick, so he’s off the ‘Big Board’ for the Colts.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 24 Baylor at TCU Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

1. Denzel Mims, Baylor

Year: Senior

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 207 pounds

Arms: 33 7/8”

Forty Time: 4.38 (u)

SPARQ Rating: 94.6% NFL Percentile (4th best in the wide receiver draft class)

RAS: 9.76

2019 Stats: 66 receptions for 1,020 receiving yards (15.5 ypr. avg.) and 12 touchdown receptions during 13 starts.

Honors: First-Team All-Big 12 (2019)

Scouting Report: The former track standout is a unique combination of size, speed, athleticism, and proven production. Mims is fluid in his route-running, can get consistent separation, and win 50-50 jumpballs downfield—as well as make highly contested catches. He may be the total package of everything the Colts are hoping to get from a rookie wideout—at this juncture of the NFL Draft. He’s been regarded for both his make up and high character.

Given his lack of route tree variety at Baylor, Mims will have to diversify his route running at at the next level—which will come with more exposure and experience. He’ll also need to get more physical in beating press coverage and at the point of attack. Mims also had some issues with drops—although his hands are pretty reliable.