The Indianapolis Colts had 9 selections in the 2020 NFL Draft with an early emphasis on offense—as 4 of their first 5 selections were on offensive players.
With general manager Chris Ballard and his scouting department virtually calling the shots, the Colts filled a number of team needs.
Here’s a brief breakdown of each of the Colts selections from this draft weekend:
Michael Pittman Jr., Wide Receiver, USC
Second Round, Pick 2 (34th overall)
The 6’4”, 223 pound senior wideout had 101 receptions for 1,275 receiving yards (12.6 ypr. avg.) and 11 touchdown receptions this past season—earning First-Team All-Pac 12 honors and was also named a Second-Team All-American.
The senior Trojans’ captain impressed in Senior Bowl practices.
Pittman ran a 4.52 forty time, 36.5 inch vertical, and 121.0 inch broad jump at the NFL Combine.
His SPARQ rating (which measures overall athleticism) was in the 85.7% NFL percentile (good for 9th best in his draft class). His RAS [Relative Athletic Score] was 8.19 out of 10.0.
Pittman’s a very good athlete and moves fairly well for his immense size.
He was a popular pick among mock drafts and Colts fans leading into the draft.
He’s the type of big bodied wideout that the Colts can pair on the other side of Pro Bowler T.Y. Hilton as their ‘x’ receiver and should provide another downfield threat for veteran starting quarterback Philip Rivers—who loves throwing to tall receivers deep.
The Colts have had some great wideouts in their franchise’s modern history including Hilton, as well as Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne—but none of them have had size such as Pittman who’s a different ‘flavor’ entirely.
Pittman has incredibly sure hands—as he only had 5 drops in 176 career catchable passes (2.8% drop rate). He’s also a skilled and nuanced route runner who can challenge defenses vertically and win 50-50 jumpballs downfield.
He also is a yards after the catch threat, as he uses his quickness and size—plowing through smaller defensive backs for extra yards.
Pittman isn’t the most explosive wideout and won’t always separate, but he uses his size, body control, and huge catch radius to make highly contested catches—and is great at high pointing the football over the opposition.
As the son of longtime former NFL running back Michael Pittman Jr., the younger Pittman has been lauded for both his leadership and toughness—and has even stood out on special teams for the Trojans previously.
Pittman Jr. might not have the highest ceiling of some of the other top wide receivers in this draft class, but he might have among the highest floors—and has a chance to be a Top 10-15 wide receiver in the NFL in time (think Vincent Jackson). He’s an incredibly polished wideout, who should be able to contribute immediately next season for the Colts.
Jonathan Taylor, Running Back, Wisconsin
Second Round, Pick 9 (41st overall)
The 5’10”, 226 pound junior running back rushed for 2,003 total rushing yards on 320 carries (6.3 ypc. avg.) and 21 rushing touchdowns during 14 starts in 2019.
He also had 26 receptions for 252 receiving yards (9.7 ypr. avg.) and 5 touchdown receptions this past season.
Taylor was named a First-Team AP All-American, to the Big Ten All-First Team, and earned Big Ten Running Back of the Year honors this past season.
It was a consecutive season of Taylor rushing for over 2,000 rushing yards for the Badgers.
Taylor had a 4.39 forty time, 36.0 inch vertical, and 123.0 inch broad jump at the NFL Combine. His SPARQ rating is in the 89.9% NFL percentile (good for 3rd best in his draft class), and his RAS score was 9.54 out of 10.0.
Simply put, Taylor is an athletic freak of nature.
He had the fastest forty time of any running back who tested, and he is only one of two running backs to weigh 225+ pounds and hit a sub 4.45 forty time since 2014.
The other? New York Giants All-Pro running back Saquon Barkley.
Taylor is one of the best running backs in this draft class and is a workhorse at the next level. He has a unique combination of speed and power—and excels at yards after contact.
He shows good patience and vision, and he’s the type of runner that can make one cut or tackle break and then explode like a cannon ball through an open running lane down the field—showing an immediate sudden gear shift.
Taylor does have ball security issues—having had 18 fumbles the past three seasons. Still, that’s an issue that can be corrected (see former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber). That being said, Colts running back coach Tom Rathman, who’s one of the best in the business, will have his work cut out for him.
The other issue is that Taylor wasn’t fully utilized in the passing game, but he’s shown growth in that developing component of his game. Additionally, 3rd down, scat back Nyheim Hines should handle a lot of the receiving work anyways.
The biggest issue with Taylor is just his long-term durability and shelf-life—i.e. the remaining tread on his tires, as he had 926 career carries over the last three seasons with Wisconsin.
Still, the Colts should get at least 4-5 elite years out of him (the entire duration of his rookie contract), and it’s possible that this is all they’re wanting in the first place.
To his credit, Taylor has been incredibly durable despite a huge workload and keeps his body in top shape.
Taylor joins Marlon Mack (who’s in a contract year) in a deep Colts backfield. While Mack is a very good running back in his own right, Taylor instantly becomes the most talented Colts rusher on their roster, hands down.
The Colts can ease Taylor in as a rookie—and even lessen some of his initial workload, splitting carries with Mack in 2020 before making him the full-fledged bellcow a season later—allowing Mack to hit free agency for ‘greener pastures’.
The surprise wasn’t that the Colts took a running back early on, it was just that it came a year sooner than initially expected.
As an eventual 3-down workhorse for the Colts, Taylor has the athleticism, pedigree, and proven production to potentially become the franchise’s next great running back. He should team up with Mack in what should be a very strong Colts running game in 2020.
Julian Blackmon, Safety, Utah
Third Round, Pick 21 (85th overall)
The 6’0” 187 pound senior safety recorded 60 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 4 passes defensed, and 4 interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) in 12 starts this past season—earning First-Team All-Pac 12 and 2nd-Team All-American honors.
The former Utes standout had 9 interceptions over his last three seasons—as he was also a 2x 2nd-Team All-Pac 12 member at cornerback as a sophomore and junior.
Blackmon did not participate in the NFL Combine because he suffered a torn ACL in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
With his experience at both cornerback and safety, Blackmon has the versatility to be a valuable chess piece in the back of the Colts secondary—featuring the ability to match up against tight ends in the slot.
Prior to the ACL tear, he demonstrated good athleticism, speed, and ball skills—with the ability to really shine flying to the football downhill.
Being new to the safety position though, Blackmon will need to continue to improve upon his technique, spacing, and pursuit angles to the football—as he has lost receivers in coverage at times.
The Colts needed a reliable third safety for depth—especially given Malik Hooker’s durability concerns, and even though the team may have to wait on Blackmon until at least October as he continues to rehab his knee, he could be a valuable backup down the road.
Jacob Eason, Quarterback, Washington
Fourth Round, Pick 16 (122nd Overall)
The 6’6”, 231 pound redshirt junior quarterback completed 260 of 405 (64.2 %) passes for 3,132 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions during 13 starts for the Huskies this past season.
Eason ran a 4.89 forty time, had a 27.5 inch vertical, and recorded a broad jump of 110.0 inches at the NFL Combine.
The big bodied Washington native has a huge arm—arguably one of the best arms in his entire quarterback draft class. He shows big time zip to fit the ball through tight windows and can launch bombs down the field. Eason excels showcasing his arm in play-action and has demonstrated the toughness at times to hang tough in the pocket. He has better mobility than he’s credited for, but that will never be a strength of his game.
The drawbacks are a little bit of everything else.
He needs to improve in his accuracy, decision-making, and anticipation of open throws. He sometimes trusts his arm too much for openings that simply aren’t there. He has a tendency to spin out of the pocket when faced with immediate pressure, and there’s concerns how he’ll handle consistent pressure at the next level.
Eason has also been criticized for his work ethic and laid back personality.
At this point in the draft, even if one wasn’t the biggest proponent of Eason, the selection of him outweighs the risk and was a worthwhile gamble for the Colts.
The Colts know that he as at least one big tool that will play up at the next level, which is one of the most important at quarterback: his incredibly live arm.
The hope is that if the Colts can ‘redshirt’ him for at least one year behind veteran Philip Rivers—who has a similar gunslinger’s mentality (and maybe Eason’s absolute ‘ceiling’ as a pro) that he’ll be able to develop as a passer, get rid of any bad habits, and learn what it means to be an NFL quarterback from a film room and practice habits perspective.
Rivers is 38 years old, so the Colts were actively in the market for a developmental quarterback. While Eason shouldn’t be pegged as the Colts next great franchise quarterback, he does offer a high ceiling with his big arm—but equal big bust potential.
The gamble was only a 4th round pick and worst case, the Colts may have found a controllable backup quarterback for the next few years once Jacoby Brissett departs.
Danny Pinter, Offensive Guard, Ball State
5th Round, Pick 3 (149th overall)
The 6’4”, 306 pound redshirt senior offensive guard started all 12 games at right tackle for the Cardinals last season—earning All Mid-American Conference First-Team honors and was awarded the John Magnabosco Team Award (which is given annually to Ball State’s most outstanding player).
The South Bend, Indiana native was a tight end his first two seasons at Ball State but then converted to right tackle, where he has started 24 games for the Cardinals over the past two years.
Pinter ran a 4.91 forty time, had 24 bench press reps, and recorded a broad jump of 110.0 inches at the NFL Combine.
His SPARQ rating is in the 66.7% NFL percentile (good for 10th best in his entire offensive line draft class), while his RAS [Relative Athletic Score] is 9.61 (indicating he’s an elite level athlete).
The former tight end has shown good athleticism and lateral quickness. He excels playing in space and getting to the second level of defenses—which helped him become a standout run blocker for the Cardinals. That being said, like most developing young offensive lineman, he’ll need to improve his technique, get stronger, and obtain better balance.
If he had longer arms, Pinter would’ve stayed at right tackle, but instead he’ll kick into an interior offensive line role at guard and center in the NFL.
He has ‘Joe Haeg’ like versatility which should help next year’s Colts offensive line for a unit that really needed the additional interior depth.
Robert Windsor, Defensive Tackle, Penn St.
Round 6, Pick 14 (193rd Overall)
The 6’4”, 290 pound senior defensive tackle recorded 40 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks during 13 starts for the Nittany Lions defense—earning All-Big Ten Third Team honors.
Windsor ran a 4.9 forty time, posted a 28.5 inch vertical, and had an 111.0 inch broad jump at the NFL Combine. His SPARQ rating was in the 35.6% NFL percentile (4th best in his defensive tackle draft class), but a RAS rating of 8.68 out of 10.0.
Windsor is the ideal rotational defensive tackle, as he’s a good athlete, who demonstrated quickness and penetration with a relentless motor, energy, and toughness.
While he’s a little light for the position and ‘ends up on the ground too much’, he’s the type of backup player that scouts simply love for additional defensive line depth.
Isaiah Rodgers, Cornerback, UMass
Round 6, Pick 32 (211th Overall)
The 5’10”, 170 pound senior cornerback recorded 42 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, 9 passes defensed, and 4 interceptions during 12 starts in 2019.
While undersized, Rodgers is a good athlete, has very good speed, and displayed excellent ball skills—having 9 interceptions over his last three seasons. He’s also a willing tackler in run support. However, he was up-and-down in coverage sometimes this past season.
He also is a standout special teams returnman—which should help his chances of sticking on the Colts active roster given his versatility. In 2019, he was named to PFF’s College All-American First-Team as a punt returner.
Rodgers should contribute immediately on the Colts special teams units as a gunner and even potentially a returnman. He also could see some limited action in some of the Colts nickel packages next season.
Dezmon Patmon, Washington St.,
Round 6, Pick 33 (212th Overall)
The 6’4”, 225 pound senior wideout caught 58 receptions for 762 receiving yards (13.1 ypr. avg.) and 8 touchdown receptions during 13 starts this past season.
Patmon ran 4.48 forty time, had a 36.0 inch vertical, and 132.0 inch broad jump at the NFL Combine. His SPARQ rating was in the 85.3% NFL percentile (just behind his new teammate Michael Pittman Jr. and good for 10th best in this wide receiver draft class).
Meanwhile, his RAS was 8.42 out of 10.0.
Patmon is another big bodied wideout that the Colts added on draft weekend and in a lot of ways, is similar to Pittman Jr.
Using his immense size, he has the ability to be a vertical downfield threat and win 50-50 jumpballs downfield for Rivers. He should be a nice possession target, even if he doesn’t always offer consistent separation or yards after the catch ability.
In a deep wide receiver draft class, the Colts took advantage again in the later rounds.
Patmon could see some limited action in certain wide receiver sets and in red zone packages for the Colts next season—as his size should be a major asset situationally.
Jordan Glasgow, Linebacker, Michigan
Round 6, Pick 34 (213th Overall)
The 6’1”, 226 pound linebacker recorded 89 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks, a pass defensed, and a fumble recovery during 13 starts this past season—earning Academic All-Big Ten honors.
He is the younger brother of Denver Broncos offensive guard Graham Glasgow and Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow—as all three were prior walk-ons at Michigan before earning scholarships and then being drafted to the NFL.
Glasgow played as the Wolverines ‘Will’ linebacker last season and was PFF’s highest graded tackler in the entire 2020 NFL Draft Class. He was also a key special teams contributor in recent seasons.
Like another former converted linebacker for the Colts, Cato June, Glasgow has prior experience playing safety at Michigan and should bring versatility depth to their defense.
However, he can struggle in coverage at times (especially against spread offenses) and might be a bit of a tweener at the next level—with no real position. He shows good instincts though, plays hard, and flies around the field.
Where Glasgow should contribute immediately—and essentially what he was drafted for is special teams, where he should be a core player for the Colts next season.