The 2020 NFL Draft is officially over and now we are faced with a total void in terms of sports in the foreseeable future. While there remains a great deal of uncertainty, the Colts certainly seem to have improved their team through this draft, and brought in a group of guys who should give them more depth and weapons at a multiple spots on the roster.
Here is the full 2020 Colts draft class:
Michael Pittman Jr., WR
Jonathan Taylor, RB
Julian Blackmon, S
Jacob Eason, QB
Danny Pinter, G
Rob Windsor, DT
Isaiah Rodgers, CB
Dezmon Patmon, WR
Jordan Glasgow, LB
With a whole new crop of rookies, and an influx of undrafted free agents as well, the team has definitely addressed some of their areas of need. However, there are holes that remain in order to round out the roster. Let’s take a look at the remaining areas of weakness going forward
Offensive Tackle depth
Skipping this position in draft is perhaps the thing that surprised me the most about the selections Chris Ballard made. In what was generally agreed to be a very good tackle class, the Colts passed on several prospects, despite being in position to take someone who could develop. Time will tell whether they believed there simply wasn’t someone worthy of their selection, or if they just viewed other positions as being more beneficial to the team, but it was a surprise nonetheless.
With starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo mulling retirement before re-signing, you can clearly see the end of his time in Indy in the distance. The question is really just how far in the distance it really is. Ballard has stressed the importance of bringing in offensive linemen who can develop and grow, so it isn’t out of the question that they might add depth at the position at cutdowns, but as far as a long term option to replace him, it looks like the 2021 draft will have to be the place to do that.
The Colts have several quality players at the cornerback position. Kenny Moore is arguably the best nickel corner in the NFL, and Rock Ya-Sin had a solid rookie season which saw him improve as it went on. Xavier Rhodes was signed to replace Pierre Desir as the other starting outside cornerback, and that is where the biggest question lies. If he can replicate his earlier career dominance, this might be one of the better starting cornerback groups out there. If he truly has left his best days behind, it could be tough.
Behind the starters, there are players like Marvell Tell and T.J. Carrie who supply good depth, but aren’t providing a shut down player on the outside if they have to see significant playing time. This is a position that will rely on young players to develop and older players to have a resurgence in order to find real success. If Rock Ya-Sin takes a big step this season and Kenny Moore stays healthy, that solves a lot of the questions, but there is not a great backup plan if those things don’t happen. I would look for this position to be addressed heavily as rosters are pared down.
Jabaal Sheard was largely an unheralded presence on the Colts defensive front. He was a very good defender against the run, and provided good pass rush as well. With his exit, the Colts have signaled that they would like their young players to take on a more substantial role in his place. The defensive line will greatly benefit from DeForrest Buckner’s presence, but they’ll still need to find a way to get production off the edge in place of Sheard.
Their current lineup there consists of Kemoko Turay, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Justin Houston, Tyquan Lewis and Ben Banogu. Turay offers a ton of potential at the position, as does Banogu. However, they are banking on a big increase in effectiveness for these players that hasn’t yet been realized. Ballard has stated several times that they like what they have at defensive end, and hopefully they’re right. But adding a piece here, even if it meant re-signing Sheard to an inexpensive deal, would be a smart move to solidify the front seven.
The Colts will need to address the tight end position going forward. Jack Doyle is aging and has never been a standout athlete. Mo Alie-Cox has been the Colts latest tight end project that they hope turns into the next big thing at the position, but the runway is getting short for him and we have yet to see major production. Trey Burton has potential as well, but has been limited by injuries and doesn’t exactly wow you with what he’s done in the league so far either.
The addition of big bodied receivers along with Roosevelt Nix likely makes the position a less urgent one, because he can stand in as the H-Back and take care of a lot of the blocking responsibilities that often were delegated to the third tight end on the roster. However, the need is clearly there to bring on an athletic tight end who can create in the passing game and provide mismatches. This is an area Ballard has consistently churned on the practice squad and through UDFAs, and I don’t expect that will change this season.