According to The Athletic’s Dane Brugler (subscription), the Indianapolis Colts will fill two of their key offseason needs, selecting both Georgia cornerback Tyson Campbell and Alabama offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood in his early 2-round, 2021 NFL Mock Draft:
21. Indianapolis Colts — Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
One of the most intriguing defensive prospects in the draft, Campbell, who was high school teammates with Surtain, doesn’t always play confident, but his size and athleticism are first-round worthy. At 6-foot-2, he has outstanding length and moves like a much smaller player.
54. Indianapolis Colts — Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
Regarding Campbell, the 6’2, 185 pound junior cornerback for the Georgia Bulldogs, recorded 29 tackles (20 solo), 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 5 pass breakups during 10 starts in 2020.
Here’s what they’re saying:
Tyson Campbell— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) October 11, 2020
Mocked 19th overall last week by @GrindingTheTape to the Colts!
Pros: Physical, Long, Twitchy, Loose, Click n Close, Aggressive tackler
Cons: Doesn’t always find ball, Eye violations
NFL Style: Marlon Humphrey pic.twitter.com/XOe4Hjn8j5
These @GeorgiaFootball CBs play a physical brand!— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) August 13, 2020
CB Tyson Campbell - 6’2 185 True Junior. Dealt with turf toe throughout ‘19 (recently mocked 31st overall by @JReidNFL) - long, physical, athletic DB. 2A State champion in 100m/200m
CB DJ Daniel - 6’1 185 Senior. JUCO transfer. pic.twitter.com/Iu6C8CAPAn
I like Tyson Campbell a lot.— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) January 7, 2021
• long, physical corner
• swarms receivers at the top of routes
• transitions are crisp and clean
• battles at the catch point
• willing run defender
• scheme flexible on the boundary
• can press & play off pic.twitter.com/x7eyumcPzK
#UGA CB Tyson Campbell (6-2, 185, Jr.) has been so impressive tonight vs. Auburn. A prospect that has all of the traits you could ask for at the position, but just needed to stay healthy and put it all together.— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) October 4, 2020
He’s a first-round CB if so. pic.twitter.com/oI87kIhSnF
Of course, the Colts could use a long-term answer at starting cornerback, as both Xavier Rhodes (30) and T.J. Carrie (30) are set to become free agents, while 2019 second round pick Rock Ya-Sin largely struggled in his second season with the Colts.
Ya-Sin shouldn’t be written off quite yet, but regardless, the Colts will need to eventually get younger on the outside regardless—sooner rather than later. It is worth noting that Marvell Tell, a 2019 5th round pick who impressed during his rookie season, will return in 2021—having sat out the entire 2020 season because of COVID-19 concerns.
Meanwhile, the Colts have an even bigger hole at starting left tackle, where longtime veteran bookend Anthony Castonzo retired on Tuesday.
Insert ‘Leatherwood,’ which simply screams of a great football last name.
The 6’6”, 312 pound senior left tackle appeared in 48 collegiate games for the Crimson Tide, having made 41 consecutive starts.
He anchored the left side of this year’s National Champion Crimson Tide.
The 2x National Champion offensive lineman was also a 2x First-Team All-SEC member, Second-Team All-SEC member, unanimous All-American, and was a recipient of both the Outland Trophy and the Jacobs Blocking Trophy respectively.
Here’s the scouting scoop on Leatherwood:
Alabama LT Alex Leatherwood improved a ton from last season. His body looks better and his feet quicker. His technique got a lot tighter and more consistent this season. Somehow he's under the radar for some but this is my top tackle in the class and a top 20 player. pic.twitter.com/SswvazjHVh— Justen Gammel (@gamscout) January 12, 2021
#Alabama OT Alex Leatherwood (6-6, 310, Sr.) has a nice foundation already to build on heading into his final season. Questions about if he’s a guard or tackle will appear. Regardless, this a solid OL prospect.— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) June 17, 2020
• Summer Scouting Report: https://t.co/XwrTuxAYTR pic.twitter.com/1njR9ysvh5
Alex Leatherwood, @PFF's No. 2 tackle in the 2021 class behind Penei Sewell, is a fluid mover with strong hands.— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) July 23, 2020
Here's all of Leatherwood's meaningful pass-blocking reps against LSU's K'Lavon Chaisson in 2019. pic.twitter.com/VJxGkGrlT9
The Colts presumably have to come away with a top offensive tackle prospect early on this late April’s NFL Draft—as there are rarely proven starting caliber left tackle free agents available in the offseason.
The franchise does not have a viable internal option to replace Castonzo at this juncture, and Leatherwood sounds like he’d be a solid pick in the second round at their current spot.
These two highly touted SEC prospects would obviously fill some critical needs for the Colts this offseason, but it wouldn’t surprise me either if the Colts select a left tackle even earlier than Round 2 in the upcoming NFL Draft.