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Five Top Prospects on the Colts’ Draft Big Board Who Could Potentially Be Available with the 21st Pick

NCAA Football: Michigan at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching, the Indianapolis Colts have a number of significant team holes that need to be addressed.

That being said, currently holding the 21st overall pick, there are five top prospects who clearly stand out that could potentially be available at that spot—and should pique the Colts overall interest (in no order):


Virginia Tech v Florida State Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Christian Darrisaw, OT Virginia Tech

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 322 pounds

Arm Length: 34.5 inches

Year: Junior

2020 Stats: 9 starts at left tackle

2020 Accolades: First-Team All-ACC, 2nd-Team All-American

Overview:

Darrisaw seems to be the heavy favorite as the third best offensive tackle prospect in this year’s loaded draft class—only behind the likes of Oregon’s Penei Sewell and Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater.

He has size.

He has length.

He has athleticism.

He plays with a mean streak.

Darrisaw’s been rock solid anchoring the blindside—having started for the Hokies even as a freshman. He’s been incredibly productive, as one of the top overall left tackles collegiately:

With his ability to block in space, Darrisaw would be a natural in the Colts’ zone blocking scheme. He would be an incredibly safe pick with the 21st overall pick with a high floor as an immediate ‘plug-and-play’ starter at left tackle.

However, make no mistake about it, with the proper coaching and by fine tuning some of his overall technique, Darrisaw has a chance to become one of the NFL’s best left tackles in all of football in time.

He’s the figurative ‘dancing bear’ who packs powerful punches as a pass protector and is a road grader in the ground game.

He would help fill retired anchor Anthony Castonzo’s big shoes at left tackle—instantly becoming the Colts’ next franchise blindside bookend in the process.


COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 29 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Florida v Michigan Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kwity Paye, Edge Michigan

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 261 pounds

Arm Length: 33 inch arms

Year: Senior

2020 Stats: 16 tackles (12 solo), 4 tackles for loss, and 2.0 sacks during 4 starts.

2020 Accolades: Second-Team All-Big Ten

Overview:

Paye posted elite physical measurables as an edge at Michigan’s recent Pro Day—with a RAS [Relative Athletic Score] of 9.69 out of 10.0.

While Paye’s overall production hasn’t matched his raw athletic measurables, the talent and physical tools are there to be an elite NFL pass rusher with the Colts—namely with the right coaching, and working with renowned sack guru Robert Mathis on the side.

Paye is a bit of a ‘boom or bust’ pass rushing prospect, but the Colts are never going to be in position to get a top pass rushing prospect without some serious question marks (or using a lot of draft capital to trade up).

The Colts defense needs an infusion of youth, quickness, athleticism, and bend coming off the edge, and Paye has the unique combination of all four physical traits:

There’s definitely some risk here, but Paye could make general manager Chris Ballard look like a genius—if it all eventually clicks on the field.

Paye would help bolster a Colts defensive end group that recently lost Denico Autry in free agency (and could lose Justin Houston soon) and is heavily relying on young pass rushers such as Tyquan Lewis, Kemoko Turay, and Ben Banogu to take major steps forward in 2021.


COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 02 Northwestern at Indiana Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Greg Newsome, Cornerback Northwestern

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 192 pounds

Arm Length: 31 1/8 inches

Year: Junior

2020 Stats: 12 tackles (8 solo), 7 passes defensed, and an interception during 3 starts.

2020 Accolades: First-Team All-Big Ten

Overview:

This may be an unpopular pick because cornerback isn’t as significant of a need as left tackle or edge, but Colts general manager Chris Ballard isn’t going to draft purely on team need and is going to take essentially the best available prospect regardless.

Cornerback remains a key need for the Colts long-term, as re-signed veteran Xavier Rhodes is thirty years old and is playing on a year-to-year contract basis right now with Indianapolis.

The starting outside cornerback spot opposite of him is up for grabs too, as Rock Ya-Sin was up and down last season, while Marvell Tell sat out the entire year as a COVID-19 precaution. Second-year cornerback Isaiah Rodgers is also in the mix.

The Colts could use another talented cornerback such as Newsome to really push for a starting position along the outside.

At 6’0”, 192 pounds with length, Newsome posted a 9.51 RAS out of 10.00—meaning he’s pretty darn athletic (featuring a 4.38 forty time). He is in the mold of the Colts’ ideal prototype at outside cornerback.

He would fit right in with the Colts in their zone heavy coverage scheme, especially with his willingness to help in run support and overall closing speed to the ball:


COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 23 Oklahoma State at West Virginia Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Teven Jenkins, OT Oklahoma State

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 317 pounds

Arm Length: 33 12 inches

Year: Senior

2020 Stats: 7 starts (one at left tackle, six at right tackle)

2020 Accolades: First-Team All-Big 12

Overview:

Outside of the previously mentioned Christian Darrisaw, Jenkins is my favorite offensive tackle who’s realistically available for the Colts with the 21st overall pick.

The major difference between the two is that Jenkins played predominantly right tackle for the Cowboys, meaning he’d have to transition with the Colts—whereas Darrisaw is much more of a sure thing already along the blindside.

That being said, the tools are there for Jenkins to make a smooth transition to left tackle, and that’s probably splitting hairs between two talented offensive tackle prospects.

Where Jenkins stands out is his sheer brute strength and mauling mentality in the trenches, as he’s an incredibly physical offensive tackle:

It’s not just that Jenkins is a glorified enforcer though, as he has quick feet, utilizes powerful hands, and is a very athletic offensive tackle (9.73 RAS)—as another natural fit in the Colts’ zone blocking scheme, with his ability to play in space.

He would be another great option to replace Anthony Castonzo at starting left tackle, helping to anchor the blindside for the foreseeable future—and with nastiness at that.


Miami Hurricanes head into bye knowing true test in No. 1 Clemson is on the other side Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Jaelan Phillips, Edge Miami (Fla.)

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 260 pounds

Arm Length: 33 1⁄4 inches

Year: Junior

2020 Stats: 45 tackles (21 solo), 15.5 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks, an interception, and 3 passes defensed during 10 starts.

2020 Accolades: Second-Team All-ACC, Second-Team All-American

Overview:

If not for injury concerns (including a lengthy concussion history), Phillips would be a Top 10 pick in this year’s NFL Draft given his immense talent and potential—which is the only reason he could potentially slide to the Colts back at #21 overall.

He’s another ‘boom or bust’ pass rushing prospect in that regard.

However, unlikely Paye, it’s not that Phillips’ production hasn’t shown on the field or matched his physical ability—with a nearly pristine 9.9 out of 10.00 RAS.

The former Hurricanes standout is the most polished pass rusher in this year’s draft class—featuring a wide arsenal of go-to pass rushing moves:

If the Colts medical staff is comfortable with his medicals (and concussion history), then Phillips could be worth rolling the dice on—as the talent and tools are there to become an ‘alpha dog’ pass rusher for Indianapolis in time.

It’s not without some serious risk though—given the obvious durability concerns.

It’s just a matter of how much general manager Chris Ballard is willing to gamble—having already been snakebitten by injuries on 2017 first rounder Malik Hooker.

As they say, ‘one of the best abilities is availability.’

However, Phillips’ tantalizing ability and skyward potential are worth contemplating it for the Colts—especially if the team can still find a top offensive tackle prospect in Round 2.

Poll

Who’s Your Favorite Top Prospect Potentially Available for the Colts at #21 Overall?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    OT Christian Darrisaw
    (1058 votes)
  • 6%
    Edge Kwity Paye
    (93 votes)
  • 1%
    CB Greg Newsome
    (16 votes)
  • 11%
    OT Teven Jenkins
    (175 votes)
  • 11%
    Edge Jaelan Phillips
    (173 votes)
  • 1%
    Other
    (29 votes)
1544 votes total Vote Now