With the NFL Draft officially in the books, Colts fans were asked to give their overall grades for the team’s 2021 draft class.
9% of fans gave the draft class an “A,” which is understandable. Left tackle was (and still is) one of the team’s biggest needs. And while the Colts didn’t address that need through the draft, there are plenty of free agent options for the team to look into — including recently-released Charles Leno Jr., who now becomes arguably the best option for the team should they choose to pursue him.
50% of fans gave the team a “B” for the class. I’d agree. While the team’s selections are solid, there’s nothing that signifies “home run” just yet. However, the team did address several major needs in the early rounds of the draft.
Kwity Paye was a no-brainer selection after he surprisingly fell to the Colts at 21, Dayo Odeyingbo has the size and athleticism to potentially be a solid contributor at defensive end and Kylan Granson could provide a vertical threat at tight end — something the team has been missing since the departure of Eric Ebron a few seasons ago.
While the highest grade given by fans was a “B,” 28% did give the class a “C.” I can understand why. I think a lot of fans expected the Colts to address left tackle in the second round, but they instead chose to continue to bolster their defensive line by selecting Odeyingbo, who’s in the process of working his way back from a torn Achilles.
The traits are certainly there, but chances are he won’t be able to contribute until October this season or the start of the team’s 2022 season. Most fans would likely expect a second-round pick, especially someone that Chris Ballard and company have raved about, to come in and contribute right away. Given Odeyingbo’s injury, that likely won’t be the case.
As great of a drafter as Ballard has been — and his track record speaks for itself — there are fans who were certainly a bit harsher on the former Executive of the Year. 9% gave the draft class a “D,” and 3% gave it an “F.”
I do think it’s a bit early to be this critical of Ballard, but fans understandably have high expectations for the team’s future. After finishing 11-5 just a season ago and taking one of the better AFC teams, the Buffalo Bills, down to the wire, the team went out and upgraded in a lot of key areas. Consequently, I believe it’s fair to expect great things of a team that is easily one of the most well-constructed in the NFL.
That being said, while we may not have answers right now, time will tell whether or not these draft picks will work out long-term.