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Draft prospects I love for the Colts: Picks #73 & #122 (Part 1)

Syndication: Tuscaloosa News Gary Cosby Jr. / USA TODAY NETWORK

I always thought that Mock Drafts (even though very entertaining and fun to do) are just dumb. The NFL Draft is so unpredictable and filled with randomness that trying to predict exactly which player your team is going to pick is nearly impossible. That is why instead of doing a full on mock draft what I like doing is identifying several players that I would like the Colts to draft. This is my personal opinion, not players I believe the Colts will take, just players that I personally would like the Colts to take.

Get yourself a cup of coffee, tea, or whatever infusion you enjoy the most, and sit down for a long ride through the 10 prospects that I really like that could go in the 3rd/4th round of the NFL Draft. Part II coming up next week with 10 more prospects.

#1 John Metchie III, wide receiver, Alabama

If not for an ACL tear suffered in the SEC championship game, Metchie would be a lock to go in the top-50. He is one of the best route runners in this class, he has excellent tape all around, he has the numbers to prove he can be productive against top tier opposition, and he has improved each season in Alabama. While he might not be ready for training camp or the start of the season, Ballard has shown plenty of times he is not afraid to take players with long term injuries (Julian Blackmon, Dayo Odeyingbo). Metchie III would be an excellent complement to MPJ, and Matt Ryan would love a guy that has a knack for getting open like him. The biggest knock on Metchie is not only his ACL injury, but also that he does not bring the safest set of hands to the table, as he has struggled a bit with drops during his time at Alabama, recording 8 in his final season.

#2 Cade Otton, tight end, Washington

I honestly cannot think of a more perfect replacement for Jack Doyle. Like Doyle, Otton is a big guy (6’5’’) who is very reliable in the short/intermediate passing game, with safe hands and a polished set of routes, while also offering great value as a blocker. Otton would be a dream come true if he is still there in the third when the Colts pick, as I can’t think of a more adequate replacement for Jack. I am not confident at all in the tight end room for the Colts right now, and I believe they desperately need another guy in there. The two options mentioned below are really raw compared to Otton, who could probably come in and take over the TE1 spot right away, though he does offer a more limited ceiling in my opinion, due to his limited ability as a deep threat (no deep catches in his senior year, just 6.4 average depth of target).

#3 Phidarian Mathis, defensive tackle, Alabama

I have to recognize I am a sucker for strong, nasty, defensive tackles, and Mathis sure is one. He could come in and immediately become a part of an interior defensive line rotation, as he offers the versatility to play either at the 3-technique or at the 1-tech. Last season proved how valuable interior defensive linemen are, and with the departure of Taylor Stallworth, Tyquan Lewis fresh off a season ending injury, and Robert Windsor retiring unexpectedly, the Colts interior defensive line is actually looking rather thin right now. Mathis brings value both as a run defender, with a 9.3% run-stop rate and as a pass rusher, with an 11.2% pass rush win rate.

#4 Isaiah Likely, tight end, Coastal Carolina

Likely is very different from Otton. The tight end from Coastal Carolina is not nearly as strong and powerful, but what he lacks in strength he makes for it in fluidity and playmaking ability. Likely figures to be a much better receiver, but the problem with him is that his body is stuck between an undersized tight end and an oversized wide receiver. If Likely can manage to retain his athleticism with an extra 20 pounds then he will most likely do just fine in the NFL, if not, then he might be stuck in that Trey Burton type role that is just not used so much in today’s NFL. Likely had 7 deep receptions, good for 6th among all tight ends in the nation, and had just one drop on 77 targets.

#5 Jelani Woods, tight end, Virginia

Just imagine a tight end duo of the 6’5’’ Mo Allie-Cox and the 6’7’’ Jelani Woods in the redzone. Ryan would have some big guys to throw the ball to. Woods is not only massive, but he also brings plenty of athleticism to the table, and he is an adept blocker as well. The problem with Woods is how raw he is, as it will probably be a couple seasons before he can take on a big role on the team. With the team desperately needing some weapons that can step in and play right away, Woods might be a luxury that the Colts just cannot afford to take right now.

#6 JoJo Domann, linebacker, Nebraska

Domann projects to be a swiss-army knife in the NFL, as he can line up both in the box and in coverage. He does a little bit of everything, but nothing all too well. Domann is a high energy player that never gives up on a play and hustles to the whistle. That and his explosiveness means that at the very least he is going to be a special teams’ starter. Considering how thin the Colts’ linebacking core is right now they could really use a guy with the versatility of Domann. Domann suffered two ACL injuries earlier on in his college career and will be 25 years old once the NFL season starts, which is two years older than Julian Blackmon. Domann’s tackling is also a bit suspect, as he did post a 10% missed tackle rate during his final season in college.

#7 Rasheed Walker, offensive tackle, Penn State

Walker is a solid tackle prospect, that could probably start right away on several teams at right tackle, but he could very well use a redshirt rookie season before starting at left tackle for the Colts. I really like him in the third round and having him sit behind Pryor for a season while he rounds out his technique and then takes over the starting left tackle spot. During his rookie year he could very well be Braden Smith’s backup at right tackle so he will still offer some sort of value.

#8 Tyrese Robinson, guard, Oklahoma

Robinson is my draft crush this season. I believe he could very well come in and start right away at the right guard position with the departure of Chris Reed and Mark Glowinski. Robinson started three seasons for the Sooners, and he was graded as the team’s best pass protector (credit TDN for the stat). Robinson even played a bit of right tackle so that extra versatility he offers would come in great for the Colts.

#9 Matthew Butler, defensive tackle, Tennessee

Butler is a very similar case to that of Mathis. He would come in a provide value right away as a rotational inside defensive linemen. Butler also offers the versatility to take snaps away from both Buckner and Stewart, but he is a bit smaller than Mathis so I am not entirely sure he would be able to fill in for Stewart as well. Again, the Colts desperately need bodies on the defensive line, so I would not be surprised if they go ahead and use a high draft pick on a defensive tackle.

#10 Calvin Austin III, wide receiver, Memphis

Austin is one of the most explosive players in this Draft, but even despite his tiny 5’8’’, 170 pound frame he is not only a speedster one-trick-pony, but he also brings plenty to the table as a wide receiver, just don’t ask him to go get the jump ball. Think of him as an excellent gadget player that can also run really crisp routes and brings a vertical element to the offense. Austin III could take over the role Parris Campbell was supposed to fill, as the guy getting the end arounds, jet sweeps, and returning punts, while also offering the occasional deep shot here and there.