The Indianapolis Colts took an offensive-heavy approach early on with their 2022 draft class, selecting a total of four offensive players out of eight total picks.
Such efforts to upgrade along the offensive side of the ball earned the Colts a B+ draft grade from the Pro Football Focus team, which writes:
“A wide receiver like Skyy Moore, who was still on the board at Pick No. 53, might have been a better fit here, but Alec Pierce does still address a glaring hole at wide receiver. Pierce has some serious juice, but he may just be a vertical threat at the next level, at best. He’s stiff, and his route tree at Cincinnati was very much limited. Over 66% of his yards coming from vertical routes in 2021.”
“The NFL may have never seen an athlete at the tight end position like Jelani Woods, who was buried on an offense as a blocker for years before finally getting a chance to show what he could do in the passing game. His hands were suspect, dropping 10.7% of catchable targets in his college career, but he has a rare athletic profile.”
“A clear first-round talent on PFF’s Big Board, Bernhard Raimann slipped in the draft due to injury concerns, but he has outstanding athleticism and immediate starting ability. He began his career as a tight end but developed into an excellent tackle at Central Michigan. He allowed just one sack as a starting tackle and gives the Colts a starting tackle in the third round.”
“Cross is a phenomenal value for the Colts at No. 96. He’s a former four-star recruit with some of the best range of any safety prospect in this class. He isn’t as instinctual as you’d like him to be, but he can fly sideline to sideline in the deep safety role. He’s a project player, but the Colts’ coaching staff will get an impact starter if they can effectively develop him early on.”
Day 3: “Eric Johnson’s production profile is a bit concerning knowing that he played against FCS competition at Missouri State and never earned a single-season grade above 80.0. However, he is a legit run defender at 6-foot-5, 298 pounds and posted PFF run-defense grades and run-stop rates above the 75th percentile in 2021.”
Given the Colts’ needs going into the draft, a B+ seems like the general consensus around those who have handed out grades.
I agree with PFF that Pierce’s route tree will need to be expanded, but believe he can slide into Frank Reich’s offensive system with ease. The Colts’ offense lacked dynamic speed from the wideout position in 2021, which is why they chose Pierce, who possesses a rare combination of both size and speed that could allow him to make an immediate impact from Day 1.
Woods’ freakish 6’7” frame and athletic ability could make life much easier for quarterback Matt Ryan, who quickly found a security blanket in former teammate Kyle Pitts in 2021. I see no reason why Woods, who possesses similar traits to that of Pitts, can’t quickly establish himself as a go-to target for Ryan in key situations.
As for Raimann, he not only was a steal all the way in the third round but the former tight end-turned tackle will provide competition for left tackle Matt Pryor come training camp. Cross, for now, provides excellent safety depth and could develop into a starter for Gus Bradley’s defense before long and Eric Johnson possesses solid upside while also filling a key need for defensive line depth.
Tight end Andrew Ogletree, defensive tackle Curtis Brooks and cornerback Rodney Thomas II all address areas of need and provide quality depth for the Colts as well.