The 2023 NFL offseason is well underway now and one of the biggest dates on the calendar, in talent acquisition terms, is the NFL Draft. NFL teams, including the Indianapolis Colts, are allowed to draft/pick and sign players who have declared for the upcoming draft from the college ranks. The NFL Draft begins with day one on Thursday, April 27th, and carries on for two more days, ending on April 29th. Day one sees the first round of the draft, day two sees the second and third rounds and, finally, day three sees rounds four through seven.
The Colts, as in previous years under General Manager Chris Ballard, are seemingly very well prepared. The Colts have some roster needs but not as many as they had before free agency. During the free agency period, the Colts added two veteran players on multi year deals with the additions of Defensive End Samson Ebukam on a 3 year deal and Kicker Matt Gay in a 4 year deal. The Colts also signed a couple of veteran free agents to 1-year deals at positions of need whilst also managing to re-sign some of their own free agents too. While the team was relatively quiet in signing free agents, the focus now switches to the NFL Draft. The Colts own nine draft picks remaining, one first-round pick, one second-round pick, one fourth, three fifths, no sixth and two seventh-round picks.
So, using the Pro Football Network draft machine I was able to complete a 7-round mock draft for the Indianapolis Colts.
Here we go!
Round 1 Pick 4 - QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
The big move at the top of the draft saw the Chicago Bears move out of the number 1 overall pick sending it to the Carolina Panthers. Other teams could do the same and leap frog the Colts and they could be left in a situation where they are drafting their fourth choice at quarterback. The Colts here grab an elite athlete at the quarterback position in Florida QB Anthony Richardson. Richardson has all the athletics traits a team could want in a quarterback, size, speed and a cannon of an arm. Richardson would be a great fit for new Colts Head Coach Shane Steichen’s offense as everyone saw last year in Philadelphia with Jalen Hurts. Richardson is however still every raw having only started 13 games in his college career and struggled with accuracy during his time at Florida. This is a pick betting purely on Richardson’s huge upside.
Round 2 Pick 35 - CB Julius Brents, Kansas State
I fully expect the Colts to trade back from pick 35 and add some picks in the middle rounds. However the Colts opt to stay at number 35 at draft a cornerback in Kansas State’s Julius Brents. Brents is a HUGE corner standing at 6’3” with 34” arms. Brents rate blend of size and length makes him a great zone cover corner and a great fit for Gus Bradley’s Colts defense. His top end speed isn’t amazing but his elite size/length allows him to be extremely disruptive in re-routing receivers.
Round 3 Pick 79 - WR Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss
Colts General Manager Chris Ballard loves players with traits and Ole Miss wide receiver Jonathan Mingo has plenty. His imposing size and build coupled with his crisp route running ability makes him an ideal big slot receiver for the Colts. The Colts already have their outside jump ball receiver in Michael Pittman Jr and Alex Pierce, the team is in need of a middle of the field reliable slot and Mingo would add exactly that. He doesn’t have elite speed (4.4 forty time) but his physicality and route running ability makes up for it.
Round 4 Pick 106 - iOL Chandler Zavala, N.C. State
The Colts offensive line was a horror show in 2022 and hopefully with a new offensive system and coaches will take a major step forward. The team is likely set at 4/5 of the position in the offensive line with only the right guard position up for competition. N.C. State guard Chandler Zavala is a big man, weighing in at 322lbs at the NFL Scouting Combine, with a solid base and good length for the position. Zavala has experience in most run blocking schemes and his heavy hands help him drive opposing defenders away in both the pass and run game.
Round 5 Pick 138 - LB Dorian Williams, Tulane
The Colts need an injection of talent and bodies at linebacker after losing Bobby Okereke during free agency and Shaquille Leonard working his way back from injury. Dorian Williams is exactly the type of linebacker the Colts love, smaller in size but athletic and great length. Williams is a fast solid built linebacker who covers well with great range. His leadership attributes and special teams experience will give him a great chance to contribute straight away at the next level.
Round 5 Pick 162 - EDGE Yaya Diaby, Louisville
The Colts let Yannick Ngakoue leave during free agency and signed edge rusher Samson Ebukam to replace him, however the team still needs to add to the defensive end group. Yaya Diaby is a powerful edge rusher with great lateral quickness. Diaby is an athletic defensive end and will add great depth to the defensive line for the Colts.
Round 5 Pick 169 - CB Terrell Smith, Minnesota
Another corner that adds to a Colts cornerback room that is lacking in bodies and talent. Smith has a great combination is size, length and speed. His athleticism allows him to mirror opposing receivers at a high level, add in his experience in multiple coverage and he will be a great depth corner with upside down the line.
Round 7 Pick 221 - OT Jake Witt, Northern Michigan
Chris Ballard loves two things in the later rounds of the draft; athleticism and small school diamonds, Jake Witt is both. Witt stands at 6’7” and tested off the charts athletically at his pro day. He is a 1 year starter at offensive tackle as he transitioned from tight end, he is no where near ready to start at the NFL level but in the 7th round the Colts taking a chance on an elite athlete is too good to pass up.
Round 7 Pick 236 - RB Xazavian Valladay, Arizona State
Valladay was a very productive running back for Arizona State rushing for 1,192 yards, 16 touchdowns, and receiving for another 289 yards and two touchdowns in his last year for the Sun Devils. He is a speedy one cut running back who excels in running off the edges of the defense. He does lack ideal NFL size but this doesn’t stop him from regularly breaking tackles.