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Early opinions on the Colts’ 2023 Draft class

2023 NFL Draft - Portraits Photo by Todd Rosenberg/Getty Images
Disclaimer before we start, I fully believe that grading draft classes before at least two seasons is one of the most irrelevant content that can be produced, as I myself can recall at least double-digit instances where I initially thought that certain player was going to be great and wasn’t (Henry Andersen, Donte Moncrief, D’Joun Smith, Malik Hooker) and several more in which I was upset at the pick and it turned out to be a home-run (Shaq Leonard being the one I was the most wrong about). Another thing that bothers me is when so-called “draft analysts” hand out grades for ALL 32 teams, as if they knew exactly what was happening with each team. For example, I read just one grade for the Colts’ draft, and it said that tackle Blake Freeland could be starting for the Colts in Week 1, which will not happen unless either Braden Smith or Bernard Raimann suffer an injury.

However, the Draft does give us writers and fans plenty of content to digest, and while I acknowledge that these words will be in no way the final judgement or a hill I am willing to die on, as the title says, these are just my opinions on the Colts’ class, nothing more, nothing less. As is the case with opinions, they are subject to change, and are all debateable, so if I think Player A sucks and was a waste of a pick, and you love him, feel free to debate me in the comments over it.

Round 1, Pick 4: Anthony Richardson, quarterback, Florida

If the Colts were picking at #1, and chose Anthony Richardson, it would be an A+ for me, so the fact that we were still able to get him at #4 is amazing. Richardson is a gamble, as is every quarterback, but the sample size to analyze from college is dangerously small. AR15 could very well sit for a year behind Gardner Minshew as he learns the ins and outs of the NFL and gets close with coach Shane Steichen. If Richardson gets even close to his ceiling this is a homerun of a pick, and in a conference with Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Joe Burrow, you need a guy that can blow the top off defenses.

Opinion: Absolutely in love with the pick

Round 2, pick 44: Julius Brents, cornerback, Kansas State

As I was following the draft with a friend I said to him, “Hopefully we pick Brents, he is the perfect fit here and a great need”. The pick just makes so much sense. Other than quarterback, corner was by far the biggest need the Colts had, and JuJu Brents is a long, athletic cornerback who Gus Bradley is probably salivating on. He might struggle a bit out of the gate as he is not the most pro-ready corner, but the potential is certainly there.

Opinion: I would have picked him at #35 and be happy with it, we managed to get him at #44.

Round 3, pick 79: Josh Downs, wide receiver, North Carolina

Yes we all heard by now that Josh Downs is undersized for the wide receiver position standing at 5’9’’ and weighin 170 pounds, but he is perhaps the best route-runner of the class and gives the Colts a receiver that can get separation in a phone booth, something they were lacking for quite some time now. It is also a plus that Colts’ legend Reggie Wayne reportedly told Downs that he was the best wide receiver of the class, and it was not even close.

Opinion: Excited about the potential and the home-run threat, worried about the durability.

Round 4, pick 106: Blake Freeland, tackle, BYU

Freeland is a massive, athletic tackle, that could play on either side of the line. The Colts really needed depth all along the offensive line to avoid any potential Pryor/Davenport situation from happening ever again. As a backup swing tackle, I really like Freeland’s potential and he provides great value in the fourth round.

Opinion: Great value in the fourth round, could compete with Raimann for that LT spot.

Round 4, pick 110: Adetomiwa Adebawore, defensive line, Northwestern

I saw Adebawore mocked as high as the 40-50 range in some mock drafts, and the reason for that is his versatility and a ridiculous combine performance (common trend in this Colts’ class, all combine warriors). Getting him in the 4th is massive value, as he will get the chance to come in as a rotational defensive linemen and could further develop his game.

Opinion: Good value for a player that could play a key role as soon as this season as a rotational pass-rusher.

Round 5, pick 138: Darius Rush, cornerback, South Carolina

Following the trend of long, athletic cornerbacks, the Colts drafted Darius Rush, who stands at 6’2’’ and ran a 4.36 40-yard dash. He could also potentially make an impact in special teams early on in his career. This is a very similar pick to that of Isaiah Rodgers Sr., and we know how that one turned out.

Opinion: High ceiling player on a position of need, overall a great pick.

Round 5, pick 158: Daniel Scott, safety, Cal

A candidate to lead the team in special team’s tackles next season, Scott could also play a little bit as he offers some much needed versatility and depth to a Colts’ backfield in dire need of it.

Opinion: He will surely contribute on special teams, which is already good value for a 5th rounder, he could end up getting some meaningful playing time.

Round 5, pick 162: Will Mallory, tight end, Miami

Colts already have a stacked tight end room with Jelani Woods, Kylen Granson, MAC (who is still on the team as of now), recently signed Pharaoh Brown, and training camp standout Andrew Ogletree, so one has to wonder whether Mallory will see the field much or if he is just a Plan B in case MAC is shipped away.

Opinion: Don’t see the value here, and think there were other positions to be addressed before TE.

Round 5, pick 176: Evan Hull, running back, Northwestern

Hull could fill in the role left by Jordan Wilkins as the random guy who fans always wonder why he does not get more touches, and then perhaps has an out of nowhere blowout performance as a spot starter.

Opinion: If JT is healthy, Hull will probably get no more than 20 carries a season.

Round 6, pick 211: Titus Leo, edge, Wagner

Round 6, pick 221: Jaylon Jones, cornerback, Texas A&M

Round 7, pick 236: Jake Witt, tackle, Northern Michigan

Opinion: Jones has the highest chance to play meaningful snaps next season, Witt and Leo are most likely practice squad members for the next two seasons.