Perfect Picks: Indianapolis Colts

With the NFL Draft approaching we will be looking at each team and evaluating where they need to improve. In this particular series we will run a seven round mock using the Draft Network Mock machine and find the ‘Perfect Picks’ for each franchise.

We will highlight five players that could help each team. This will include a ‘flex’ pick where we give you two ways a potential pick could go depending on how the board falls. All in all you will get picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem and a late round sleeper. Next up is the Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts had to adjust on the hoof in 2019. The shock retirement of Andrew Luck left a team that had been built adeptly by GM Chris Ballard, suddenly rudderless. Jacoby Brissett stepped in but failed to persuade fans and analysts he can be a long term answer. Ballard has a bevvy of draft picks and it wouldn’t be a surprise for him to make moves up and down the board. Here, we stick in position and give you an idea of how the Colts could attack this year’s draft.

Round 1 - Pick 13 - Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

NFL Draft Colts
(Photo Credit: theathletic.com)

The defensive line will be an area the Colts need to attack in either free agency or the draft. They certainly lack star power on the interior and that is something Javon Kinlaw can give them. Both he and Derrick Brown will be in consideration at this point but with Brown off the board I don’t see Kinlaw as too much of a downgrade.

His high motor and ability to get penetration on passing downs make him an ideal presence in the centre of any defense. Kinlaw has lined up over center or as a three technique and his power is undeniable. South Carolina may not hold the cachet of Auburn and that will certainly be why some rate Brown higher. However, a strong showing in the Senior Bowl means the debate is a lot closer than before between the top two defensive tackles in the class.

Flex Pick - Pick 13 - Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

The Colts felt like they were getting back to the good old days. Chris Ballard was giving Frank Reich all the right pieces to form a playoff ready team. Then came the news that Andrew Luck was retiring. It’s unfair to say the Colts were underprepared, Brissett is a good quarterback, but replacing a QB like Luck is near impossible. Ballard has the picks to perhaps move up and get into the conversation for a signal caller but in this mock they could’ve landed Alabama’s QB Tua Tagovailoa at pick 13.

The Colts have been linked with Philip Rivers and in this scenario that would be perfect. Rivers has one year left in him behind a strong offensive line and would allow Tua a full year to come back from his hip injury. Those same injury concerns could be what see Tagovailoa slide to this spot. If healthy, Frank Reich would be over the moon to get a QB with the talent of Tua. Colts’ fans would also be ecstatic to stumble upon another franchise QB. After enjoying Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, Tua could herald a new age of success in Indy.

Round 2- Pick 34 - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

Whether it is Philip Rivers or a rookie QB, the Colts could certainly do to add depth to their receiving corps. While TY Hilton is undoubtedly a primary receiver, he suffered from being double teamed without support from elsewhere. Tight End Eric Ebron found success in the offense and that might encourage the Colts to look at a bigger target like Tee Higgins.

Higgins is unlikely to set the world alight in the 40 yard dash, but that isn’t his game. He is a powerful receiver that thrives in contested catch situations. Higgins would add a different dimension to the offense and his penchant for the spectacular (see below) will add some sizzle. His large catch radius would certainly be of benefit to any rookie stepping into the situation.

Mid Round Gem - Pick 112 - Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois

NFL Draft Colts
Photo Credit: twitter.com

The Colts secondary was an improving unit in 2019. That’s according to PFF at least. They ranked 13th in Solomon Wilcots’ secondary ratings, an improvement from 16th in 2018. The Colts played a heavy dose of ‘single high’ and benefitted from the talents of star safety Malik Hooker. Strong safety Clayton Geathers could be set to hit free agency and a mid round replacement may be needed.

Southern Illinois’ Jeremy Chinn fits the type of profile the Colts could look for. Chinn was one of the small school prospects who helped his stock in Mobile. Chinn shows excellent sideline-to-sideline range and tackling ability. He does his best work in front of him. When in the box he blitzes with speed and comes downhill with excellent thump. Although his coverage ability could use improvement, he showed signs of that in the Senior Bowl.

Late Round Sleeper - Pick 173 - Stephen Sullivan, TE, LSU

Eric Ebron had a career year when paired with Andrew Luck in 2018. He became the big bodied target the Colts were in need of. He finally realised some of the potential that saw him drafted in the first round of the 2014 draft. Having suffered a drop off in 2019, it will be interesting to see if he gets outside interest come free agency. If that is the case, the Colts may seek out a replacement. 

Stephen Sullivan only caught 12 receptions in LSU’s national championship run. However, during Senior Bowl week he flashed more pass catching ability than his stats suggest. In a loaded offense featuring Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, Terrace Marshall and Thad Moss it’s no surprise Sullivan’s production was curbed. With prototypical size and blocking ability, he would be a useful addition this late in the draft.

Draft in full

13. Javon Kinlaw (DT)

34. Tee Higgins (WR)

44. Lucas Niang (OT)

75. Jonathan Greenard (Edge)

112. Jeremy Chinn (S)

142. Stanford Samuels III (CB)

173. Stephen Sullivan (TE)

191. Darrion Daniels (DT)

204. James Morgan (QB)

 

Rory-Joe Daniels

Cfb contributor

formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at stripehype.c

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