Byron Jewell | April 14th, 2020
Colts general manager Chris Ballard has made a series of moves and signing he normally doesn’t make this offseason. He addressed one of the biggest needs on the roster after trading their first-round pick for Pro Bowl defensive lineman DeForest Buckner. He also decided it was time to take the keys of the offense away from Jacoby Brissett and give them to Philip Rivers after they signed the veteran quarterback to a one-year deal. The team also decided to release Pierre Desir and replace him with long time Vikings’ cornerback Xavier Rhodes. All in all, the Colts have addressed a lot of their needs during the free agency period. Now, they shift their focus to the NFL Draft where they have seven total picks, after trading their first-round selection.
To simulate this mock draft, I used The Draft Network simulator.
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Round 2, Pick 34: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
Rock Ya-Sin and Marvell Tell showed good promise their rookie season but still needs that dynamic athlete in the secondary. The team feels like they have improved their cornerback position by signing Rhodes and veteran depth piece T.J. Carrie, but it can still get better. Gladney is the perfect selection.
Gladney fits almost every threshold the Colts have for their corners. Long arms, strong in press, good tackling, and competitive. Gladney is a developmental starter with a high ceiling. He has very strong instincts as well and playing in a heavy zone scheme like the Colts will excel his best qualities. Wouldn’t be thrown into the fire right away, but will have a good opportunity to make a strong rookie impact.
Round 2, Pick 44: Michael Pittman Jr, WR, USC
After focusing on the defense for the majority of the offseason, it’s time to give the newly acquired Rivers, some help. This is the team’s biggest area of concern, especially after losing Devin Funchess to the Green Bay Packers in free agency. T.Y. Hilton is now aging a bit at 30-years-old and Parris Campbell has a nice ceiling but only played seven games a rookie. Zach Pascal showed some promise but the teams pass catchers could use some help.
Pittman is one of my favorite prospects in the draft. He’s a big guy at 6’4″ and 223 pounds, with excellent length, physicality, and toughness. However, he showed there’s a lot more than just size to his game. He has good body control, soft hands, and is an underrated athlete with good short area quickness. He was a team captain and had steady increase in college production. Pittman is the big-bodied wideout the Colts desperately need.
Michael Pittman Jr. with a 10 catch, 232 rec yd game against a good Utah defense
USC kept giving him shots down the field over and over again, it kept working pic.twitter.com/wQJL4lSNdY
— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) September 23, 2019
Round 3, Pick 75: Matt Peart, OT, UConn
Anthony Castonzo re-signed to a two-year deal this offseason but the Colts also lost quality depth piece, Joe Haeg. Ballard loves to build in the trenches and Peart is that perfect developmental piece at offensive tackle. He posses elite length and is a good functional athlete. His knowledge and technique could use a little refinement, but he’s a good candidate to take Castonzo’s position in two years.
Round 4, Pick 122: Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Mizzou
Rivers loves his tight ends, as we learned from his days with the Chargers. From Antonio Gates to Hunter Henry, he likes the find the big-bodied targets often. The Colts decided to part ways with Eric Ebron, after a disappointing campaign last season, but managed to sign Jack Doyle to a three-year extension. Okwuegbunam is huge at 6’5 and 258 pounds and can serve as a miss-match during passing situations. He’s an intriguing prospect giving the blend of his size, length, and insane speed. Needs to grow as a blocker, but would be a good compliment to Doyle.
6'5", 258 lbs.@MizzouFootball TE Albert Okwuegbunam runs a 4.49u 40-yard dash!
Would tie for fourth-fastest 40 by a tight end since 2003.
— NFL (@NFL) February 27, 2020
Round 5, Pick 160: Michael Onwenu, G, Michigan
Mark Glowinski had a rather inconsistent year last season but for now, he’s still the starting right guard. Ballard loves to have depth in the trenches and Onwenu would be great in the Colts zone blocking scheme. He was a strong anchor at right guard for the Wolverines and show nice power at the point of attack. Better in the run game now, but needs to sustain blocks longer and show better mobility. Good development backup piece with decent upside.
Round 6, Pick 193: Isaiah Coulter, WR, Rhode Island
Though he played at an FCS level, Coulter could potentially end up as a starting receiver in the pros. He has excellent body control and ball skills, while also showing a natural ability for long vertical receptions with his great athleticism. Ballard has drafted an FCS receiver before, Daurice Fountain, who showed to be one of the more promising receivers in camp last year. Coulter will need time to adjust to NFL quality competition, but this is a great low-risk high-reward selection.
Round 6, Pick 197: James Morgan, QB, Florida International
Rivers and Brissett are both only have one season on remaining on their contracts, and with the position up in the air after next year, they need to add some youth. The Colts have been in contact with Morgan throughout the pre-draft process. Morgan has excellent intangibles, with a surprisingly nice level of arm talent. Getting mentored by Rivers and coached by offensive-guru Frank Reich could go a long way here, and could eventually lead to Morgan leading the offense.
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Main Image Credit:Embed from Getty Images