Despite being snubbed by Josh McDaniels at the last second, the future looks bright for Indianapolis. General manager Chris Ballard has instilled hope where there was none, and new head coach Frank Reich looks like a strong hire who has a strong track record with quarterbacks. Andrew Luck appears poised to make a healthy return next season, and the Colts have plenty of draft picks and cap space.
They’ll need to hit on a lot of picks and free-agency additions to turn around this roster. The Colts are starved for talent almost everywhere on the team. Wide receiver, offensive line, edge defender, linebacker and cornerback are all crying needs, and the running back position needs upgrading as well. The Colts almost can’t go wrong by picking best player available, since almost everywhere is a position of need.
Round 1, pick 3: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
After quarterback, the next most important position on the football field is pass rusher. This draft doesn’t have a lot of great ones, but Chubb is definitely elite. His hand usage, explosiveness and pass rush variety should make him a high-end pass rusher by his second season. Ideally the Colts would like to slip down a couple spots and still land him, but in a mock draft with no trades, they’ll nab him at No. 3.
Round 2, pick 36: Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
Michel’s range is probably 20-40, so he may not be on the board for Indy, but he was in this simulation, and I didn’t think it was cheating to nab him. He’s a feature back who has the all-around game to be a star in the NFL, and the Colts desperately need a game-changer to take pressure off Luck.
Round 3, pick 67: Fred Warner, LB, BYU
I think it’s just a matter of time before Warner climbs draft boards, but if he’s there at No. 67, it’s a no-brainer for Indy. He’s a great athlete with the ability to run and cover, and although he’ll be moving off the ball from where he played on the edge at BYU, he looked great there in Mobile.
Round 4, pick 106: Colby Gossett, OG, Appalachian State
The Colts desperately need offensive line help, but it is tough to know where to prioritize filling all the holes on their roster until free agency is over. Gossett could be a steal in the fourth round, since he has the athleticism, length, power and tenacity to be a very good starter if he can become more consistent in pass protection.
Round 5, pick 142: Isaac Yiadom, CB, Boston College
Yiadom is a big, long corner who finds the ball well, but might not run that well or be sticky in man coverage. The combine will be big for Yiadom, but if he’s still here, he fits the size prototype the Colts love at the position. He’ll also come up and tackle against the run.
Round 6, pick 181: Shaquem Griffin, LB, UCF
The Colts need tons of linebacker help, and Griffin can fulfill a couple roles for this team. His versatility in coverage could enable him to help out in dime packages, and Griffin’s ability to blitz off the edge could be an asset as well. He won’t start as a rookie, but he’ll play situationally and be a special teams demon.
Round 7, pick 221: Javon Wims, WR, Georgia
Wims is another player who could rise up boards after a strong combine, and he’d be a great complement to T.Y. Hilton in Indy. Wims has outstanding ball skills and the ability to adjust and pluck outside his frame, plus he’s an excellent blocker and tough after the catch. If he can show athleticism and speed in Indy, he’ll be a mid-round pick.