The Indianapolis Colts are in that weird area between rebuilding and contending, so we’ll call it “re-tooling.” In my opinion, they upgraded at quarterback and did a good job in free agency, and I also think Xavier Rhodes was quietly a good signing. However, the biggest move they made was trading their 13th overall pick for DeForest Buckner.
If you follow me on Twitter, @MVScouting, you’ll know I am a massive Buckner fan. I believe he’s one of the three best interior defensive linemen in the NFL. The player the Colts got with the 13th pick is better than any options they would have had, had they kept the pick. Trading for Buckner and signing Philip Rivers leads me to believe the Colts expect to contend this year. I expect them to draft as such, and take players ready for the NFL from Day 1, with the potential selection of a franchise QB.
That said, here is my updated Colts 7-round mock draft.
Round 2, Pick 34 (via WAS): Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
The Colts have a well-built roster, and after trading for DeForest Buckner, have few needs. However, I do think finding a long-term replacement for Pierre Desir will be vital, and they get great value here with Jeff Gladney. I believe Gladney could be one of the league’s top nickel cornerbacks, but with Kenny Moore II already potentially holding that title, Gladney would develop on the boundary. With 2020 second-round pick Rock Ya-Sin and now Gladney, the Colts could have their outside cornerback duo for the next ten years.
Round 2, Pick 44: Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
Jacob Eason is my QB5, and I actually think he draws some similarities to new Colts QB Philip Rivers. I think both possess elite velocity on their throws, and can commonly be seen having too much confidence in their arms. Eason has all the physical tools you’d like in an NFL quarterback, but he still has a ways to go before he’s mentally ready to start.
Ballard hails from the Kansas City tree, and while he wasn’t with them when this happened, they displayed just how effective it can be to take a high-upside prospect and let them sit for a season. I don’t believe that Eason will ever be Patrick Mahomes, but I do believe he can be one of the 10-15 best quarterbacks in the NFL with the right development. This pick reminds me a bit of what Denver did last year when they took Drew Lock at #42 overall.
Round 3, Pick 75: Matt Peart, OT, UConn
Matt Peart was someone I wasn’t familiar with before the Senior Bowl, but he really proved his worth in Mobile. He possesses elite length for the tackle position and is a good functional athlete. His technique can occasionally get sloppy, but I believe working on an offensive line as talented and refined as the Colts’ will do a great deal for his development. Peart could potentially be a Day 1 starter at right tackle, who could also be the heir apparent to Anthony Castonzo, who contemplated retirement this offseason before re-upping with the Colts on a two-year deal.
Round 4, Pick 122: Jabari Zuniga, EDGE, Florida
Adding a player of Jabari Zuniga’s talent in the fourth round would be a huge boost for the Colts. He would be an instant rotational piece, and potential replacement for Justin Houston once his tenure in Indianapolis comes to an end. Zuniga would form a strong duo with 2019 second-round pick Ben Banogu, as their abilities play off each other well.
Round 5, Pick 160: John Simpson, iOL, Clemson
Adding John Simpson and Peart to an offensive line that is already a strength, could be a move that impacts both the present and the future. Simpson is a strong blocker at the point of attack, and his strength is in the run game. However, he lacks plus athleticism, which limits his ceiling.
Round 6, Pick 193: Josiah Deguara, TE, Cincinnati
The Colts and tight end Eric Ebron decided to part ways this free agency. Adding a player like Deguara could be a nice addition to the depth chart, as both an in-line tight end and a potential fullback.
Round 6, Pick 197: Bravvion Roy, iDL, Baylor
I love the idea of the Colts taking Bravvion Roy late in Day 3. His skill-set is perfect to fit across from Bucker. He’s a strong run defender and an impressive pass rusher for his build. Roy could be a Day 1 starter the Colts find late in the draft; another slam-dunk pick for Chris Ballard and company.