Indianapolis Colts NFL Draft Grades 2022: Matt Ryan gets a new WR in Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce

What are the Indianapolis Colts' grades for their selections in the 2022 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

The 2022 NFL Draft has officially kicked off, and the Indianapolis Colts have made their first selection. As the seven rounds progress and the team makes all of their picks, we will provide a live draft grade and analysis for each of the Colts’ selections. How do these new prospects fit with the roster, what kind of impact will they have on the team, and what do the team’s needs look like now that the draft is complete?

Make sure to continue to check back as the 2022 NFL Draft continues for live Indianapolis Colts draft grades and analysis.

Indianapolis Colts grades for 2022 NFL Draft

What are the Colts’ grades for their selections in the 2022 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

Round 2, Pick 53: Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati

After trading down, the Indianapolis Colts have finally selected a new weapon for quarterback Matt Ryan. They selected Cincinnati WR Alec Pierce with the 53rd overall pick, adding him to a receiving corps that’s relatively bare outside of Michael Pittman Jr.

Pierce is an excellent value addition at this spot, and he has an enticing skill set at the next level. Standing at 6’3”, 211 pounds, with 33” arms, Pierce has 4.41 speed and a 40.5” vertical, culminating in elite vertical athleticism. He has the speed to stack defensive backs but also the length and instincts to convert on contested targets. More than that, he’s fluid and quick enough to separate on short routes, and he has efficient feet as a route runner. He can be a top target in the Colts’ offensive attack.

Grade: A-

Round 3, Pick 73: Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia

The Colts have won the day. Their Day 2 haul of Alec Pierce and Jelani Woods are as talented as any duo you’re going to find in any Day 2 of a draft. Woods has a documented past of sound blocking skills during his time at Oklahoma State. But his one year of play at Virginia and his pre-draft showing at the Shrine Bowl placed him among the top tight ends in this class.

Players his size at 6’7” and 252 shouldn’t be able to move the way he does. He can separate like a speedy slot receiver and has soft hands to boot. Combining his skill set in the receiving game with his blocking skills make him a viable candidate for heavy early targets. And he could find himself on the shortlist of Offensive Rookie of the Year odds come the season’s end.

Grade: A+

Round 3, Pick 77: Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

The Colts still haven’t been able to find a new long-term starter at left tackle since the retirement of veteran Anthony Castonzo. Braden Smith is one of the better right tackles in the league on the other side, but he needs a running mate. He might have gotten it in Central Michigan OT Bernhard Raimann, the Colts’ selection at 77th overall.

Raimann needs to further develop his hand usage. Furthermore, his status as a 25-year-old rookie will turn some onlookers away. But Raimann, a former foreign exchange student from Austria, is relatively new to football and offensive tackle. At this point in Round 3, it’s well worth banking on his elite athletic upside. Raimann is a special mover with unnatural recovery athleticism. At his peak, he can be a quiet pass protector who locks down his side with smooth mobility.

Grade: A-

Round 3, Pick 96: Nick Cross, S, Maryland

Few teams have had a better Day 2 performance than the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts started out with two big offensive additions in Alec Pierce and Jelani Woods. Now, they’re adding to the defensive side of the ball, bolstering a shaky safety room with Maryland’s Nick Cross.

Cross needs to improve on the operational side, mainly with his attack angles coming downhill. But Cross is an excellent fit in Gus Bradley’s scheme. He’s one of the few safeties in this class who can legitimately play in single-high, manage space, and cover ground with his range. At 6’0”, 212 pounds, he has a strong frame that holds up in contact situations. And his 4.34 speed emphasizes his full-field range.

Grade: A-

Round 5, Pick 159: Eric Johnson, DT, Missouri State

Behind DeForest Buckner and nose tackle Grover Stewart, there isn’t much in the way of depth for the Colts. In Round 5 of the 2022 NFL Draft, Missouri State’s Eric Johnson has upside that’s easy to bank on. Johnson was a late elevation to the Senior Bowl in early February. After arriving midweek, he flashed consistently in practice with his straight-line burst and power capacity. At 6’4”, 299 pounds, with arms over 34” and a 4.87 40-yard dash, Johnson is an elite athlete with a hot motor. He fits well as a disruptive 3-technique in Indianapolis’ rotation.

Grade: A

Round 6, Pick 192: Andrew Ogletree, TE, Youngstown State

While this might feel a little rich, I love the upside with Youngstown State TE Andrew Ogletree. He tested off the charts at the Miami (OH) Pro Day, attracting attention from multiple NFL teams. A 35” vertical, 10’1” broad, 26 bench press reps, and a 1.62 10-yard split contributed to a 9.36 Relative Athletic Score. Does that translate to tape? You bet it does. Ogletree has also demonstrated his ball-tracking skills, body control, reliable hands, and spatial awareness. It might be a reach, but it might end up being for the stars.

Grade: A-

Round 6, Pick 216: Curtis Brooks, DT, Cincinnati

The Indianapolis Colts secure an under-the-radar defensive line prospect in Cincinnati’s Curtis Brooks. At 6’2” and 287 pounds, he’s not the biggest lineman by any stretch of the imagination. What he is, though, is an intriguing athlete who tested incredibly well, highlighted by a 35.5” vertical, 9’5” broad, and 4.9-second 40-yard dash.

In addition to the incredible athletic profile, Brooks showcases some technical ability, led by impressive hand work. Having drafted Eric Johnson, the Colts now have two interior defensive linemen who bring some versatility to their roster.

Grade: B

Round 7, Pick 239: Rodney Thomas II, S, Yale

The Colts take another swing on upside at safety, this time taking Yale’s Rodney Thomas II. Indianapolis has shown they can find diamonds in the rough at safety, and Thomas could qualify. He certainly has the traits. At 6’2”, 196 pounds, with 32” arms, he has 4.51 speed and a 41” vertical. That athleticism translated to impressive production at the FCS level – notably 2 picks and 11 deflections this past season. Thomas’ traits are worth adding to the defensive back room.

Grade: B+

What were the Colts’ biggest needs entering the draft?

  •  OT, G, CB, WR, S

The Colts dealt with their major need at quarterback by trading for Matt Ryan. Now, the focus has to be on the offensive line. A replacement has never been found for Anthony Castonzo at left tackle, and now the departure of Mark Glowinski has created a need at guard as well. The Colts also need to get Ryan some more pass-catching weapons to really complete this offense.

Defensively, the needs are mainly in the secondary. Stephon Gilmore is a nice solution for 2022, but they need to add a potential future starter if Gilmore cannot hit his previous heights. The situation at secondary is similar. What they have now is perfectly fine, but they need a long-term solution.

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