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Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts NFL Draft Picks & Grades 2021

The Colts have a solid roster and could be on the cusp of a playoff run. What grades did the Colts’ 2021 NFL Draft picks receive?

Indianapolis Colts NFL Draft Picks & Grades 2021
Michigan defensive lineman Kwity Paye sacks Rutgers quarterback Artur Sitkowski during the first half on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, at Michigan Stadium. Michigan Football

After acquiring Carson Wentz, the Colts are in the position to make a playoff push. While they lost some key pieces on both sides of the ball, the team is still a rather talented one up and down the roster. If they draft right, the Colts could make a deep run in January. What grades did the Colts 2021 NFL Draft picks receive?

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Colts draft picks in 2021

  • 21st Overall Selection (R1-P21): Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan 
  • 54th Overall Selection (R2-P22): Dayo Odeyingbo, EDGE, Vanderbilt
  • 127th Overall Selection (R4-P22): Kylen Granson, TE, SMU
  • 165th Overall Selection (R5-P21): Shawn Davis, S, Florida
  • 218th Overall Selection (R6-P34, from Tampa Bay through Seattle): Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas
  • 229th Overall Selection (R7-P1, from Tampa Bay through Jacksonville): Mike Strachan, WR, Charleston
  • 248th Overall Selection (R7-P21): Will Fries, OG, Penn State

Who did the Colts draft on Day 1?

With the 21st pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts selected Michigan EDGE Kwity Paye.

Indianapolis Colts grades for 2021 NFL Draft

The Colts add a twitched-up, athletic edge rusher in Paye.

Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

For a team that badly needed pass rush help and presence, Paye comes in immediately with heavy hands and a vast toolbox to be ready to compete from Day 1. 

The Colts can be happy with a relatively polished pass rusher with upside if he can brush up his pass rush. A stout run defender who lacks length, Paye is the perfect type of Ballard player. This is one of the better outcomes that could have happened in Indianapolis, and Paye should be a great player at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Grade: A

Dayo Odeyingbo, EDGE, Vanderbilt

The Colts got an explosive, disruptive pass rusher in Vanderbilt’s Dayo Odeyingbo. Odeyingbo has phenomenal short-area quickness and agility. This is a guy who can move up and down the line with strong hands. However, his torn achilles is certainly an issue and could sap the explosiveness that makes him so dangerous. If healthy, this pick makes sense. But this is a pick that carries a big risk.

Grade: B-

Kylen Granson, TE, SMU

The Colts selected a smooth, but somewhat underwhelming tight end in Kylen Granson. Granson lacks physicality at the catch point and still struggles to separate. With guys like Brevin Jordan still on the board, this feels like a reach.

Grade: C

Shawn Davis, S, Florida

The Colts add a freak athlete with great explosiveness in Shawn Davis. With great eyes and discipline, Davis has the ability to step in and be a solid spot starter or rotational sub-package piece. He is physical and should be able to play in nickel and dime packages early while contributing on special teams.

Grade: B

Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas

The Colts get a quarterback in the mobile, tough Sam Ehlinger. Ehlinger has average traits in terms of arm talent. He does not throw with great anticipation and lacks ideal velocity to fit balls into tight windows. Nevertheless, his toughness, leadership, and the mobility he carries could make him a potential backup quarterback for the future.

Grade: C+

Mike Strachan, WR, Charleston

The Colts add a very athletic wide receiver in Charleston’s Mike Strachan. His physical traits, combined with his body control, ball tracking, and strong hands, should give him a chance to stick on the roster. He must develop as a route runner and improve his releases, but Strachan has impact ability on special teams as a gunner from Day 1.

Grade: B-

Will Fries, OG, Penn State

The Colts bring in a solid player in Penn State’s Will Fries. Fries is a physical football player who finishes through the whistle. He is versatile and can play multiple spots while carrying a high football IQ. However, his inconsistent hands and lack of overall athleticism will hurt him, so this is a mere depth piece.

Indianapolis Colts Overall Grade: C+

It is hard to be mad with the Colts’ first pick, Kwity Paye. This is a home run for them and arguably a dream scenario. Taking a risk on Dayo Odeyingbo is bold in the second round, but he is a nice fit. However, the Colts did not walk out of the draft with a starting left tackle. That could leave them with trouble.

Sam Ehlinger is also a questionable selection, although he has backup quarterback upside. It is hard to put it any lower than a C-plus because of the Paye selection, but this is a shaky draft out of the blocks.

Grade: B

Team needs for Indianapolis coming into the NFL Draft

With Wentz on board, the Colts aim for a playoff berth in the 2021 season.

Offensive Tackle

There is no question about it; after Anthony Castonzo’s retirement, the Colts need an offensive tackle. After signing some players like Julien Davenport, the question will be do they feel comfortable enough about the spot to let it go.

Edge Rusher

Justin Houston is out of Indianapolis now, and there are just a lot more question marks than answers at the spot right now. Ben Banogu and Kemoko Turay have upside but are legitimate question marks. So, this should be a spot they address early.

Wide Receiver

It may not be the Colts’ biggest need, but they could stand to add another wide receiver to this room. T.Y. Hilton is not getting any younger, and there are certainly some question marks surrounding the rest of the group. It is talented, but that does not mean they can not add depth.


Rock Ya-Sin has struggled in his early years as an NFL player, and it might be the reason that Indianapolis scours the cornerback market in this class. Again, this one is not an urgent requirement, but they can afford to use draft capitalhere.

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