Congratulations on discovering your first official break from the 24 hour Jonathan Taylor news cycle! You have landed in a space free of contract disputes and agent drama, a land filled with hope for the future of your favorite football franchise. Welcome to an overview of the positions the Colts project to have a need at following the 2023 season, and how Chris Ballard could address them next April.
As preseason play winds down around the NFL, every franchise has their hopes and dream set on a Lombardi Trophy six months down the road. However, for some teams this dream is more realistic than others. As the Indianapolis Colts are currently constructed, the idea of the team accomplishing professional football’s greatest team achievement is quite far fetched. All hope is not lost though, with the addition of young, dynamic quarterback Anthony Richardson, the Colts have a direction at the game’s most important position for the first time in years.
The next step in building a successful title contender is surrounding your young quarterback with as much help as possible. Much of what Indy’s front office should look to do in the upcoming draft is exactly that, no matter what their final record shows at the end of 2023.
Chris Ballard has taken a day 2 wide receiver in each of the last four drafts (Campbell, Pittman Jr., Pierce, Downs). Despite this, there are still a lot of unanswered questions in the room. Michael Pittman is clearly the number one receiver for Indy, but he hasn’t established himself as a definitive number one wide receiver league wide.
Maybe that changes in his contract year, or maybe Pittman proves to be an excellent number two option going forward. Either way outside of MPJ, there aren’t very many proven commodities for the Colts, which is why wide receiver will looks to continue to be a position of need looking ahead to the 2024 draft.
If the Colts struggle this upcoming year, then an intriguing storyline could emerge if they are in position to possibly take the son of former Colt great Marvin Harrison. Marvin Harrison Jr. As of now, Harrison Jr. is projected to go in the top 3, meaning Indy would have to endure another atrocious season.
To some this may be worth it to score a truly generational wide receiver prospect who would immediately become the alpha of the Colts’ wide receiver group. MHJ and MPJ not only creates a great acronym duo, but also provides a massive upgrade to a position the Colts have struggled to produce a bona fide star at since TY Hilton.
Other options/top prospects the Colts could consider at wide receiver include: Emeka Egbuka Ohio State, Xavier Worthy Texas, Rome Odunze Washington, Johnny Wilson, Florida St.
Bernhard Raimann has a chance to put this potential need to rest this year if he plays up to the potential the Colts’ brass saw in him when they made him a third round pick a year ago. It must be mentioned though that third round tackles don’t often work out swimmingly in the long run.
Offensive tackle is a franchise cornerstone position that demands an incredible talent if you want to compete at the highest level. The position becomes even more important when you have a rookie quarterback. Despite Anthony Richardson’s mobility, having elite tackle play can be the difference between whether or not the former Florida Gator has the time to attack defenses vertically with his howitzer arm.
The 2024 tackle class is shaping up to be a special one, reminiscent of the 2020 class that included Andrew Thomas, Jedrick Wills, and Tristan Wirfs. One of the top prospect is playing his college ball close to home at Notre Dame. According to PFF, Joe Alt could push Penei Sewell for top college tackle prospect in their scouting era.
Olu Fashanu is another player out of Penn State, who likely would have been the first tackle taken in this years draft had he declared. Finally to finish up what is seen as a “big three” as of now, JC Latham of Alabama who has the potential to go in the top 10 in 2024.
The Colts also have rookie fourth round pick Blake Freeland who might get a shot going forward if Raimann doesn’t impress this year. But as I stated previously, you can’t hand the starting job over to a day 3 pick.
A franchise left tackle could be in order for the Colts in 2024.
This could be a position the Colts look to supplement in free agency following this season considering they drafted three cornerbacks in April. Nevertheless, only one of those draft picks, JuJu Brents, was a day two pick. Additionally, Kenny Moore will be a free agent in 2024, and on the current roster he is the only proven player with any sort of NFL starting experience.
In this case, Chris Ballard could choose to continue with the youth movement at DB and take another corner early in the 2024 draft. Some of the early contenders for first cornerback off the board include Kool-Aid McKinstry from Alabama, Cooper DeJean from Iowa, and Kalen King of Penn State.
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