The Indianapolis Colts don’t have a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, so fans might believe there is nothing to root for or monitor on day 1. That is not the case, as here are several things for the Colts to root for today.
1. Over 3 QBs Drafted
This QB class has been noted for being lackluster compared to recent years, yet the need for passers is just as relevant this year as any other. This class has a fair bit of project QBs with upside, but their low floor will turn some teams off.
QBs like Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral, Sam Howell, or Desmond Ridder all have a chance to be taken in round 1 should a team be smitten with them. If three or more of those QBs mentioned above get taken in round 1 (or before pick 42), it will push several valuable non-QBs to the Colts’ pick range—the more talent on the board when the Colts pick, the better of course.
Football Team Commanders Not Drafting a QB
However, if there is one team Colts fans don’t want to draft a QB early, it’s the Commanders. While it would help push some more talent down the board, it would also potentially jeopardize Carson Wentz’s snap % and thus affect the Colts’ conditional 2023 2nd or 3rd round pick they received from trading Wentz away. The move would mirror the Eagles’ 2020 pick of Jalen Hurts behind Carson Wentz, with even higher draft capital spent.
It is doubtful that The Washington Commanders will select a QB early the same off-season that they traded for Wentz. With other needs needing to be addressed (back 7 of the defense, guard, wide receiver), the Commanders taking another QB at pick 11 would be unusual. Should the Commanders go unconventional with their 1st round pick and take a QB, it would not be in the Colts’ best interest.
3. AFC South Rivals Whiffing
Safe to say that the misfortune of the Jaguars, Titans, and Texans can only benefit the Colts. While the Colts might not have a first-round pick, the other AFC South teams have had mixed results with their first-round picks recently. While it will be tough to say if a team truly whiffs on their draft picks until the players play, should the Jaguars make the wrong decision in hindsight at the 1st overall pick, the Texans start their rebuild on a poor note in the draft, or the Titans fail to add more to the roster to keep them afloat, the Colts will benefit in the short and long term from the draft.
The Jags have had rough drafting success in recent years in round 1 (only Josh Allen is firmly in the hit category at this moment for the last 4 Drafts). Thanks to a few trades, the Texans have only had 2 Round 1 picks in the previous five Drafts: Deshaun Watson & Tytus Howard, and with a new regime in place, it’s unclear how well they will draft going forward. The Titans’ first-round drafting outcome has been a mixed bag under GM Jon Robinson: a fair share of misses (Isaiah Wilson, Corey Davis), hits (Jeffrey Simmons), okay level starter picks (Adoree Jackson, Rahsaan Evans), and injuries (Farley), but still the most consistently successful of the Colts’ AFC South Rivals. Should all 3 of the AFC South rivals’ first-round picks falter, the Colts could be in a firm spot in 2022 & beyond in the division.
4. Under 6 WRs Drafted
It is no secret that the Colts’ most significant need is passing weapons. While this draft is very deep, with several talented WRs available by the time the Colts pick at 42, the more still there, the merrier. There have been 5 WRs consistently projected to go into round 1 in no particular order: Drake London, Garrett Wilson, Jameson Williams, Chris Olave, & Treylon Burks. If only those five-plus only one more WR gets drafted in Day 1, the Colts have to feel pretty good about their odds at potentially getting a WR on the next tier at 42. On the other hand, if it’s seven or more WRs taken on day one, then the Colts might start to get nervous with several WR needy teams in picks 33-41 potentially snatching up one of their favorite WRs in this class.
5. AJ Brown Traded to the NFC &/Or Traded Below Value
As rumors swirl around, the Titans might be considering trading away their best passing weapon. Christian Kirk going to the Titans on a massive deal sent ripples through the WR market, causing AJ Brown’s desire to get paid with a new extension. The Titans, however, are a little strapped for 2023 cap space at the moment. Brown has also taken to social media to express anger at being called a diva and a bad teammate for wanting to get paid. Whether that statement is directed at Titans fans or based on closed-door conversations with Titans leader hip is unclear. However, if they can’t come to an agreement or there is genuine bad blood between both sides in the negotiations, the Titans might trade away AJ.
Colts fans would preferably want AJ Brown to go to the NFC, where he would have less chance to play against the Colts in any meaningful games. Colts fans would also prefer to have the Titans trade Brown out of desperation to get anything from him on the last year of his rookie deal and thus at a discount to whoever trades for him. Finally, having a division rival get weaker during the draft for the upcoming season would be a nice treat for Colts fans.
In the NFL draft, anything can happen; should several of these outcomes occur, Colts fans will be elated for day two of the draft when the Colts finally can start to add to their roster. No guarantees for any of it to happen, but all of it is worth keeping an eye on.