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This week all eyes will be on Indianapolis and Lucas Oil Stadium as over 300 NFL hopefuls gear up for the scouting combine. Chris Ballard and company will have a front-row view of the entire spectacle, but will likely be most focused on Saturday, March 4th when the possible future of the franchise takes the field on Capital Ave.

Let’s dive into one hypothetical scenario before we start grouping these prospects by the two numbers that come after a decimal point.

Round 1 Pick 4: Anthony Richardson, QB Florida

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Strap in Colts fans because this isn’t the last time you’ll see Anthony Richardson mocked to the Colts at 4. The former Florida Gator is expected to light up the combine after it was announced earlier that his mentality going in is to “compete”.

The narrative surrounding Richardson is that he is a raw, project quarterback who is nowhere near ready to play on Sundays. While I don’t think the 21-year-old should be thrown to the lions immediately, he certainly isn’t as much of a developmental quarterback as he’s currently portrayed. Richardson only started 13 games in college and has displayed that he is riding an upward momentum on the quarterback learning curve.

His pocket presence is better than he is generally credited with and quite remarkable for someone who has played so little football.

I’m not the first one to suggest that Anthony Richardson should go by the moniker “AR-15”, but the speed and power in which he plays bears a resemblance to the weapon. Although to be fair, Richardson has since opted to distance himself from the nickname, so honoring his wish may be the best thing to do.

Overall, Anthony Richardson is closer to starting football games on Sundays than most people in the media believe. The Colts could bring in someone like Marcus Mariota, who was coincidentally released from the Falcons this morning, to smooth the transition for the rookie while he learns Shane Steichen’s offense and acclimates to the route timing of the Colts’ receiving threats.

Then midway through the 2023-2024 season, Shane Steichen can give the reigns over to Richardson to provide some long-awaited fireworks for Colts’ fans.

Round 2 Pick 4: John Michael Schmitz, IOL Minnesota

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My colleague Jay Robins mocked Schmitz in his mock draft at this same pick. At the risk of redundancy, it should signal that the Colts’ brass will probably love this player if he is available at this point in the second round.

It is no secret that the Colts need to upgrade their offensive line, especially in the interior. Schmitz is a plug-and-play center that could also slot in at right guard to immediately upgrade the unit. No matter how mobile a rookie quarterback is, he will never flourish if he isn’t given time to process a defense.

Schmitz won’t only provide an improvement in that department, but he is also an above-average run blocker. He has a nasty, mauler mentality at the point of attack but also displays good hand placement so that his aggressiveness doesn’t get him penalized. I could see JMS opening running lanes and keeping the pocket clean for the next decade-plus in Indianapolis.

Round 3 Pick 16: Cedric Tillman, WR Tennessee

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After the Anthony Richardson selection, I felt myself taking the rest of the mock draft in a Chris Ballard-esque direction. That is, taking prospects that fit Chris Ballard’s favorite mold of player at each position. Cedric Tillman checks all the boxes at wide receiver for Ballard.

If the former Volunteer does indeed hit the marks that Dane Brugler mentions in the above tweet, alarm bells may go off at the Colts facility. Big, athletic, and physical are what Chris Ballard has proven time and time again are the most prominent traits in the receivers he drafts.

Additionally, Tillman is great in contested catch situations, and while he hasn’t developed an expanded route tree, the Colts’ front office has shown a willingness to invest in receivers who need work in that area. The Tennessee product could step into the wide receiver room on day 1 without any expectations besides learning from guys like Michael Pittman Jr.

If the Colts were to resign Parris Campbell and Ashton Dulin, Tillman could compete for the fourth receiver spot in camp and see the field when Shane Steichen wants to create mismatches with three tall, physical receivers.

There is a spot for Cedric Tillman on the Indianapolis Colts, and I’d bet Chris Ballard will take notice.

Round 3 Pick 26: Jaylon Jones, CB Texas A&M

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Much like Chris Ballard traded up for a young DB last year in the third round, I decided to do the same here with the Giants. I gave up the fourth pick in the fourth round, and a fourth next year to come up and select Jaylon Jones.

Jones is a big corner at 6’2″ 205 which, not to sound like a broken record, is something Chris Ballard emphasizes in earlier round corners. The former Aggie was a five-star recruit when he entered College Station and became known for the physical brand of football he played. This did lead to an above-average number of pass interference penalties being attributed to him, however, it’s often better to draft a corner that’s aggressive over a passive one.

The A&M prospect will fit most naturally in a zone-heavy scheme where he can use his length to disrupt throwing lanes. Moreover, his willingness to tackle will attract teams that emphasize violence in the run game like the Colts.

With Stephon Gilmore getting a little long in the tooth, and Kenny Moore’s future with the team uncertain, the Colts should look to bring Jaylon Jones’ young, 21-year-old presence to Indianapolis.

Round 5 Pick 4: Thomas Incoom, DE Central Michigan

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Thomas Incoom profiles as a developmental pass rusher in the NFL. At this point in the draft, the Colts will be looking for players with traits that they feel their position coaches will be able to refine. Coming from a smaller program, Incoom hasn’t been tasked with beating NFL talent often. This may mean that he struggles early on in his career, but the tools he currently possesses are worth taking a chance on in round 5.

The Central Michigan product has a relentless motor that could give him a leg up over other defensive linemen during roster cuts. Additionally, the former Chippewa is a fantastic athlete who can run and chase down the line and flash incredible strength to destroy blocks. A defense can never have enough pass rushers, and Incoom is another developmental player that could turn into something a few years down the road.

Round 6 Pick 28: Carter Warren, OT Pittsburgh

Carter Warren would probably be long gone by this point in the draft had he not gotten injured earlier this season. He has the prototypical size and length for an NFL tackle and displays good hand usage while being smooth in his pass sets. The only questions for Warren now are whether or not his medicals will check out. If Warren can pass these checks, the Colts could be getting a solid, developmental tackle to provide depth going forward.

Round 7 Pick 4: Cam Jones, LB Indiana

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I envision Cam Jones being the EJ Speed replacement if the Colts decide to let him go in free agency. Jones is an uber-athletic linebacker who should make an immediate impact on special teams. Jones could eventually step in in a pinch and play stack linebacker, much like Zaire Franklin has proven he can after being a 7th-round pick. The former Hoosier was also a three-time captain while playing in the crimson and cream, something Chris Ballard has always valued highly.

Round 7 Pick 19: B.J. Thompson, EDGE Stephen F. Austin

Three words. Ball of clay. B.J. Thompson is an athlete playing edge right now and could make a roster as a designated pass rusher. Using Thompson in a NASCAR package on third downs would be a change of pace for tackles who are used to bigger, more powerful defensive ends that are in on early run downs. Thompson is a member of Bruce Feldman’s “Freak List”, as he measured in at 6’5″ 238 and jumped 40 inches while running a reported 4.56 40-yard dash. I have no idea where BJ Thompson will actually go on draft day, but he definitely fits what Chris Ballard looks for.

Jack Guiley

Hi, my name is Jack Guiley, and I'm very excited to be a part of The Blue Stable family. I am currently a junior student-athlete at DePauw University majoring in economics. I played four years of varsity high school football and am lucky enough to have earned the opportunity to play collegiately at DePauw. I've been a Colts fan for as long as I can remember, but my first real memory of my fandom was watching the 2006 Super Bowl at the age of four. I love the draft, and really anything Colts-related. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @guiley_jack if you have any questions or want to discuss anything about the Colts!

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