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The 2022 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and the Indianapolis Colts still have work to do despite having made numerous splashy acquisitions. As always, Chris Ballard has taken a patient approach to free agency, much to the chagrin of Colts fans. However, a solid draft combined with a few key veteran additions could have this Colts team looking like heavy division favorites in the AFC South heading into training camp.

Today I used the Pro Football Focus Mock Draft Simulator as a basis for how the draft could unfold in the coming days. PFF tends to have a pretty unreliable trade simulator, so I used Drafttek’s NFL Trade Value Chart for the one trade I made. I focused my drafting efforts on players that fit the archetype Chris Ballard generally goes for, athletic, high character, Senior Bowl attendees, and team captains. My 7 round mock draft yielded the following results:

 

Round 2

Trade- Colts receive Pick 50, 103 

Chiefs receive pick 42

The two receivers I think the Colts would take at 42 if they fell, Skyy Moore or George Pickens, were both gone at this point. Tyler Smith, the Tulsa tackle, is the only other player I could see the Colts selecting if he slid down to pick 42. In this scenario, Christian Watson was still available at pick 50, which seems unlikely, but I’m going to take advantage of the fall and make the selection here.

Pick 50: Christian Watson WR, North Dakota State

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The difference between Watson and someone like Pickens or Moore at this spot is that I don’t think Watson is ready to be the number 2 option in the Colts’ passing offense right now. His ceiling is as high as anybody else’s in this draft, but as of right now, he is mostly a projection. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the North Dakota State product, he has one of the best combinations of size, speed, and big-play ability in the class. However, coming from a smaller school, many parts of Watson’s game will need to mature before he can become more than a one-trick pony in the NFL. There is more nuance to his game than some of the rawest prospects in the draft that will go on Day 3 (i.e., Isaiah Weston), but the player profile is similar. If the Colts have the opportunity to add Christian Watson to their wide receiver room, I think they should capitalize on the opportunity but also be ready to make a veteran addition to the receiver room post-draft.

 

Round 3

Pick 73: Zyon McCollum CB, Sam Houston St.

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McCollum is another toolsy prospect who checks all of the boxes athletically yet will need technical refinement coming from an FCS program into the NFL. He is a grade-A person who has been lauded by his coaches and scouts for his leadership ability on and off the field. McCollum also has the ability to come in and contribute immediately on special teams, even if he doesn’t win the starting corner job. The former Bearkat ran a 4.33 40-yard dash at 6’2 200 lbs at the combine and posted a 39.5-inch vertical jump and an 11-foot broad jump, which makes him one of the most unique athletes in this class. The Colts could stand to add one more young piece to this secondary, and McCollum has the ability to replace Stephon Gilmore as the team’s CB 1 after his two-year contract expires.

Chris Ballard preaches forward-thinking when it comes to roster building, and I think the athletic profile and personality of McCollum will ultimately entice Ballard here at 73. If I had to put my stamp on one pick as most likely to happen come Friday, it would be this one.

Pick 103: Cade Otton TE, Washington

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In his recent press conference, Chris Ballard stressed the importance of Jack Doyle’s versatility as a blocker and pass catcher over the past decade. With Doyle now in retirement, it makes sense for the Colts to add to a tight end room that has a lot of question marks, with Mo Alie-Cox and Kylen Granson being the only two players who have seen action in NFL games.

Cade Otton would be an intriguing option for the Colts to add at the end of the third round. Otton fits the duality of the tight end position that Ballard has mentioned and also has room for continued growth as an explosive playmaker. It is obvious that Otton approaches run blocking with the right mentality, even if he isn’t successful every time. If he continues to add muscle mass and increase his play strength, this area of his game could improve even more. Overall, I feel like Cade Otton hasn’t gotten his fair share of exposure during this draft cycle and could end up going higher than this. If the Colts were to get him here at the end of the third round, I could see him legitimately competing for TE 1 in training camp.

Round 4

Pick 122: Kyle Phillips WR, UCLA

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Probably the best value pick in this simulation; I would be shocked if Kyle Phillips were still available here for the Colts. Phillips has shown to be a fantastic route runner on tape, and while his YAC potential may not be as high as some other prospects, Phillips has a toughness about him that reminds me a lot of Hunter Renfrow coming out of Clemson. I’m not going to project that Phillips goes on to have a career like Renfrow, but if the Colts could get 80% of the Raiders’ slot receiver in the fourth round, they’d have a productive third option for years to come.

 

Round 5

Pick 159: Ryan Van Demark OT, UConn

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I’ve advocated for the Colts to add depth at the tackle spot at some point this offseason. Unfortunately, in this simulation, the first pick where it made sense to go with a tackle was not until the 5th round. Hopefully, Chris Ballard adds a veteran swing tackle like Tyrell Crosby post-draft to continue to add competition and experience to an offensive line that has seen the departure of two starters and one very important reserve this offseason. Aside from the current state of the tackle position, Ryan Van Demark has intriguing traits as a Day 3 tackle that could eventually lead to him turning into a starter. While his hand punch placement and timing need a complete overhaul, the athletic traits are evident on Van Demark’s tape. In addition, Zach Hicks has noted the Colts have expressed interest in Van Demark during the pre-draft process.

Pick 179: Jason Poe IOL, Mercer

You’ve probably never heard of Jason Poe before, but be ready for this guy to make an NFL roster and do something productive on an NFL field. At Georgia’s pro day, Poe was asked by teams to work out as a fullback due to his incredible athleticism and relatively small stature for an NFL offensive lineman (6’1). Poe ran a 4.89 40 at over 300 lbs while also putting up 34 reps on the bench. Poe would start out as a depth piece along the interior that could cut his teeth early, leading the way for Jonathan Taylor in goal-to-go situations. Jason Poe is the type of player Colts fans would fall in love with.

Here’s Poe flattening Alabama linebackers while pulling earlier this year:

 

Round 6:

Pick 216: Esezi Otomewo DL, Minnesota

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The “other guy” on Minnesota’s defensive line, Otomewo, played alongside Boye Mafe in what was an incredibly athletic defensive line that everyone is just now discovering. Otomewo is actually from Indianapolis and attended Ben Davis High School, where he was a three-star recruit. The former gopher has the ability to play all over the line at 280 lbs and could easily make the Colts roster as a base down defensive end who is primarily used as a run defender and rotational player. If the Colts develop him correctly, there could end up being more to Otomewo’s game than just a primary run-down defender.

 

Round 7 

Pick 240: Markquese Bell SAF, Florida A&M

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A personal favorite of many of the staff at The Blue Stable, Markquese Bell is an all-around fun player who would make the roster primarily as a special teamer. Bell is a hard-hitting safety who loves making his presence known on the field. With possible corner versatility on the table due to his long arms, Bell could be a chess piece in the Colts’ secondary once he proves he is ready. Until then, I’d expect him to be a standout on special teams.

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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 sophomore 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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