By this point in the offseason, you are likely overwhelmed by draft pontificators and their predictions of how the NFL’s annual pageant will play out. Mock drafts are a dime a dozen, and we here at The Blue Stable are certainly aware of this glut of content.
Intent on giving our readers a unique insight into the draft experience, several members of the writing staff recently set out on a distinctly ambitious project.
Rather than run our individual draft boards through one of the now-ubiquitous online draft simulators and regurgitate that feedback to you, we took a different tact. We instead opted to run a manual simulation where each writer represented anywhere from 4 to 8 NFL franchises and made picks on their behalf.
So what’s fun about that? Hang in there; this is the interesting part!
As a construct, whenever the Colts went on the clock, we were tasked with selecting as an ensemble. Much like the crowded war room that Chris Ballard will preside over imminently, our collective ran the gambit of experts in analytics, athletic measurables, film, and beyond. This often, and predictably, led to frequent conflict for a team whose prior familiarity was not far beyond a “Hello, my name is” label.
What follows is the results of our collective draft from a Colts perspective. With each selection, you will read a unique perspective on the team discussion that led to the pick. We hope you will enjoy having a peek at the war room drama that is often hidden behind closed front office doors. It was our pleasure to bring it to you. Enjoy!
Pick: Round 1, Pick 31 (31 overall, via trade)
Selection: T Samuel Cosmi, Texas
- Relative Athletic Score: 9.99
- 2020 PFF Grade: 90.8
- Destin Adams Grade: Mid 2nd
Joshua Perez: By the time the Colts got on the clock, everyone in the “war room” was super excited to make a pick after trading down finally. It was awesome making picks for the other teams in the league, but when the Colts got on the clock and agreed to make the pick, it was like a breath of fresh air. We had many people on our big board but none more significant than an Uber athletic tackle from the great state of Texas.
It’s no secret the Colts have a glaring hole at LT left by Castanzo. After pleading with the guys, we agreed to trade back a couple of spots to 31. We ultimately decided on Cosmi, which in my opinion, was brilliant. Cosmi isn’t the best tackle in the draft, but he’s an Uber athletic tackle who’s played a lot of football at UT. Cosmi is a durable tackle who started 35 straight games for the Longhorns, with 21 of those at LT.
After day 1 of the NFL Mock Draft, the Colts got better. They got themselves a starting tackle who’s athletic enough to play a very long time in this league.
Cosmi screams, “I’m a Ballard guy.” While Cosmi isn’t a mauler or won’t overpower anyone, he’s got perfect technique as a tackle.
Pick: Round 2, Pick 22 (54 overall)
Selection: EDGE Payton Turner, Houston
- Relative Athletic Score: 9.71
- 2020 PFF Grade: 87.7
- Destin Adams Grade: Late 2nd
Guest Contributor Tyler Nowak: For our second-round pick, I had my guy on my board, but discussing the needs with my colleagues, we had Payton Turner high up. We talked about the need to get a good pass rusher, so it was a no-brainer to select Turner. Additionally, we believe Turner is a nice scheme fit for our defense as well.
Positives: Turner is highly athletic with a RAS of 9.71 out of 10. He’s got a very high motor and plays with a solid effort. Often plays for the ball, not just the man. He uses his hands well and shows good learning ability. Very strong.
Cons: He doesn’t have the greatest burst off the line, and his closing ability is average.
Pick: Round 3, Pick 31 (94 overall, via trade)
Selection: WR Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
- Relative Athletic Score: 5.21
- 2020 PFF Grade: 86.1
- Destin Adams Grade: Late 4th
Jayson Snyder: At about this point in the exercise, that air of desperation came over me. Though the trade down in the first round was consecrated by unanimous consent, my personal preference was overshadowed by both the Cosmi and Turner selections.
I saw Tylan Wallace as a clear best player available, and I went to work on my war room comrades. It was not pretty.
I manipulated. I attempted to form alliances. At one point, I may have even outright begged a few of my colleagues who didn’t see wide receiver as a position of need.
But ultimately, I found enough support from the team to select Wallace as the Colt’s third selection. And boy, am I glad we did!
An extremely talented wideout, Wallace often wins through skilled technique at the catch point. He was a standout piece of the Oklahoma State offense, consistently drawing praise from the coaching staff for his dedicated work ethic.
Tylan Wallace will begin his pro career in competition for depth reps alongside current receivers Zach Pascal and Dezmon Patmon. However, with his high level of talent and commitment, he is on the fast track to a starting role.
Pick: Round 4, Pick 5 (110 overall, via trade)
Selection: EDGE Patrick Jones II, Pittsburgh
- Relative Athletic Score: 6.26
- 2020 PFF Grade: 76.8
- Destin Adams Grade: Early 5th
Jayson Snyder: I was still riding the high of landing Tylan Wallace in the late 3rd round when the Colts again found themselves on the clock. After a quick review of my personal board, I identified edge rusher Patrick Jones II as the best fit.
However, some in the room did not agree that a pass rusher ought to be in contention after selecting Payton Turner two rounds earlier. Those who valued raw athleticism also criticized Jones for his middling measurables in this regard.
Did I get frustrated by this difference in philosophies? I did. Did I suggest that my fellow drafters were only interested in prospects who “looked good in bicycle shorts”? Reluctantly, I must admit to that as well.
But ultimately, cooler heads prevailed, and I made a prevailing argument for Patrick Jones as a player with tremendous potential. He has the size and power to dominate blocking schemes and wreck backfields, an absolute bull of a football player. With the right development, particularly concerning his hand technique, Jones has an uncharted upside.
As a team desperate to put heat on the opposing passer, the Colts had now fortified their pass-rushing corps with young talent.
Pick: Round 4, Pick 22 (127 overall, via trade)
Selection: S Tyree Gillespie, Missouri
- Relative Athletic Score: 7.95
- 2020 PFF Grade: 64.4
- Destin Adams Grade: Late 5th
Guest Contributor Tyler Nowak: Our round 4 selection was an interesting discussion, there were other needs, but Gillespie was an interesting pick. He’s a unique prospect with nice awareness and closing ability. We really liked Gillespie’s natural skills. He’s going to need some development and some polishing, but he’s going to be special with the right coaching.
Positives: Gillespie is reasonably athletic with a decent RAS score of 7.95 out of 10. He’s very quick with a 40 yard dash time of 4.43 and nice short-distance speed. He displays nice field awareness. He’s terrific in run defense as well. He’s shown effectiveness in pass defense. When the field is smaller, that’s where he makes his best plays. He had a strong performance at the senior bowl.
Cons: He sometimes struggles with covering the length of the field in over-the-top coverage situations.
Pick: Round 5, Pick 5 (149 overall)
Selection: CB Camryn Bynum, California
- Relative Athletic Score: 9.33
- 2020 PFF Grade: 71.9
- Destin Adams Grade: N/A
Austin Isaac: A player I have particularly high hopes on at a position that still needs to be filled with at least a halfway decent player. I, personally, am relatively high on Bynum. A solid athlete, based on his RAS, he is also one of the most reliable defensive backs you will find in this draft class. A 4-year starter, Camryn Bynum started 42 consecutive games in his career at Cal. One of the few issues you could have with him is his lack of turnovers in college. Only averaging 1.5 interceptions in his 4 seasons as a starter isn’t great, but it’s also something that can be coached.
This kid is a high-potential player that would fit in perfectly with the Colts. And taking a flyer on someone of his ability with his ceiling this deep into the draft is the exact kind of low-risk, high-reward kind of thing that the Colts love to do.
Pick: Round 5, Pick 21 (165 overall)
Selection: LB Charles Snowden, Virginia
- Relative Athletic Score: N/A
- 2020 PFF Grade: 67.3
- Destin Adams Grade: Early-Mid 6th
Lucas Robins: After the Patrick Jones III BPA pick, the War Room had 2 needs remaining: SAM LB & Move TE. We had consistently focused on clear needs and scheme fits in early picks, leading to a confusing-at-first-glance-pick in Snowden.
Looking at the SAM LBs available, few stood out as a value to us at this point. However, Charles Snowden could be a potential 3-4 OLB convert to 4-3 SAM LB/DE. Snowden isn’t without risk; most notably, we raise concerns about his questionable scheme fit. He is also currently dealing with an ankle injury; while he should be healthy by training camp, it could end his 2020 season and hold him out of most pre-draft athletic testing (thus not qualifying for RAS). However, the potential reward was too tantalizing for us to ignore.
Snowden has shown the ability to drop into coverage in 3-4 schemes along with good sideline to sideline speed to cover the run. He also has strong pass-rushing chops on the Edge standing up (which could be used on blitzes from SAM). What stood out the most are Snowden’s incredible size and length at 6’6 243lb. With 34-inch arms combined his speed, size, length, and versatility with an NFL weight program to fill out his frame without sacrificing much of his speed & proper coaching could allow him to thrive as a SAM LB/DE on the Colts & improve his inside run D. He will be a bit of a project and needs to stay healthy. Still, in the 5th round, we believe he is a worthy gamble as a versatile chess piece for Eberflus.
Selection: WR/TE Jacob Harris, UCF
- Relative Athletic Score: 9.96
- 2020 PFF Grade: 60.7
- Destin Adams Grade: N/A
RAS graphic courtesy of @MathBomb, Kent Lee Platte
Lucas Robins: The final major need on the board that we identified was to move TE, leading to a question of going BPA or move TE w/ our picks. Several options were on the table for both ways, such as slot WR Demetric Felton, LB Paddy Fisher, TE Nick Eubanks, and RB Kylin Hill. However, I made the case to shoot for upside w/ Jacob Harris. Jayson was off the rails again, complaining about RAS and making everyone genuinely uncomfortable. We tried to get rid of him, but it turns out it’s hard to fire someone from a non-paying position.
Harris was a collegiate WR with a raw yet dynamic skill set who took an unorthodox journey to the draft. Harris decided to switch to American football freshman year after initially being recruited for soccer. He walked onto the Western Kentucky team then later transferred to UCF as a preferred walk-on. He played 2 years of college ball at WR, displaying freakish athleticism, speed, agility, and strong red-zone ability. However, on tape, it was clear he displays high effort but is overall raw. His routes certainly need refining and he needs to work on his hands (9 drops in 2 years), but coaches have praised his work ethic, his blocking effort, and his sheer athleticism.
Converting to TE should help a bit in terms of route running concerns, but he needs to bulk up if he wants to be used as an inline blocker at all. He could take a similar role to Ebron in 2018-2019 & Burton in 2020 as the move TE, shifting out wide or in line. However, he will have less volume than them because of his developmental status and will be the TE3 behind Doyle & Mo Alie-Cox for a bit. Harris is a bit older than other developmental prospects at 24. Still, the athletic potential is on a whole other stratosphere & will be useful on special teams coverage in the meantime. If he puts forth the effort and takes well to the Colts’ strong history of TE development, the Colts could have a monster at TE in a few years.
Pick: Round 6, Pick 22 (206 overall)
Selection: LB Paddy Fisher, Northwestern
- Relative Athletic Score: 3.36
- 2020 PFF Grade: N/A
- Destin Adams Grade: N/A
Austin Isaac: I had been advocating to draft this kid for the last 3 or so picks, and he fell and fell, and I couldn’t have been happier to finally get him. He is at the top of my board for the 6th round, based on need, fit and potential. If you look back in 2017 and even 2018, Paddy Fisher became a highly regarded prospect. But he started to hit his ceiling very early. He won First Team All-Big Ten honors in 2017 but still played well enough to end up with Second Team All-Big Ten in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, he bounced back a little in a shortened season, named First Team All-Big Ten again, and won the Big Ten LB of the Year.
Now rewards DO NOT always match up with talent. Especially talent you look for in the NFL, but Paddy Fisher still has that talent. As of right now, the Colts’ SAM and WILL linebackers are set with Bobby Okereke and Darius Leonard, respectively. But the MIKE spot is still up for grabs after losing Anthony Walker to free agency, where he signed with the Cleveland Browns. And Paddy Fisher is a perfect scheme fit to be our new MIKE. He has some issues to work on, namely his tackling. But luckily for him, in the Colts defensive scheme, he may not see the field all too often, as they like to run a lot of two-linebacker sets. And as I stated in my previous 7-Round Mock Draft, maybe seeing Paddy Fisher in shorter spurts would be better for him in the long run while he works on his inconsistencies.
Pick: Round 7, Pick 21 (248 overall)
Selection: CB Tre Brown, Oklahoma
- Relative Athletic Score: 6.34
- 2020 PFF Grade: 69.2
- Destin Adams Grade: Late 5th-Early 6th
Joshua Perez: You win some, you lose some. This 7th round didn’t go my way at all. In fact, the player I nominated to be drafted was ranked last among all of the guys!
While Brown wasn’t on my board, I see the talent. Brown was once viewed as a “lockdown” corner, but at 5’9, I wasn’t buying into the hype. I was against this pick, to say the least. Chris Ballard has some strict rules about playing corner on his team. It’s been well documented by Colts media, players, along with the staff, that you have to be 6’+ to play corner on this roster. (Kenny Moore being an exception) However, I was more interested in bringing in a guy who would play on special teams(not as a returner)
The more I looked into Brown, the more I realized these guys in the war room were absolutely correct. Brown has a lot of talent and started 3 years for the Sooners. Brown is an electric return man and could give both Rodgers and Hines a run for their money.
Brown is a unique spot where he knows he isn’t the biggest guy on the field. He’s going to be out-muscled by these players in the league. Lucky for Brown, Kenny Moore has had to deal with the same issue and would benefit from picking his brain.