December marks the beginning of NFL Draft season for many teams around the league. In addition, media outlets and scouts are currently scouring tape on the upcoming class. In today’s mock draft, the Indianapolis Colts stack the roster around rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson.
Mock Draft: Colts Use Picks To Bulk Up Defense; Plus Multiple Weapons For Anthony Richardson
The Colts are no strangers to the NFL Draft and the good fortunes that come from it. The 2023 roster is largely compiled of draft picks made by the Chris Ballard regime. That includes homegrown stars like Michael Pittman Jr., Jonathan Taylor, and Quenton Nelson, amongst others.
The team’s most recent first-round pick has essentially missed his entire rookie campaign. However, the belief in Anthony Richardson from within the organization hasn’t wavered. Fans caught a glimpse of what the offense could look like with Richardson at the helm — but the Colts should continue adding pieces to an already stout roster.
At 8-6, Indy can qualify for the postseason either via wildcard or as the winner of the AFC South. Right now, they are tied with the Jaguars and Texans atop the division, with an all-important Week 18 showdown vs. Houston remaining on the schedule.
Regardless of how the Colts finish the season, the keys to the car will be returned to Richardson when he’s cleared this Spring. In order to make the most of the uber-talented signal-caller, Ballard and Co. must fill a few gaps on the depth chart and bring in quality players on both sides of the ball.
For this mock draft, the current 2024 NFL Draft order on Tankathon will be used. The Colts sit at No. 22 overall in the first round and own all seven of their selections. Without further ado, let’s get the 7-round mock draft underway!
A Trade Alters The Course Of The Latest Colts Mock Draft
•No. 22 Overall (2024)
•No. 30 Overall (2024)
•No. 62 Overall (2024)
Round 1, No. 30 (via PHI) — Graham Barton, OL, Duke
Hear me out Colts fans: The offensive line would benefit greatly from the addition of Graham Barton. A Duke standout, Barton has experience at both left tackle and center with the Blue Devils. He is a rare lineman who can legitimately play all five positions up front.
With Indy, Barton can slot in as an immediate starter at guard. Or, if the Colts move on from Ryan Kelly or Braden Smith, the gifted blocker can step in at center or right tackle. Simply put, Barton is a chess piece for Shane Steichen in the trenches.
Currently the No. 21 player on my Big Board, there is a chance Barton is not within reach, especially if Ballard opts to trade down. However, the Duke alum fell right in the front office’s lap. His polish, athleticism, and strength make Barton a plug-and-play option in Year 1.
Fans will want a wide receiver or high-end defender if the Colts stand pat at No. 22, but the cards fell differently in this mock draft. Four wideouts were already off the board, along with tight end Brock Bowers. Ballard did what he does best and netted Indy an extra pick on Day 2 in a trade-down while still acquiring an instant starter.
Colts Target Elite Athletes On Day 2 Of Mock Draft
Round 2, No. 56 — Chris Braswell, EDGE, Alabama
A 6-foot-3, 255-pound juiced-up pass rusher out of Alabama? Sounds like the ideal target for the Colts on Day 2. Chris Braswell was stuck behind Will Anderson Jr. and Dallas Turner in 2022 before getting the reins as a starter in the vaunted Crimson Tide defense.
In 12 full games in 2023, Braswell has broken out in a major way. His 13 sacks puts him three ahead of Turner and highlights just how disruptive the veteran pass rusher has been in his final season on campus.
Braswell boasts a quick first step, remarkable athleticism in space, and a repertoire of pass-rushing moves that grows with each game. Indianapolis should scoop him up and add him to the ascending talents of Dayo Odeyingbo and Kwity Paye.
Round 2, No. 62 (via PHI) — Malachi Corley, WR, Western Kentucky
Michael Pittman Jr. deserves a lengthy contract extension, and Josh Downs profiles as a long-time starter in Indianapolis. However, with the inconsistency of Alec Pierce and the lack of quality options elsewhere on the depth chart — it’s time to add another pass catcher for Anthony Richardson.
Malachi Corley, a yards after the catch specialist from Western Kentucky, is the choice at No. 62 overall in this mock draft. In Steichen’s scheme, Corley can thrive from the slot and out wide, using his tackle-breaking prowess and deceptive straight-line speed to terrorize defenses on Sundays.
Byron Murphy II Figures To Be A Riser In The NFL Draft Community
Round 3, No. 87 — Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas
Grover Stewart should receive a hefty new deal in the offseason, especially knowing how awful the Colts’ run defense looked in Stewart’s absence. Byron Murphy II projects to be a starter at the next level thanks to a dominant blend of power and strength.
Murphy II isn’t as big as Stewart. But the Longhorn product is capable of lining up at nose tackle when called upon while also flexing the versatility to play DeForest Buckner’s slot on the defensive line.
In short, Murphy II can kill multiple birds with one stone. Insurance behind Stewart and Buckner, who will both be 30+ next season, plus an eventual starter down the road.
Round 4, No. 122 — James Williams, LB/SAF, Miami
James Williams is a unicorn when it comes to his 6-foot-5, 215-pound frame at safety. His length helped disrupt passing lanes and corral ball carriers with The U. There are some directional issues with the Hurricane alum, as he’s not always the most fluid mover.
Still, at the beginning of Day 3, Williams’ traits are worth betting on. He could even put on some weight and log snaps at linebacker, bringing unprecedented versatility to the Indy unit. Williams is the classic home run swing from Ballard in the later rounds.
Indy Should Ease Size Restraints To Land A Crafty Pass Catcher On Day 3
Round 5, No. 158 — Malik Washington, WR, Virginia
As was touched on earlier in the mock draft, the Colts can’t have too many weapons for Anthony Richardson. From health concerns to a lack of proven options, the pass-catching corps in Indianapolis needs a productive, reliable receiver like Malik Washington.
In his lone season with the Cavaliers, Washington set school records along with NCAA-leading numbers. His 110 receptions are the most in Virginia history, as is the 1,426 receiving yards he accumulated (via ESPN). That reception total was good enough to pace the entire country, also setting an ACC record in the process.
Now, it would require some concessions on the part of Ballard and the scouting department. Washington is a mere 5-foot-8 with a slim frame, a body type the Colts typically shy away from. However, last year with Josh Downs, Indy was willing to adapt. Hopefully, the same will occur with Washington.
Chris Ballard Searches For Gold In Final Two Selections Of Colts Mock Draft
Round 6, No. 199 — Tyrice Knight, LB, UTEP
The Colts found breakout star Zaire Franklin back on Day 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft. With the loss of Shaquille Leonard, the regime will look to strike gold again. Tyrice Knight fits the profile of the type of linebacker that Indy tends to target.
He’s a team leader, stands at 6-foot-2, weighs around 230 pounds, and brings the thunder as a tackler. Knight excels as a run defender; he prides himself in getting downhill and shutting down running lanes single-handedly. He’s a work-in-progress in coverage but a worthwhile selection at No. 199 overall.
Round 7, No. 240 — Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri
The last up for the Colts in this mock draft is a competitive cornerback out of Missouri. Ennis Rakestraw Jr. will have a chance to improve his draft stock at the Senior Bowl, but he currently grades out as a Day 3 player on the consensus Big Board (via Mock Draft Database).
After taking Jaylon Jones in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft, Ballard does it again with Rakestraw Jr. A core of Jones, JuJu Brents, and Kenny Moore II only gets better with the addition of the Tiger star. He has solid speed, a fiery demeanor, and wouldn’t be rushed into starting reps too early.
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