What was an otherwise fortuitous campaign all came to a tumultuous end on Sunday for Frank Reich’s Indianapolis Colts. An organization on the brink of its third playoff appearance in the last four years, it all went wrong in a 26-11 loss at the hands of the then 2-14 Jacksonville Jaguars. MVP candidate Jonathan Taylor was held to just 77 yards on the ground—his lowest total since Week 8—and with an obvious lack of punch in the run, the Colts were forced to turn to their aerial ‘attack’, captained by Carson Wentz. A signal-caller who was looked upon as that potential final piece to Reich’s intricate jigsaw after acquiring him from Philadelphia in the offseason, entering Week 18, Wentz was by no means great looking back to his prior 15 starts, but he wasn’t the turnover-prone quarterback we’ve come to know so well dating back to his days as an Eagle. Ah, then Sunday arrived, and Wentz, well, ‘Wentz’d.’ His collapse in Jacksonville showcased the full experience on the roller coaster that is an offense led by Wentz. An interception, a fumble, one absurd sack followed the other, failure to read the defense, lazy mechanics… the works. While the playoffs looked to be a simple victory away for the Colts, it ushered back reality and a look into just how difficult it is to win, and win consistently, on any given Sunday. With that being said, it’s now on to the offseason for Reich, where he and general manager Chris Ballard, will look to reconfigure their roster to place it in the best position come next fall to compete for a division crown. With holes aplenty and questions surrounding Wentz’s future under center, using our Mock Draft Machine, I looked at which prospects Ballard could target this April when the NFL draft rolls around. Here is my seven-round mock, including scheme fit, on each prospect:
Round 2 (No. 47 overall): David Bell, WR, PurdueThe Colts’ wide receivers room has been a mish-mosh of bodies over the last couple of seasons. While they have tried to make it work with T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell, both have overextended their stay and it’s time to move on from the past and add bodies primed to not just suit up, but compete and produce to lift the onus on Taylor to run for 150+ yards and multiple scores each and every week. With Hilton and Zach Pascal set to enter free agency, the addition of Bell opposite Michael Pittman Jr could revitalize the Colts’ passing game and present a versatile perimeter threat that has severely lacked in Indianapolis with minimal production over the last few seasons from both Hilton and Campbell. A pass-catcher that will thrive within all three levels of the defense, Bell’s rise to one of the top wideout prospects has been a joy on film to watch this fall. A talent that will have the ability to immediately come in and slot out at ‘X’, Bell has the ability to win on manufactured touches within the quick game on slants, screens, or crossers, while also touting the necessary vertical speed and ball skills to snatch passes out of the air 40 yards downfield. With such limited talent currently set to suit up when OTAs get underway in the coming months, Ballard should make it a priority to add pop in the passing game to both keep the tread fresh on Taylor’s tires and further assist his substandard quarterback.
Round 3 (No. 82 overall): Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, South CarolinaWith similar measurables to that of Kwity Paye out of Michigan last year, he and Enagbare would present an awfully impressive bookend tandem to further boost the Colts’ front seven. While Paye impressed throughout the season beyond his 4.0 sacks on the box score, adding an athlete like Enagbare, whose best football is three to four years down the road, opens up one-on-one matchups for Paye, DeForest Buckner, and taking a step back, creases for Darius Leonard to fill and attack downhill to truly present an elite front for Reich. A long and powerfully-built athlete whose success in the SEC has seen his draft stock rise over the last few months, Enagbare’s fundamental traits as a pass rusher should see him enjoy immediate success on Sundays.
Round 4 (No. 119 overall): Josh Jobe, CB, AlabamaA long and physical corner who will make his money as a boundary press defender, Jobe working within Matt Eberflus’ defensive scheme—if he stays—could be a match made in heaven. While the Colts have opted to cling onto what’s left of Xavier Rhodes (UFA), deploying Rock Ya-Sin opposite, Jobe, whether his initial role comes as a subpackage corner on passing downs or as a three-down starting outside corner, he has the skill set necessary to develop into a nice addition here on the beginning of Day 3.
Round 5 (No. 157 overall): Zion Nelson, OT, MiamiDespite concerns surrounding Nelson’s rawness as a prospect, while it may be best for him to return to school for another year, Nelson’s athletic ability and impressive frame available here in the fifth round would be a high-value add with Eric Fisher aging and set to enter the open market. He’s a project, but if all comes to fruition, he could progress into a solid starter in due time.
Round 5 (No. 178 overall): Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa StateIf Wentz remains the starter, and he should, for now, the Colts need to add a pure TE1. The duo of Jack Doyle and hardwood standout turned in-line threat Mo Alie-Cox (UFA) has been OK at best, but looking back to the success that Wentz enjoyed in Philadelphia with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert at his disposal, Ballard should make it a priority to add a high-ceiling prospect like Kolar who could further boost the Colts’ aerial arsenal. A physical, sure-handed talent who’s shown the ability to do it all at the tight end spot, Kolar could become the TE1 of the class five years down the road.
Round 6 (No. 215 overall): Ben Brown, IOL, Ole MissA position-versatile prospect who’s moved inside/out during his days in Lane Kiffin’s offense, Brown is a vertical mover with a sturdy anchor in the pass game that’s sufficient enough to see him start at RG if Mark Glowinski tests the free-agent waters. He has limitations as an athlete that showed during his days out at tackle, but as an interior presence, Brown, at the worst, is a nice depth piece here in the sixth round.
Round 7 (No. 235 overall): Dante Stills, IDL, West VirginiaAn athletic 3-tech who also showed pop outside as a 5-tech at times for the Mountaineer front, some added sand in the pants could see Stills immediately start along the front four of Indianapolis’ beefed-up defensive line. With heavy hands and a powerful lower half that has the necessary ability to turn and remain balanced when faced with double teams, Stills is a gap-plugger with some juice as a pass rusher as well.
Round 7 (No. 236 overall): Velus Jones Jr., WR, TennesseeWith patience running thin with the aforementioned Campbell, Jones, despite turning 25 years old before his rookie campaign, will provide tons of juice on offense and special teams. Electric with the ball in his hands, he could serve a featured role in the quick game and as a flip-the-field specialist as a punt returner from day one. More than just a gadget speed threat, however, Jones is a YAC specialist whose game will continue to improve if granted the opportunity to run the full route tree.
- Sep 24, 2023
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