Post 521 – NFL Draft Needs: Indianapolis Colts

The Colts finished 7-9 after expected to contend, they could not recover from Andrew Luck’s unexpected retirement. They signed Philip Rivers and traded their first pick, the thirteenth, for DeForest Buckner to upgrade their defensive line. They have the potential to bounce back to the playoffs, which they made in 2018. There are  several pieces short, especially receivers and pass rushers. 

The Colts have seven picks in the draft: no first, two seconds, third, fourth, fifth, two sixths, and no sevenths. The Colts traded their first to San Francisco for DeForest Buckner and their extra second came from Washington for last year’s draft deal for the Redskins trading up to select Montez Sweat. 

I list the needs below, including major, for depth, and areas they are unlikely to look at. I may add categories for a particular situation. 

Major Needs (No Particular Order): 

Quarterback: The Colts made news by signing Philip Rivers after the Chargers let him go. He can be a big help, but he is 38 and they need their quarterback for the future. After Andrew Luck retired, Jacoby Brissett stepped in, whose play tailed off. Chad Kelly is the third quarterback. They look to be in good shape, but Rivers signed a one-year deal and Brissett’s contract expires after this year. There is a need to groom a future starter and he may come at any point in the draft. 

Running Back: Marlon Mack rushed for 1,091 yards in twelve starts and his contract expires next year – another big year will net a big payday for him. Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins are the main reserves, with Wilkins averaging 5.8 yards-per-carry in his two years. The Colts have also signed Roosevelt Nix from the Steelers to play fullback.  Bruce Anderson and Darius Jackson are on the roster, while Jonathan Williams is unsigned. The Colts may choose a running back for depth and in case Mack leaves. 

Wide Receiver: TY Hilton highlights this group and has been a top receiver for several years, but he needs help. Also starting is Zach Pascal with second-round pick Parris Campbell receiving reps before getting injured. Others on the roster include Daurice Fountain and Chad Williams. Devin Funchess left in free agency, while Chester Rogers and Marcus Johnson are unsigned. Drafting a couple of wide receivers makes sense, matching a big need with the deepest position in the draft. 

Tight End: This is a position that needs a receiving threat with Eric Ebron leaving for Pittsburgh in free agency for Pittsburgh. Jack Doyle is a very good blocker who can catch some balls and was a co-starter. Mo-Alie Cox can block and play in two-tight end situations. Others on the roster include Billy Brown. A receiving tight end may be chosen in the second or third round. 

Defensive Line: The trade for tackle DeForest Buckner improves this unit. He will have Denico Autry next to him with a rotation of last year’s starter, Grover Stewart, and Tyquan Lewis. In addition, Sheldon Day was signed from the 49ers for depth. Justin Houston leads the ends with 11 sacks and Barringer alum Temoko Turay returns from injury to start on the other side. Don Bosco alum Al-Quaddin Muhammad and second-round pick Ben Banogu will rotate at the ends. End Jabaal Sheard is currently unsigned. More pass rush is needed plus Houston, Autry, and Stewart are each in the last year of their contract.   

Cornerback: Kenny Moore is a good slot corner and Xavier Rhodes comes from Minnesota in free agency, but he had a subpar year and needs to bounce back. Second-round choice Rock Ya-Sin will play as a third cornerback and TJ Carrie is another free agent signing. Marvell Tell enters his second season and Quincy Wilson also supplies depth. Pierre Desir, who started last year, was surprisingly released and signed with the Jets, while Briean Boddy-Calhoun is unsigned. There is a need for another corner who can upgrade the unit. 


Offensive Line: This is one of the best lines in football, led by All-Pro Quenton Nelson at guard. Nelson plays the left side and Mark Glowinski is the right guard, while Ryan Kelly is between them at center. The tackles are Anthony Castonzo on the left and Braden Smith on the right. Le’Raven Clark is the main backup at tackle and Jake Eldnekramp backs up the guards. Also on the roster are tackle Chaz Green, Andrew Donnal, Cedrick Lang, Javon Patterson, Travis Vornkahl, and Brandon Hitner. Josh Andrews and Joe Haeg left in free agency. Castonzo had thoughts of retiring after least year, but decided to return; yet left tackle needs to be addressed in case he retires in the next year or two. Depth is also needed and Kelly can become a free agent next year.   

Linebacker: Darius Leonard has been outstanding his first two years and Anthony Walker has played very well in the middle. Third-round pick Bobby Okereke was a rookie find on the outside. The main backups outside are Matthew Adams and EJ Speed, while Okereke can slide inside. Skai Moore, Zaire Franklin, and Gerri Green are also on the roster. The starters are becoming a very good unit, but depth is needed. 

Safety: The Colts appear to be in solid shape with Malik Hooker at free safety and fourth-round pick Khari Willis played well enough in nine starts. Rolan Milligan and George Odum are current backups, while Clayton Geathers, Kai Nacua, and Isaiah Johnson are unsigned. A safety could be picked for depth purposes.  

*Information from various sources, including Pro-Football Reference, Sportac, and ESPN.  

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