The Colts had one glaring need on the offensive side of the ball, wide-out. With the 34th overall selection, Michael Pittman Jr. is the newest addition to the Colts locker room. He is a big bodied, physical, jump ball receiver. Pittman is not a blazer but he is fast enough. He gives Philip Rivers a different flavor on the outside, as we do not have a contested catch guy on the depth chart. Pittman is the new Vincent Jackson for Philip Rivers. With losing red zone target Eric Ebron in free agency, Pittman will need to step up in order to fill his shoes. While there were several top talents still on the board, it is hard to knock Chris Ballard for drafting a play maker who can make an impact on day 1.
Draft Grade: B+
Check out my full seven round draft preview here.
Trading Up For a Running Back
When I saw the Colts trade up I got a little excited. Ballard tends to trade down in the early rounds, so I was pumped to get another difference maker at a position of need. When I heard Jonathan Taylor’s name called I was shocked. Coach Frank Reich is a big analytics guy; all of the data points to running backs being luxury picks. Don’t get me wrong, Taylor is a really strong back. Arguably the best in the class barring his mileage issues. I do not want to sound like I am bashing the player. I just keep asking why? We have a group of three guys who, in my opinion, can get the job done.
I see three possible lines of reasoning. The first, and most likely, with Marlon Mack’s contract up next year, Ballard does not want to pay him. Which is smart, maybe too smart. The front office is looking to be sustainable, I just wanted something to help “win now” with both of our quarterbacks on one year deals. The Colts decided to pay Deforest Buckner and draft Taylor, as opposed to drafting Javon Kinlaw and paying Mack. When looking at it through this vacuum I am not as against it.
The second line of reasoning I see when drafting Taylor is Reich wants to play smash mouth football. Using Mack and Taylor fifteen plus times a game each, behind a dominant offensive line is scary. This will go a long way in saving Rivers’ arm.
The last reason I can think of is that Ballard and company truly believe this roster is better than what everyone else thinks. They do not see the same holes as everyone else and use this opportunity to take a luxury pick.
Draft grade: C+
Chris Ballard Deserves Our Trust
Ballard has made his fair share of questionable picks, and all have turned out so far. We need to trust the binder and let it all play out. Ballard has earned that much.