Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard and head coach Frank Reich pulled through in a big way in the 2020 NFL Draft. Immediately after the draft, admittedly, I was underwhelmed. I felt we had a really solid draft, and that’s keeping in mind drafting a running back in the second round. After taking time to reflect and gathering different perspectives, I am satisfied with the draft class. The roster improved and got younger. But I think it had the potential to be better. Keep reading to see my Colts draft grade.
Deforest Buckner at 13th Overall
The Colts essentially selected defensive tackle Deforest Buckner with the 13th overall selection back in March. With this straight up trade, the Colts extract an integral part of the best defensive line in football, and add it to their own. The 26-year-old defensive tackle is in the prime of his career and is ready to take the Colts defensive line to the next level.
Adding to Philip Rivers’ Arsenal
R2P34-Michael Pittman Jr.-USC
The Colts tried to get their big bodied receiver last year in the Devin Funchess experiment. Through no fault of his own, injuries deemed the experiment a failure. Once the front office saw the Bengals take Tee Higgins one spot before the 34th selection, they knew it was time to take their guy. Michael Pittman Jr offers the ability to go up and dominate in the air, something the Colts do not have. The Colts picked the right year to need receiver help and the top of the second round provided great value for Pittman.
Some people love this pick, and others hate it. I fall somewhere in between. Is Jonathan Taylor an outstanding back with potential to take the running game to the next level? Yes. Are running backs overvalued and usually replaceable? Yes. I find myself imagining a combo of Marlon Mack and Taylor behind such a dominant offensive and I get excited. However, in the back of my mind, I know there was better value on the board. It is important to keep in mind that Mack is going into a contract year; and I would much rather reach a little for a running back in the draft than pay one market value. This is what saves the Colts draft grade. This forward thinking mentality proves sustainability is important to this front office.
Check out my initial round 2 reaction here
The Colts used their third round selection on Utah cornerback turned safety Julian Blackmon. The versatility that Blackmon possesses is immense; he has the ability to play either traditional safety role, in the slot and even on the outside. Although an ACL injury will hold Blackmon out until September, he has one trait that will speed up his transition to the NFL. His tackling is possibly his greatest strength. It is much easier to learn how to play in a 2-high safety scheme than it is to learn how to tackle. Blackmon only has one year at safety so it will be interesting to see where defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus deploys the Swiss army knife when healthy.
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The Steal of the Draft
During the start of draft season, the Colts were being linked with Eason as high as number 13 overall. Picking him up in the fourth round is crazy value. Yes, he is a boom or bust prospect. But, the mid rounds are sweet spots for these kinds of talents. I would argue the gap between Eason, Justin Herbert, and Jordan Love is much smaller than you think. All three are project quarterbacks who have the physical tools but lack the mental side of the game. Indianapolis is the perfect landing spot for Eason; a top tier O-line accompanied by a former QB as his head coach in Frank Reich. If you are a young gunslinger quarterback I am not sure there is anyone better to sit and learn from than Philip Rivers. While there have been questions raised on his football character, one of Chris Ballard’s top characteristics is work ethic. Therefore I trust that Ballard and company believe in the kids’ future.
R5P149-Danny Pinter-Ball State
The Colts were expected to pick up an offensive line piece somewhere in the draft, and they did not have to look far to find it. Danny Pinter played his college ball just 60 miles down the road from Lucas Oil Stadium at Ball State University. The former Right Tackle is projected to kick inside at the NFL level. Having come to Ball State as a Tight End speaks to his athleticism. It is extremely valuable for your sixth offensive lineman to be adept at multiple spots on the line in order to provide cover all over. Not only will he provide much needed depth, but he will challenge right guard Mark Glowinski for a starting spot.
Round 6 Depth
R6P193-Robert Windsor-Penn State
Robert Windsor profiles very similarly to Deforest Buckner, a long lanky interior pass rusher. Windsor will provide competition in a crowded Defensive Tackle room; if he wants to make the roster he will likely have to beat out former second round pick Tyquan Lewis. A sixth round selection on a high motor player in the trenches will not come back to bite you.
Isaiah Rodgers is a small school standout from UMASS. Just like his school, Rodgers is undersized himself. Even so, he has shown he has the ball skills to be a play maker in the secondary. Additionally, Rodgers has shown promise as a kick returner due to his athleticism. Rodgers projects to be almost exclusively a sub package corner, which is still an important piece to an elite defense. Likely a developmental piece, look for Rodgers to spend some time on the practice squad.
R6P212- Dezmon Patmon-Washington State
Tall, big-bodied receivers appear to be the theme of this draft. Just like second round pick Michael Pittman Jr., Dezmon Patmon is 6″ 4′ and 200 plus pounds. Patmon does possess a good amount of athleticism but will need to improve his route running and separation to compete at the next level.
To cap off an eventful Colts day three they selected Jordan Glasgow. Having played linebacker at Michigan, he translates more to an in the box safety in the NFL. Glasgow does not possess the athleticism preferred to play in the secondary. However, he has proven to be a stud special teamer, which is a wonderful thing to have. This added dimension of his game will give the Michigan alumni a leg up when final cuts come.
Colts Draft Grade
My final Colts draft grade is a… B+. I do believe this is an above average draft class. In fact, it has the potential to be amazing. If Jacob Eason turns into a franchise quarterback, this becomes the best draft class of the year. There is a strong possibility that Ballard just selected the core of the Colts skill players for the next ten years. Without any glaring needs left on the table, a B+ is a solid Colts draft grade for 2020.