Photo courtesy of Western Michigan athletics
The Indianapolis Colts have eight selections in the 2022 NFL Draft. They currently own the rights to pick Nos. 48, 80, 118, 157, 174, 215, 233, and 236.
So what should they do with those picks? Using Pro Football Focus’ Mock Draft Simulator, we can give our two cents.
Fair warning, there are several trades so, sorry in advance.
Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
Indianapolis trades the 80th pick to the Houston Texans for the 82nd pick and the 181st pick.
Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
Indianapolis trades the 118th pick to the New Orleans Saints for the 120th pick and New Orleans’ 2023 fifth-round pick.
Indianapolis trades the 120th pick and the Saints’ 2023 fifth-round pick to the Dallas Cowboys for the 126th pick, the 201st pick, and Dallas’ 2023 fourth-round pick.
Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati
Indianapolis trades the 157th pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 168th pick and Tampa Bay’s 2023 sixth-round pick.
Indianapolis trades the 168th pick to the Buccaneers for the 244th pick, 253rd pick, and Tampa Bay’s 2023 fourth-round pick.
Indianapolis trades the 174th pick and the Buccaneers’ 2023 fourth-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for the 200th pick and Arizona’s 2023 third-round pick.
Alec Lindstrom, C, Boston College
Indianapolis trades the 200th pick, 215th pick, 236th pick, and Tampa Bay’s 2023 sixth-round pick to the Detroit Lions for Detroit’s 2023 third-round pick.
Indianapolis trades the 201st pick, Dallas’ 2023 fourth-round pick, and Indianapolis’ fifth-round pick to the Texans for Houston’s 2023 second-round pick.
Danny Gray, WR, SMU
Indianapolis trades the 244th pick and 253rd pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Jacksonville’s 2023 second-round pick. No, we’re not sure how that one was agreed to either.
OK, so there’s a lot to unpack here.
Indianapolis could use help at receiver, which would come from the additions of third-round pick Skyy Moore and seventh-round pick Danny Gray.
Offensive line reinforcements come from second-round pick Daniel Faalele and sixth-round pick Alec Lindstrom.
Finally, the secondary gets some bolstering from fourth-round pick Bryan Cook.
The downside to this light draft of only five players is it does not adequately address a few other glaring holes.
Cornerback is still a position that would need to be addressed. There are some free agents that the Colts could target in this scenario, like Stephon Gilmore, Joe Haden, or Kyle Fuller.
Also, as far as safety goes, Cook is but one man. Four pieces of the Colts’ secondary either are free agents or will be free agents after 2022.
The “Carson Wentz” of it all
Another potential position of need it does not address in any way is quarterback, depending on how you feel about Carson Wentz. Wentz is about to be 30 years old and is coming off of an average season that saw him throw for more than 300 yards just twice.
According to Pro Football Reference, his similarity score shows that his career is currently the most similar to the likes of Josh Freeman, Vince Ferragamo, and Blake Bortles.
The Colts have the cap room to go after some free agents, but there are some current players who are going to potentially be getting paid at some pivotal positions. Quentin Nelson has one more year on his rookie deal and Eric Fisher is entering free agency.
But, a better win-now solution might be to trade future picks for guys on established contracts.
The upside to drafting the way the Colts did, is that they’ve given themselves 11 picks in the 2023 draft.
Of those 11 picks, six are Day 2 picks. Jacksonville and Houston’s second-round picks could very well be at the top of the round, as well as Detroit’s third-round pick.
Let’s get back to addressing the Wentz situation.
If Russell Wilson wants out of Seattle and is willing to go to Indianapolis, the Seahawks might be willing to accept a quarterback swap plus Indianapolis’ first, Jacksonville’s second, Houston’s second, and a couple Day 3 picks.
Detroit might be looking to move on from Jared Goff, in which case a quarterback swap plus one of the newly-acquired Day 2 picks might do the trick.
Lastly, Aaron Rodgers might also potentially be interested in a trade from Green Bay. A package similar to Seattle’s may be enough. The problem there is that leaves the question of Wentz’s contract, since Green Bay has Jordan Love.
Therefore, Green Bay has no need for a quarterback swap. In that case, maybe Wentz could be offloaded to a team needing a quarterback in exchange for a mid-round pick.
As mentioned before, free agency is where the Colts could turn. Historically, general manager Chris Ballard tends to like to build primarily through the draft, except in the secondary. Plenty of Colts’ secondary members have been drafted, but the split is much closer to 50-50, unlike most other positions.
Targeting someone like Gilmore in free agency would be a big boon for the defense. A safety like Budda Baker or Jordan Poyer could also help as safety Khari Willis is entering the final year of his deal.
This would be a crazy draft if it came to fruition. But a draft like this would be hard to be seen as a failure for the Colts if those picks are leveraged into necessary moves. The “if” is an important word there.
The Colts have so many solid pieces — too many to be going 9-8 in a division that houses the teams with the first and third overall draft picks. With these draft choices and future assets, the Colts could be set up for the future.
They just have to execute.