INDIANAPOLIS – To some, it’s a position they want to see no part of come NFL Draft time.
For those in the ‘win now’ camp for the 2022 Colts, a selection of a quarterback would be the last thing fans wants to see.
Of course, for me, when you don’t have the long-term answer at the most important position in sports, and the current answer is 37 years old, that position should never be completely off the board.
Having said that, it’s time for our annual positional mock draft.
This is a draft assigning the most important positions of present need to the Colts, with their draft picks listed below.
So, we will leave quarterback off the Colts board.
Here is our positional mock draft for 2022:
Round 2-42: Wide Receiver
-Without question, wide receiver is a massive need for the Colts entering the 2022 NFL Draft. While, the Colts have some hope that a young wideout or two will emerge for Indy this year, a bit of wishful thinking is involved in that belief. Ideally, the Colts would find an instant impact, game-breaking wideout with the ability to stress a defense via speed and quickness. That would complement Michael Pittman well and provide this offense with more big play opportunities than it created last year. Again, the Colts will really, really need Day 1 contributions from this selection.
Round 3-73: Left Tackle
-Some will say this isn’t ‘win now.’ But I would push back a bit on that. On an annual basis, a team will rely on backup offensive linemen to start 15-20 games in a single season. It’s anyone’s guess as to who the Colts’ 6th offensive lineman is on April 14th. If, and it’s a big if, you could find a Day 1 starting left tackle in the draft, that could push Matt Pryor back to a more natural right guard spot, and move Danny Pinter into that 6th lineman role. Yes, this pick/need is probably a bit more long-term. But we know how attrition can be in the offensive trenches, so needing this player in 2022 is a little bit different than drafting a QB to play behind the durable Matt Ryan.
Round 4-122: Tight End
-I could hear people make the argument that tight end should be higher on this list. Jack Doyle is in retirement. From a reliability and consistency standpoint, Doyle defined those characteristics and also could help out in the run and/or pass game. Mo Alie-Cox will see his playing time increase, but Kylen Granson is known more for his receiving ability than his in-line blocking. Tight end is a definite need entering the draft. It sounds like the depth of this TE class in 2022 is pretty strong. We’ve seen several teams find mid-round hits at tight end over the years. It’s time for the Colts to dip again in this range (Granson was a 4th round pick in 2021).
Round 5-159: Cornerback
-No position has lost more playing time in the offseason than cornerback. Rock Ya-Sin departed in the trade for Yannick Ngakoue. Xavier Rhodes and T.J. Carrie are free agents as their careers near an end. So, playing time is there to be had at cornerback. Drafting one, with a longer frame to hold up as an outside corner should be the route to pursue. Outside of Kenny Moore, the Colts have just 20 total starts at cornerback on the roster (Brandon Facyson-13, Will Redmond-5, Isaiah Rodgers-1, Marvell Tell-1). That’s a lot of unproven guys in line to compete for serious playing time. Even the signing of Stephon Gilmore, who turns 32 in July, isn’t changing my thinking on where the need is positioned.
Round 5-179: Wide Receiver
-Yep, the need is that pressing at wide receiver. While a speedy, big-play wideout should be a key, a strong and reliable possession type option would come in handy, too. With how the NFL game has evolved, draft classes should have more and more wide receiver depth. It’s important for the Colts to tap into that with a second pick at wideout. Reggie Wayne needs some more identified pass catchers in his room to try and grow and develop.
Round 6-216: Safety
-The Colts have been active at safety in free agency. But I still think it would be wise to seek out another safety. Rodney McLeod, who turns 32 in June, is not a long-term safety. And Khari Willis and Julian Blackmon have battled through various degrees of injury. If you could hit on a Day 3 pick at safety that can help out on special teams and be a George Odum-type, that can help when the roster turns over in the coming years.
Round 7-239: Offensive Guard
-I thought about defensive end here, but I’ll go with the potential to find a 7th or 8th offensive lineman. If Matt Pryor is the starting left tackle and then Danny Pinter is starting right guard, you have wide open depth jobs in the offensive trenches. You could use another Pinter-type in the interior. Will Fries was a 7th pick last year, so toss this selection into depth mix, too.