INDIANAPOLIS – Yes, it is that time.
Following the peer pressure of every other NFL writer this time of year, it is time to expose myself to the mock draft criticism.
We will hope for another mock projection hit like Michael Pittman at No. 34 in 2020, but that’s highly unlikely.
Nevertheless, this Colts Mock Draft for 2022 follows a heavy offensive script with immediate impact desperately needed from the pass catchers.
Without further ado, here is my Colts Mock Draft for 2022:
Round 2-42: WR-Skyy Moore (Western Michigan)
-It’s rare to find a player with elite speed that also has a strength of his hands. But that’s the case with Moore. Now, at 5-9 and 195 pounds, Moore has to make up for his smaller frame somewhere, and he does it in these two areas. You watch Moore play and you see a guy who plays bigger than his frame, and one that entered college on the defensive side of the ball (cornerback). The Colts are hoping to inject some post-catch ability into the wide receiver position and Moore can offer that. With some polishing, Moore should be able to be an effective slot receiver at the NFL level, which is what the Colts should be looking for alongside Michael Pittman.
Round 3-73: TE-Jeremy Ruckert (Ohio State)
-The loss of Jack Doyle is something that can’t be overlooked. For a second straight season, I’ve got the Colts spending a top-four round pick at tight end. This time around, they get a player who is more of a versatile tight end piece, compared to the main receiving weapon in Kylen Granson. I went back and forth on the move here, but I went with the “not as flashy” Ruckert compared to some of the other TEs on the board (with the mock draft simulator also limiting some things). Ruckert isn’t going to ‘wow’ you with his playmaking ability in the passing game. But if you can get a Doyle-like player for the next decade, you’ll take it. Known for his sure hands and unselfish nature, Ruckert seems to check the Colts character box. This might not be the “trait-sy” profile the Colts are gunning for this draft, but Ruckert would make you sleep well at night and help complement what you have in Mo Alie-Cox and Kylen Granson.
Round 4-122: OT-Braxton Jones (Southern Utah)
-When you are drafting an offensive tackle in this range, you are looking for a high-level of athleticism where your coaching staff can fine tune technique. Jones, who is a bit on the older side at 23, has 29 career starts at left tackle. There are deserved questions about competition playing at the FCS-level. Still though, you have a 6-6 frame that you want to work with, some left tackle experience and a player that appears to have the right mindset for playing in the trenches in the NFL. The hope here is you have a nice swing tackle, with the potential to be a starter down the road.
Round 5-159: CB-Jaylen Watson (Washington State)
-The signing of Stephon Gilmore (32 years old) does little to me on the draft importance of the cornerback position. Yes, offense needs the heavier focus this draft, but corner is still a position to monitor. In Watson, the Colts are getting a 6-2 corner, who runs well to go with his long wingspan. Watson went to Ventura Junior College before ending up at Washington State. With just 15 games of FBS experience, Watson is going to bring some rawness to the NFL level, but welcome to Day 3 of the draft. If Gus Bradley is serious about playing a little bit more press, hence the signing of Gilmore, than Watson is a guy who can be molded that type of player.
Round 5-179: WR-Kevin Austin (Notre Dame)
-In selecting a Day 3 wide receiver, you are looking for some untapped potential. And that is probably how Notre Dame fans feel with Austin leaving South Bend. Injuries and suspension limited Austin to just one full season of starting (48 catches for 888 yards and 7 touchdowns this past season). At 6-2 and 200 pounds, Austin carries a nice frame and shows top-flight speed at 4.43 in the 40-yard dash. That’s a lot to work with for Reggie Wayne. Austin hauled in several deep balls in 1-on-1 moments this past year, although he does lack a bit in utilizing his frame to make plays after the catch.
Round 6-217: S-Smoke Monday (Auburn)
-I mean, just choose the guy on his name only. Smoke Monday finished his 4 years in the SEC with 17.0 tackles for loss, 6.0 sacks and 13 passes defensed. He also returned 3 interceptions for a touchdown. Known for his energy and special teams ability, Monday carries with him characteristics that one should look for in a back end of the roster defensive back. Monday did have some issues with penalties, and being the quarterback of the secondary wasn’t something he’s known for at Auburn. But you see some George Odum in his college history. Plus, the Colts could use another younger safety.
Round 7-240: DE-Carson Wells (Colorado)
-While, I view offensive guard as a position that could certainly use a draft pick, let’s go to a position of higher importance in today’s NFL. Wells is a bit undersized at 6-2 and 241 pounds, but it is a frame similar to Yannick Ngakoue, who has constantly found a home with Gus Bradley. Wells makes up for it with quickness off the edge. He put up 15.5 sacks and 14 passes defensed in his 34 games starting in the Pac-12. Wells also had an impressive 29.0 tackles for loss in his final two seasons (18 games) at Colorado. Throw a dart at a pass rusher to end this 7-pick draft. Remember, Ngakoue is in a contract year.