INDIANAPOLIS – The San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles sent shockwaves across the NFL landscape last week with trades that shook up the April draft, but probably didn’t resonate locally.
The Indianapolis Colts sit at No. 21 and their options to address needs at left tackle, edge pass rusher and tight end shouldn’t be impacted by the dramatic movement above them.
Teams continue to jockey for position in the latest Hunt for a Franchise Quarterback. For the first time in history, QBs could be the first four overall selections and five might come off the board within the top-8 picks.
San Francisco’s pursuit for someone better than Jimmy Garoppolo saw the 49ers move up from the 12th overall slot to No. 3 with the intention of taking whichever QB is left after Jacksonville finally gets their guy (Trevor Lawrence) and the New York Jets opt for the second-best option (probably Zach Wilson).
The cost to move up nine spots was exorbitant: the 49ers gave up two future first-round picks and a 2021 third-rounder.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, were forced to take another approach. The Eagles held the 6th overall pick but reportedly wanted to move up high enough to have a shot at Wilson. Unable to do that, they traded back with Miami to No. 12. Along with flipping first-rounders, Philly received a 2022 first-rounder from Miami and a 2021 fourth-rounder.
Again, the shuffling at the top isn’t likely to trickle down and affect the Colts.
Also, general manager Chris Ballard’s quiet offseason in free agency has only addressed short-term issues at receiver (T.Y. Hilton) and cornerback (Xavier Rhodes). The additions of offensive tackles Sam Tevi and Julién Davenport should be viewed as reinforcing depth and not replacing Anthony Castonzo.
With the draft a month away – April 29-May 1 in Cleveland – here’s a look at how various mock drafts project general manager Chris Ballard investing his first-round pick. The Colts have six overall selections: 21st (round 1), 54th (round 2), 127th (round 4), 165th (round 5), 206th (round 6) and 248th (round 7). The Colts’ send their third-rounder to the Eagles as part of the Carson Wentz trade.
How some see it:
TODD McSHAY, ESPN
- Player: DE Gregory Rousseau, Miami
- Comment: Christian Darrisaw might be an option if still available, filling in Anthony Castonzo’s spot at left tackle, or the Colts might take a long look at Trevon Moehrig (TCU) at safety. But it’s hard to ignore the need for pass-rush depth, especially as Indy deals with the free-agency concerns on the edge. Rousseau hasn’t played since 2019, but he had 15.5 sacks in that season and can overwhelm blockers with his power.
MEL KIPER JR., ESPN
- Player: DE Gregory Rousseau, Miami
- Comment: Under general manager Chris Ballard, the Colts never go all out in free agency, focusing instead on low-cost, short-term deals. And even though they could still bring back veteran edge rusher Justin Houston, this could be a spot to take a young defender. Rousseau had 15.5 sacks in 2019 and then opted out of this past season. He has an up-and-down evaluation, but you can’t deny his production and size (6-7, 250 pounds). He has a high ceiling. Indianapolis also has a hole at left tackle after Anthony Castonzo retired.
AUSTIN GAYLE, Pro Football Focus
- Player: WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
- Comment: Bateman isn’t a freak athlete with high-end top speed, but he’s still one of the best pure separators in this class because of his ability to get off the line of scrimmage and win with efficient route-running.
CHAD REUTER, NFL.Com
- Note: Projected trade-down with Green Bay with Packers flipping first-round picks and sending Colts two fourth-round selections. Colts wind up with 29th overall.
- Player: OT Sam Cosmi, Texas.
- Comment: Anthony Castonzo’s retirement was expected, so the Colts have probably been watching left tackles with great interest since the fall. Cosmi has grown into a strong lineman, in addition to being the athlete we’ve all seen on the field since his redshirt freshman season in Austin.
LANCE ZIERLEIN, NFL.com
- Player: DE Jayson Oweh, Penn State
- Comment: GM Chris Balard could opt for cornerback help, but he usually looks to build the fronts. Not many men walk the Earth with Oweh’s size and athletic profile. Ballard just might swing the bat on pass rush here.
CHRIS TRAPASSO, CBS Sports
- Player: WR Rondale Moore, Purdue
- Comment: The Colts haven’t gotten much out of 2019 second-round pick Parris Campbell due to injury, so there probably would be some reluctance with Moore because of his injury past. However, he’s too talented and too perfect of a fit in Frank Reich’s system for Indianapolis to not pick him here.
RYAN WILSON, CBS Sports
- Player: OT Sam Cosmi, Texas
- Comment: Yes, the Colts signed Sam Tevi, but it was just a one-year deal, and he’s been a replacement-level player during career. Cosmi is an athletic tackle who can contribute right away.
VINNIE IYER, The Sporting News
- Player: OT Sam Cosmi, Texas
- Comment: Now that the Colts have landed Wentz as their new starting quarterback, they can focus first on replacing 32-year old retiree Anthony Castonzo with another potential rock at left tackle. Cosmi has great athleticism for his size and teams are starting to be comfortable that he is nimble enough to handle pass protection as well on the left side at the next level.
DRAE HARRIS, The Draft Network
- Player: CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern
- Comment: Chris Ballard knows and loves his DBs. Greg Nwsome II is still a bit raw but has a tremendous ceiling. His combination of size, length and speed will give Indianapolis the flexibility to use him in a number of different ways.
- Player: CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
- Comment: The Colts re-signed Xavier Rhodes, but that was just to a 1-year deal, so they’ll need to find a top cornerback of the future. They’ll also need to obtain a better starter across from Rhodes this year. Caleb Farley opted out of the 2020 season, but he has high upside with nice size and speed. He has some injury concerns that could drop him a bit, but he’s a nice value pick at this juncture.
BRYAN FISCHER, Athlon Sports
- Player: S Trevon Moehrig, TCU
- Comment: Colts fans will be clamoring for an offensive tackle solution but GM Chris Ballard will be hard-pressed to bypass a safety like Moehrig. Not only would he be able to slide in effortlessly in the spot vacated by Malik Hooker, but he’s got all the tools to turn into a multi-year Pro Bowler under defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.