2017 NFL Draft Depth Matches Colts' Needs

Intro: On Monday, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock held a conference call looking ahead to this year’s Combine/Draft. What does the depth of the 2017 draft class mean for the Colts?

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INDIANAPOLIS – Anytime you have five draft picks in the first four rounds of a draft, a team should already be feeling pretty good.

The Colts have that in 2017.

And, after listening to NFL draft guru Mike Mayock share his thoughts on the 2017 NFL Draft earlier this week, the Colts should be feeling even better.

Needs for Chris Ballard and the Colts are about to meet plenty of draft depth, according to Mayock.

"It's one of the best defensive drafts I've seen," Mayock said on the call.

"This defensive draft at edge and corner is outstanding, also at safety. One of the messages in this year's class with edge, corner and safety is there's great quality at the top, but there's depth throughout."

If the Colts go down the route of pass rusher in Round One, Mayock broke down how he sees one of the most talented positions in the draft.

"There are eight (edge guys) that I have potential first-round grades on," Mayock said. "Anybody looking for an edge guy in the first round is going to find one."

"Derek Barnett is one of the hardest working, toughest edge rushers of this draft or any draft. I think he's going to go somewhere 10-to-22 (overall)."

"Tim Williams from Alabama is more of a 3-4 outside linebacker. He's got some off-the-field issues and those could cause him to slide."

"Solomon Thomas from Stanford can play outside on run downs, inside on pass downs. There's been some comparisons to Aaron Donald. I'm not sure I see that, but I love his versatility."

Other tidbits that Mayock shared on Monday:

  • On the 2017 cornerback group:"I can get through four rounds of quality corners and I've never been able to say that before."
  • On a weaker offensive line class in 2017:"This is a really bad offensive tackle class. It's one of the few groups that isn't real strong this year. In a typical year, 10 tackles go in the first three rounds and I can't find 10 guys that I would give grades to there, Rounds 1-3."

With the Combine starting on Tuesday, Mayock, who will serve on NFL Network's coverage of the happenings in Indianapolis this coming week, also made the media rounds with MMQB's Peter King.

On the overall 2017 draft depth: "This is as good and as deep a class as I've seen in a draft in several years—with the exception of quarterback and offensive line. Running backs and tight ends, top end and depth are outstanding. Tight ends—I haven't seen a group like this in years. Wide receivers, very good. Defensively, it's unbelievable. The edge rushers* we haven't seen a group like this in a long, long time. You'll be able to get a starting edge rusher in the fourth round that last year or most drafts you'd compare to an edge rusher in the second round. Cornerbacks and safeties, it's the best I've seen in 10 years at least."*

*On the running back class in 2017: "There are five backs this year that you can give a first-round grade," he said, "and the average number of backs to go in the first round in the last five years is 1.2." He has Florida State's Dalvin Cook one and all-world Leonard Fournette of LSU two, because he thinks Cook's a better all-around back and has been healthier. To get the value out of Fournette, he says, you must treat him like Ezekiel Elliott and plan for 25 touches a game. He also likes Alvin Kamara of Tennessee and thinks without the off-field problems Joe Mixon would be a first-round pick. With the problems? Maybe in the Tyreek Hill, fifth-round range."

The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.*

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