INDIANAPOLIS - After trading the 13th-overall pick for defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, the Indianapolis Colts now initially pick at 34th and 44th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. We take a look at which players the various experts believe will land in Indianapolis with those two second-round picks in this week's final edition of Mock Draft Monday.
Here's this week's breakdown by player:
- Jordan Love, QB, Utah State: 7 selections (four trade-ups into first round)
- Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC: 5 selections
- Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State: 4 selections
- Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson: 4 selections
- Jacob Eason, QB, Washington: 3 selection
- Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor: 3 selections
- Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame: 2 selections
- Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado: 2 selections
- Zack Baun, DE, Wisconsin: 1 selection
- Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic: 1 selection
- Grant Delpit, S, LSU: 1 selection
- Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama: 1 selection
- A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa: 1 selection
- Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU: 1 selection
- Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State: 1 selection
- Robert Hunt, G/T, Louisiana-Lafayette: 1 selection
- Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma: 1 selection
- Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn: 1 selection
- Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame: 1 selection
- Terrell Lewis, DE, Alabama: 1 selection
- Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU: 1 selection
- John Simpson, G, Clemson: 1 selection
- D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia: 1 selection
- Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin: 1 selection
- A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson: 1 selection
- Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton: 1 selection
Let's get to the mock drafts, sorted by date:
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State & Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
Expert: Charlie Campbell, WalterFootball.com / April 20 (link)
On Aiyuk: "The Colts need a third receiver to go with T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell. Aiyuk had a big jump in production from his junior to senior year, and that helped to land him an invitation to the Senior Bowl. After catching only 33 passes for 474 yards and three scores in 2018, Aiyuk jumped to 65 receptions for 1,192 yards and eight scores as a senior. The 5-foot-11, 201-pounder has quality size to him as well. He could rise in the leadup to the 2020 NFL Draft."
On Trautman: "The Colts grab a replacement for Eric Ebron. Trautman notched 70 receptions for 916 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2019. He earned an invitation to the Senior Bowl and had a solid week in Mobile. Trautman (6-5, 251) was a productive receiver for Dayton in 2018 and 2017 to land himself on NFL teams' preseason watch lists. He caught 41 passes for 604 yards with nine touchdowns in 2018 after hauling in 43 catches for 537 yards and five scores during the previous season. Team sources say they see three-down starting potential with Trautman and think he is a well-rounded prospect."
Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC & Robert Hunt, G/T, Louisiana-Lafayette
Expert: Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports / April 20 (link)
On Pittman Jr.: "Pittman is 6-4, ran a 4.5 40 at the combine and excels on special teams too. He'll have a chance to thrive in an offense led by Philip Rivers."
On Hunt: "The Colts have to protect Philip Rivers. Hunt, who played tackle in college, is a Day 1 starter on the interior in the NFL."
A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson & Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
Expert: Walter Cherepinksy, WalterFootball.com / April 19 (link)
On Terrell: "The Colts lost Pierre Desir this offseason, and yet they already needed cornerback help. They'll need to address this position in the second round. A.J. Terrell has good size (6-2, 190) and nice skill set. He did very well at the combine."
On Claypool: "The Colts will need to add a receiver to go along with T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell."
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson & Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Expert: R.J. White, CBS Sports / April 19 (link)
On Higgins: "The Colts are able to address two of their biggest needs in the second round, starting with a receiving weapon opposite T.Y. Hilton. Higgins is a big target with great ball skills who should endear himself quickly to Philip Rivers and having a player of his caliber will help the Colts overcome Hilton's inevitable injury issues."
On Delpit: "The team then finds a safety to partner with Malik Hooker in the form of Delpit, who at one point was considered one of the best overall prospects in this class before an uneven 2019."
Zack Baun, DE, Wisconsin & Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
Expert: Tankathon.com / April 19 (link)
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State & Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Expert: Josh Edwards, CBS Sports / April 18 (link)
Note: Edwards projected the Colts acquiring the 31st-overall pick from the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for the 34th- and 122nd-overall picks, and then selecting Love at 31st overall and Higgins at 44th overall.
On Love: "San Francisco and Indianapolis facilitate another deal this offseason as this one brings a first-round pick back to the Colts. They get a long-term replacement for Philip Rivers. Chris Ballard's job is not in jeopardy so he can afford to make a move with the future in mind. The 49ers receive No. 122 and No. 34."
On Higgins: "Indianapolis lands a bit of length and insurance to their receiver room. They are too one-dimensional when T.Y. Hilton is off the field."
Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC & D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
Expert: Dan Schneier, CBS Sports / April 18 (link)
On Pittman Jr.: "The Colts are thrilled to get a big-bodied boundary WR who perfectly fits Philip Rivers' skill set. Jon Ledyard compared Pittman to Vincent Jackson and you can see it when you watch him consistently win on downfield throws with positioning, body control, and the ability to box out defenders (almost all of whom are smaller than him)."
On Swift: "The Colts have not committed long term to Marlon Mack for a reason, but they want to be a physical team and they have the offensive line to back it up. They can't pass on the value here even if it means giving up a position that is considered more of a need."
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Expert: Bryan Fischer, Athlon Sports / April 17 (link)
Note: Fischer did not do a second-round mock draft, but did project the Colts acquiring the 27th-overall pick from the Seattle Seahawks for the 34th- and 160th-overall picks in 2020 and a future third-round pick, and taking Love at 27th-overall.
On Love: "The fanfare around Philip Rivers' signing really covered up the fact that it was just a one-year, win-now deal. There are still long-term concerns under center for a franchise that has blessed with luck (pun intended) under center for over two decades. Hence the move up (with No. 34, No. 160 and a future third) with a willing partner who loves to trade down. Indy gets their long-term face of the franchise in Love, who gets to learn from Rivers before taking over down the road."
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State & Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Expert: Kevin Hanson, MMQB / April 17 (link)
Note: Edwards projected the Colts acquiring the 27th-overall pick from the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for the 34th- and 75th-overall picks, and then selecting Love at 27th overall and Aiyuk at 44th overall.
On Love: "As Peter King notes, John Schneider and the Seahawks have traded their first-round pick every year since 2012 for a total of 10 first-round trades over the past eight drafts. Meanwhile, trading back into the first round for the fifth-year option on Love would make sense for the Colts. Described by one NFL head coach as a "poor man's [Patrick] Mahomes," Love has a live arm, plus mobility and improvisational skills. The current environment will make it more difficult than usual for rookies to start, but the high-upside signal-caller would have an adjustment year in this scenario as he sits behind Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett, both of whom are free agents in 2021."
Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU & Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic
Expert: Chad Reuter, NFL.com / April 17 (link)
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State & Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
Expert: Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports / April 16 (link)
On Aiyuk "The Colts need more secondary receiving threats, and they get one with the explosive Aiyuk."
On Gross-Matos: "Corner might be a bigger need for Indianapolis, but Gross-Matos is too tremendous of a value to pass on here."
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State & Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Expert: Bobby Sylvester, FantasyPros / April 15 (link)
Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado & John Simpson, G, Clemson
Expert: DraftTek.com / April 15 (link)
On Shenault: "The odds of GM Chris Ballard trading away draft picks on a move back into RD1 are possible, but I'm thinking not very probable. He likes picks (read=plural) in his pocket and I don't see anyone of such incredible value that would equate to giving up a #1 pick (or more) in 2021. So at this point, I think Ballard would more likely trade back down and accumulate more talent that helps enrich the depth chart / rotational aspects of the roster. In RD2 for this CMD, Indy snags a potential #2 wideout with Colorado receiver Laviska Shenault. He's not THE glamour pick, but with some solid coaching, improving his route-tree skills, and being on a team that has hard-working, veteran leadership, he could blossom into that "diamond-in-the-rough" star. There's no doubt Shenault's hands are his biggest asset on the field, along with a good burst to ring up some YAC."
On Simpson: "The Colts once again select OG John Simpson with Pick #44 of RD2. If the coaching staff can work on some fundamentals with Simpson, they could develop a monster with exceptional physical power. The two-year starter at Clemson will need some improvement in footwork for pass pro, but there's no doubt he can be a force in the running game. With Simpson's terrific power in his hands with a solid anchor, Indy would get solid starter-caliber depth to help keep their OLine at peak efficiency."
Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor & Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
Expert: Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN / April 14 (link; ESPN Insider access required)
On Mims: "The Colts traded out of Round 1 when they added defensive tackle DeForest Buckner from the 49ers, and the loss of that pick stings less because they have Washington's second-rounder, which comes from the Redskins trading back into Round 1 last year (to add pass-rusher Montez Sweat). Injuries limited top wideout T.Y. Hilton to just 45 catches, and 2019 second-round pick Parris Campbell never got going. Mims is a freaky athlete who will catch a few deep balls from Philip Rivers."
On Eason: "Surprised? Don't be. Philip Rivers is a stopgap for a team trying to get back to the playoffs, and Jacoby Brissett is under contract only through the 2020 season. Eason, who has a massive arm and a 6-foot-6 frame, could be the perfect understudy for Rivers. Eason isn't ready to play immediately, so he needs a coaching staff that will be patient."
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State & Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
Expert: Dane Brugler, The Athletic / April 13 (link; subscription required)
On Love: "There is a good chance a team trades into the first round to draft Love, but that could be the Colts or he could fall to them in the second round, giving the organization a quarterback succession plan for the future."
On Pittman: "Of all the picks in this mock draft, this might be my favorite fit. The Colts are looking for players with high football character and Pittman also fits the mold of the power forward receiver who can outrebound the football downfield."
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State & Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
Expert: Danny Kelly, The Ringer / April 13 (link)
On Love: "Dynamic signal-caller with a flick-of-the-wrist throwing style, good touch, and plenty of athleticism―but big questions around his decision-making and ball security. ... Love is as big of a traits-based prospect as we'll see in this draft. The 6-foot-3, 224-pound quarterback has prototypical size, athleticism, and a strong arm but took a massive step back statistically this year (partially due to a coaching change and a lack of surrounding talent). He tossed 20 touchdowns to 17 interceptions after posting a 32-to-6 touchdown-to-interception line the season prior. But his skill set and potential ceiling as a passer are sure to intrigue a few teams―and it's notable that less-than-impressive final stat lines didn't cause Josh Allen or Daniel Jones to fall too far in recent years. Love has showed off flashes of incredible touch and precise ball placement to every level of the field while operating primarily in a shotgun offense; he has the ability to manipulate defenders with his eyes; he has a pretty, catchable deep ball; and he shows willingness to attempt tight-window throws against one-on-one coverage. He throws well on the move, and when plays break down, he has the athleticism to pick up yards on the ground (he ran for 403 yards and scored nine touchdowns in three seasons at Utah State). Love can strafe, backpedal, and keep himself in a throwing posture while avoiding the rush in a muddied pocket, and he never seems fazed―even when the gates of hell apparently open up in the stands. That said, Love's big plays are too often punctuated by poor ones. His ball placement is erratic at times, which is a trait that could get him in trouble. He has the ability to toggle through throws of varying velocity, but there were times when his default was to loft up a rainbow when a bullet throw was necessary. Overall, Love created far too many turnovers, and appeared to predetermine his targets while ignoring coverages."
On Igbinoghene: "Sticky cover corner with easy speed, lightning-quick feet, and a scrappy, physical style. ... Igbinoghene has a compact, muscular frame with fluid athleticism and springy agility. A big-time receiver recruit coming out of high school (and the son of a pair of former Olympic track athletes), the Tigers star moved to defense after his freshman season and quickly showed that he could thrive on that side of the ball. Igbinoghene plays with a physical style and tenacious mind-set, always trying to make things as difficult as possible for his opponent. He's patient in press, clearly confident in his ability to flip his hips and stick close to his assignment in trailing coverage. He also plays with a low center of gravity and strong balance, relying on good knee bend and nimble feet to mirror and chase. He shows quick-twitch reaction time to click and close on underneath routes. On deep throws, Igbinoghene has the ability to plant himself into his opponent's hip pocket. He uses his hands to disrupt timing and knock the ball away at the catch point, and he's generally a good run defender―even if he must learn to wrap up more consistently. Igbinoghene lacks experience at the cornerback position, with just two seasons of starting experience, and that rawness shows up at times. He's still developing a feel for reading route combinations, playing with proper footwork techniques, and consistently finding the ball in the air. Igbinoghene notched just one interception in his Auburn career (in 2018), but did rack up 18 passes defensed. His lack of length could pigeonhole him into a slot role for some teams, but he has the athletic traits and competitiveness to play outside. He also adds kick return value, with nine returns for 317 yards (35.2 average) and a score on campus."
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State & Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
Expert: Luke Easterling, The Draft Wire / April 11 (link)
Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC & Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
Expert: Michael Renner, Pro Football Focus / April 8 (link)
On Pittman Jr.: "Pittman is a far more sudden route-runner than the majority of receivers his size and dropped only five passes over his college career. He offers something the Colts don't currently have and pairs well with Philip Rivers."
On Taylor: "Taylor was born to run behind the Colts' dominant run-blocking offensive line. Give him a full head of steam, and he drags people. He averaged over 1,300 yards after contact per season at Wisconsin."
Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor & Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Expert: Joe Hopkins, FOX59/CBS4 / April 7 (link)
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Expert: Dan Kadar, SBNation / April 6 (link)
Note: Kadar did not do a second-round mock draft, but did project the Colts acquiring the 27th-overall pick from the Seattle Seahawks and taking Love.
On Love: "Sure, the Colts went out and acquired Philip Rivers, but he's only on a one-year contract. Colts general manager Chris Ballard could get aggressive to snag a potential future franchise quarterback. It should come as no surprise, however, to see Seattle drop out of the first round."
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson & Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
Expert: Stephen Holder, The Athletic / April 2 (link; subscription required)
On Higgins: "Whether Higgins is available at this spot is very much an open question. He has tantalizing play-making ability and makes the jump to the NFL after a productive career (27 touchdown receptions). But for our purposes, we're going to bank on Higgins' questionable speed and athletic testing being a detriment that might knock him into Day 2 of the draft. A bummer for Higgins but, potentially, a win for Indianapolis. Higgins is exactly the receiver the Colts lack: A big body who can play outside and make contested catches while also possessing the ability to be a consistent deep threat. The Colts were seeking this kind of skill set when they signed Devin Funchess in free agency last spring, only to see him sustain a season-ending injury in Week 1. Here, we have a player with comparable size (6 foot 4, 216 pounds) but, arguably, more explosive potential than Funchess (who recently signed with the Packers after his one-year contract expired). Higgins has drawn comparisons to players like A.J. Green of the Bengals, and the parallels are certainly there. Watch him and you also might see shades of Courtland Sutton, who has quickly become a star for the Broncos. Another borderline first-round receiver is Denzel Mims, a player the Colts have been connected to. Both could fill the role of an "X" receiver, who typically occupies the outside spot on the wide side of the field. But if both were available at this spot, my preference is Higgins. Why? He has a couple of dimensions in his game that Mims does not, including the ability to generate more yards after the catch and break tackles, as well as potentially elite body control. The latter characteristic, combined with his size, is going to allow Higgins to make the kind of tough catches he must against tight NFL man-to-man coverage. We can't overlook Higgins' biggest knock: His pedestrian athleticism. He ran in the mid-4.5's in the 40-yard dash at his pro day and his 31-inch vertical jump will produce yawns. But watch his play and it's difficult to argue that any of these realities severely limited him. Let's see if he can continue to overcome them as a pro."
On Eason: "Look, you're not getting a perfect quarterback prospect in the second round. Instead, what you're looking for is a raw player with a huge upside (think Lamar Jackson) or a player who has some established, elite qualities that you can build around. Eason is the latter of those two types. His arm strength and size are prototypical. At a hair under 6-6 and 231 pounds, Eason looks the part. On the field, when he's slinging deep balls, Eason sends your imagination into overdrive. Then there are the areas where he is lacking. You'd like to see more consistency in his accuracy, for example. He was completing more than 70 percent of his attempts through five games in 2019. But he finished the season with a 64.2-percent completion rate after some uneven performances later in the year. Eason also has athletic limitations that will define him as a pocket passer, reducing a team's ability to try many of the newer quarterback concepts we're seeing in today's NFL. But if you consider the fact that Colts coach Frank Reich just pushed to seal a deal with Philip Rivers – one of the least mobile quarterbacks in the NFL – perhaps this isn't a problem in the Colts offense. Even with freakishly athletic Andrew Luck at his disposal, Reich didn't go to great lengths to implement Luck's running ability into his play-calling. The bottom line with Eason is this: If you're looking for a quarterback who can develop, why not opt for one who is skilled at doing the primary thing in the position's job description? Eason has the big arm and that gives him a chance to succeed at the next level. Before moving on, a quick note. There was some temptation here to go with Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma. He is a wild card in this draft because he has such unique athleticism and underrated quarterbacking skills. It would be interesting to see what Reich could cook up with such a player, especially given his revelation this week that he's contemplating using Jacoby Brissett in select RPO (run-pass option) situations. Point is, maybe we shouldn't rule out Hurts, even though I'm going with Eason."
Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma & Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
Expert: Matt Miller, Bleacher Report / April 1 (link)
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson & Terrell Lewis, DE, Alabama
Expert: Joe Marino, The Draft Network / March 30 (link)
Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC & Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
Expert: Todd McShay, ESPN / March 30 (link; ESPN Insider access required)
On Pittman Jr.: "After trading out of Round 1, this pick is pretty important for the Colts. And with quarterback Philip Rivers on a one-year, go-for-it deal, GM Chris Ballard has to find the veteran a reliable pass-catcher. Pittman can flash in the vertical game, find pockets in coverage and adjust his body in motion to make the catch."
On Kmet: "Finally, a tight end comes off the board. The Colts already have Jack Doyle in the locker room, but they also lost Eric Ebron, and Philip Rivers loves finding his tight ends. Kmet can make the tough, contested catches."
Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU & A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
Expert: Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports / March 25 (link)
On Reagor: "Reagor looked a bit too bulky at the combine, but his open-field juice could give this offense a boost."
On Epenesa: "GM Chris Ballard is nothing if not an opportunist. Landing a sliding Epenesa, who fits a need, would be savvy."