Colts 2022 NFL Draft Preview: Picks, Predictions, Chris Ballard's Perspective And Everything Else You Need To Know

The 2022 NFL Draft begins Thursday night in Las Vegas, and the Colts own seven picks starting with No. 42 overall in the second round on Friday. Here's everything you need to know before, during and after the Colts are on the clock – plus, be sure to catch the latest episode of "With The Next Pick," which you can watch below:

Colts draft picks

The Colts enter the 2022 NFL Draft with seven picks:

  • Second round, 42nd overall (from Washington)
  • Third round, 73rd overall (from Washington)
  • Fourth round, 122nd overall
  • Fifth round, 159th overall
  • Fifth round, 179th overall (compensatory selection)
  • Sixth round, 216th overall (compensatory selection)
  • Seventh round, 239th overall (from Philadelphia)

The Colts acquired that pair of Day 2 picks, along with a 2023 conditional third round pick, from the Commanders in exchange for quarterback Carson Wentz, their 2022 second round pick (No. 47 overall) and a 2022 seventh round pick (No. 240 overall). The Colts' original third round pick (No. 82 overall) was sent to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for quarterback Matt Ryan; the Colts' original sixth round pick was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles last September for tackle Matt Pryor and a 2022 seventh round pick (No. 239 overall).

The Colts earned two compensatory selections based on the NFL's formula on additions and subtractions with qualifying free agents during the 2021 offseason. And the Colts' 2022 first round pick is now owned by the New Orleans Saints, who acquired it from the Eagles earlier this offseason. The Colts traded their 2022 first round pick to the Eagles as part of last year's trade for Wentz.

Three Things To Know On Chris Ballard's Draft Philosophy

Colts general manager Chris Ballard held a press conference last Friday to look ahead to this year's draft. A few of the highlights:

--> The Colts are confident in their offensive weapons heading into this week, for starters. But "need" is a fickle thing this time of year – your needs today might not be your needs tomorrow, and reaching to fill an immediate need might open up another (or the same) need later. Here's how Ballard explained that balance:

"You just got to make sure you're not passing a great player," Ballard said. "You don't want to pass a great player just to take the need. Thinking about that a bunch, if we have this need but we have this guy leveled up here. If there's a different level and you're taking – you're just going to take the better player. If it's even, alright, then we'll take the need.

"Always go back to Reggie (Wayne). I think they needed a corner here badly, like it was bad. They needed a corner, but all of a sudden, the corner went off the board and they ended up taking Reggie Wayne. You don't want to beat your head against the wall just to fill the need. Like I said, there's still time. You have time and there's still good players on the market, so you let it work itself out."

Keep those words in mind over the next few days. And also remember: Player acquisition does not end with the NFL Draft. Plenty of analysts thought the Colts would target a tackle in last year's draft; they didn't, and about a week later Eric Fisher was brought in via free agency. Four months later, the Colts traded for Matt Pryor, who will go into 2022 with the first shot to start at left tackle.

--> With no picks before No. 42, this year will be the longest the Colts will have to wait before making their first selection under Ballard. It was slated to be an even longer wait before, as part of the Wentz trade to Washington, the Colts moved up five spots in the second round, from No. 47 to No. 42.

So Ballard will be tasked with feeling out how the draft is going during all those picks ahead of his – it'll be constantly processing what every pick means for the Colts' chances of getting the best players remaining on their draft board. In 2020, a run on wide receivers in the first round – then then the Cincinnati Bengals drafting wide receiver Tee Higgins with the first pick of the the second round – led the Colts to draft Michael Pittman Jr. and then trade up for Taylor seven picks later.

So sometimes, that feel leads to trading up – like Ballard did to snag Taylor in 2020. Sometimes, it means standing pat; other times, it means trading back and adding an extra pick or two that won't significantly lessen your chances of getting a player high on the draft board.

Ballard said the Colts – like plenty other teams – did some studies that showed there's not generally much difference between a player drafted in the middle of the first round versus the middle of the second round.

"Usually, it will fall off anywhere between eight to 12 where you are saying, 'Okay, we think these are real blue-chip players,'" Ballard said. "Then from 13, 14 to 40, here's this group of players. Then from 41 to 80, here's this group of players. When you look at the history of all their careers, over time, it usually plays out pretty similar.

--> Over the last few years, Ballard's drafted a few players who were recovering from significant injuries suffered the winter before the draft in safety Julian Blackmon (2020) and defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo (2021). Blackmon saw almost immediate success as a rookie while Odeyingbo debuted halfway through the season and made a handful of impact plays (like his forced fumble on Trevor Lawrence late in the Colts' Week 10 win over the Jaguars). Last week, Ballard offered some interesting insight the Colts' philosophy with those kind of players.

"We listen to our doctors, what our rehab people say," Ballard said. "How long is the rehab? When do we realistically think he's going to be able to get back and play? Usually, my experience with those type of guys is they might give you something, but you're really looking at year two. Blackmon was a little bit of an aberration because he came in and did so well as a rookie coming off the ACL (injury). Dayo had moments, but I think we'll see a better version of him this year coming off the Achilles injury.

"Every case is unique. You listen to your doctors and your rehab and your strength staff and then you make a determination of where is the risk and the value and when to take them."

Jonathan Taylor's Draft Story

For more on that decision to draft Pittman and then trade up for Taylor, check out a fantastic behind the scenes, in-depth, illuminating look at why the Colts traded up for Taylor two years ago. Great stuff from Colts Productions here:

2022 NFL Draft Order

Here's who enters the draft with picks ahead of the Colts at No. 42:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars
  2. Detroit Lions
  3. Houston Texans
  4. New York Jets
  5. New York Giants
  6. Carolina Panthers
  7. New York Giants (from Chicago)
  8. Atlanta Falcons
  9. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver)
  10. New York Jets (from Seattle)
  11. Washignton Commanders
  12. Minnesota Vikings
  13. Houston Texans (from Cleveland)
  14. Baltimore Ravens
  15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami)
  16. New Orleans Saints (from Indianapolis via Philadelphia)
  17. Los Angeles Chargers
  18. Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans)
  19. New Orleans Saints (from Philadelphia)
  20. Pittsburgh Steelers
  21. New England Patriots
  22. Green Bay Packers (from Las Vegas)
  23. Arizona Cardinals
  24. Dallas Cowboys
  25. Buffalo Bills
  26. Tennessee Titans
  27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  28. Green Bay Packers
  29. Kansas City Chiefs (from San Francisco via Miami)
  30. Kansas City Chiefs
  31. Cincinnati Bengals
  32. Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams)
  33. Jacksonville Jaguars
  34. Detroit Lions
  35. New York Jets
  36. New York Giants
  37. Houston Texans
  38. New York Jets (from Carolina)
  39. Chicago Bears
  40. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver)
  41. Seattle Seahawks
  42. Indianapolis Colts

Pick History

For some context on where the Colts are slated to pick in this year's draft, here's a look back at some recent and notable players selected with each of those picks (*denotes Hall of Fame):

Second round, 42nd overall

Last five: OT Liam Eichenberg (2021, Dolphins), WR Laviska Shenault (2020, Jaguars), QB Drew Lock (2019, Broncos), TE Mike Gesicki (2018, Dolphins), S Marcus Williams (2017, Saints)

Other notable picks: TE Rob Gronkowski (2010, Patriots), S Jarius Byrd (2009, Bills), QB Jake Plummer (1997, Cardinals), RB Charlie Garner (1994, Eagles), DE Rulon Jones (1980, Broncos), G Randy Cross (1976, 49ers), DT Roger Brown (1960, Lions), CB Erich Barnes (1958, Bears), QB Bob Waterfield* (1945, Rams)

Third round, 73rd overall

Last five: DL Milton Williams (2021, Eagles), DT DaVon Hamilton (2020, Jaguars), RB David Montgomery (2019, Bears), OLB Jerome Baker (2018, Dolphins), OLB Jordan Willis (2017, Bengals)

Other notable picks: RB Jamaal Charles (2008, Chiefs), LB Joey Porter (1999, Steelers), DE Jason Taylor* (1997, Dolphins), G Guy McIntyre (1984, 49ers), DT Steve McMichael (1980, Patriots), S Dick Anderson (Dolphins, 1968)

Fourth round, 122nd overall

Last five: DT Tyler Shelvin (2021, Bengals), QB Jacob Eason (2020, Colts), RB Benny Snell Jr. (2019, Steelers), LB Kenny Young (2018, Ravens), G Nico Siragusa (2017, Ravens)

Other notable picks: DE Za'Darius Smith (2015, Ravens), OL J.C. Tretter (2013, Packers), S Merton Hanks (1991, 49ers), LB Hardy Nickerson (1987, Steelers)

Fifth round, 159th overall

Last five: OL Brenden Jaimes (2021, Chargers), K Justin Rohrwasser (2020, Patriots), DT Bryan Cowart (2019, Patriots), WR Daurice Fountain (2018, Colts), G Jermaine Eluemunor (2017, Ravens)

Other notable picks: S Micah Hyde (2013, Packers), DT Gary Walker (1995, Oilers), LB Bryce Paup (1990, Packers), S Jake Scott (1970, Dolphins)

Fifth round, 179th overall

Last five: WR Simi Fehoko (2021, Cowboys), DE Bradlee Anae (2020, Cowboys), C Lamont Gaillard (2019, Cardinals), CB Parry Nickerson (2018, Jets), RB T.J. Logan (2017, Cardinals)

Other notable picks: TE Bo Scaife (2005, Titans), TE Desmond Clark (1999, Broncos), WR Eric Martin (1985, Saints), TE Steve Jordan (1982, Vikings)

Sixth round, 216th overall

Last five: DL Quincy Roche (2021, Steelers), S Kamren Curl (2020, Washington), G Nick Allegretti (2019, Chiefs), LB Zaeem Victor (2018, Raiders), CB Marquez White (2017, Cowboys)

Other notable picks: CB Captain Munnerlyn (2009, Panthers), WR Patrick Crayton (2004, Cowboys), CB Eric Warfield (1998, Chiefs), RB Mike Strachan (1975, Saints – no relation to the Mike Strachan the Colts drafted last year)

Seventh round, 239th overall

Last five: DE Jonathan Cooper (2021, Broncos), CB Dane Jackson (2020, Bills), WR Dillon Mitchell (2019, Vikings), LS Hunter Bradley (2018, Packers), WR Noah Brown (2017, Cowboys)

Other notable picks: OLB Tully Banta-Cain (2003, Patriots) G Eric Heitmann (2002, 49ers), DE Jeff Cross (1988, Dolphins), CB Jerry Mertens (1958, 49ers)

Colts Director of Player Personnel Kevin Rogers On Official Colts Podcast

On this week's Official Colts Podcast, we had a chance to sit down with Colts Director of Player Personnel Kevin Rogers to discuss the team's draft process, Ballard's feel for the NFL Draft, the challenge of evaluating a deep pool of undrafted free agents and much more.

Listen to the episode and subscribe to the Colts Audio Network on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

2022 Ticket Information

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