Skip to main content


Presented by

Colts inject athleticism, competition into roster with 9 picks on Day 3 of 2023 NFL Draft

The Colts continued to draft players with high-end athletic traits on the final day of the 2023 NFL Draft. 

23-draft-article_Day 3 Takeaways

Adetomiwa Adebawore became the first player in NFL Combine history to weigh at least 280 pounds and run a sub-4.5-second 40-yard dash. The Northwestern defensive lineman – who the Colts drafted No. 110 overall on Saturday – ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash in Indianapolis two months ago.

Three other players also ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and were picked before Adebawore in this year's NFL Draft. Their heights and weights:

  • 5-foot-8, 165 pounds (WR Nathaniel Dell)
  • 5-foot-11, 173 pounds (WR Jordan Addison)
  • 6-foot-1, 228 pounds (LB Dorian Williams)

Adebawore weighed in at 6-foot-2 and 282 pounds. People his size are not supposed to move as fast as he does.

And Adebawore, at least by one measure, was the fifth most athletic player selected by the Colts on Day 3 of the NFL Draft. Adebawore's Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 9.72/10 is remarkable, placing him among the elite of the elite athletes in this year's NFL Draft; again, one of his measurables is a legitimate outlier for someone his size.

But the Colts also drafted on Saturday:

  • Cal safety Daniel Scott (9.94/10 RAS)
  • BYU tackle Blake Freeland (9.83/10 RAS)
  • South Carolina cornerback Darius Rush (9.8/10 RAS)
  • Northern Michigan tackle Jake Witt (9.8/10 RAS)

"I thought we added a lot more athleticism," general manager Chris Ballard said.

The Colts, too, added four other high-end athletes:

  • Northwestern running back Evan Hull (9.32 RAS)
  • Miami tight end Will Mallory (9.05 RAS)
  • Texas A&M cornerback Jaylon Jones (8.79 RAS)
  • Wagner defensive end Titus Leo (8.48 RAS)

(What you need to know about RAS: It's just one formula to measure size and athletic testing against other players in NFL Draft history. It's best used to ballpark athleticism rather than pinpoint it. We're using it here to showcase, though, just how across-the-board athletic the Colts' draft class is.)

"Chris preaches it and we just really harped on it – don't ignore traits," assistant general manager Ed Dodds said. "Some guys are just too big and fast to fail. Now obviously, they can't have any really bad character. We're not going to take the shot then. Sometimes you're just too big and fast to fail.

"I mean, you're talking high floors, right? We always talk floor and ceiling. When they're that talented the floor is just so high. You know we're at least going to get this so it's just go with it. That's what the coaches are paid for."

But in addition to bringing in nine incredibly athletic players, the Colts built competition and depth up and down their roster on Day 3. While the Colts will continue to build their roster in the coming weeks and months through undrafted free agency and the veteran free agent market – as they've done in the past – the team's offensive and defensive lines got deeper on Saturday, while strong competition looks to be on the horizon at tight end and cornerback after the additions of Mallory, Rush and Jones (in addition to cornerback Julius Brents, who was selected on Day 2).

There wasn't a glaring need at tight end, but Mallory stuck out on the Colts' draft board. And when the Colts went on the clock at No. 162, head coach Shane Steichen leaned over to Ballard and reminded him: "Chris, this guy's really good."

So the Colts took Mallory, and now will see how he competes in a tight end room also including Pharaoh Brown, Mo Alie-Cox, Kylen Granson, Drew Ogletree and Jelani Woods.

"You never just want to pass up a good player," Ballard said. "I mean, (Mallory's) got length, he can run. He's been productive in college. He's a really good fit for what we want. It's just going to create real competition at the position. That's OK. That's a good thing. That makes you better."

At cornerback, the Colts are high on Rush – to the point Ballard was considering drafting him in the fourth round. But instead of moving off players in Freeland and Adebawore the team valued, or trading up to ensure they got him, the Colts let the draft come to them – even trading down from No. 138 and adding a sixth-round pick that became Leo – and snagged Rush at No. 141 in the fifth round.

Like Brents before him and Jones after him, Rush is a long, rangy cornerback who fits "our profile," Ballard said. He possesses speed (a 4.37-second 40-yard dash) and ball skills (he's a converted wide receiver), and along with Brents and Jones will compete with guys like Isaiah Rodgers Sr. and Dallis Flowers for reps at outside cornerback in the coming weeks and months.

"All three corners, we wanted to add competition to that position in which I think we were able to do," Ballard said. "The room is going to look a little different with these guys added."

Of course, guys like Freeland, Adebawore, Hull, Scott, Leo and Witt will all have to compete for playing time and/or roster spots during OTAs and training camp, too. But with the 2023 NFL Draft in the books, the Colts' scouting department identified and brought in an avalanche of athleticism. Now, it's on the Colts' coaching staff to take those players, foster competition and mold their athleticism into production on Sundays.

"Any time you can add competition to the room, it's going to make us all better – the players and coaches," Steichen said. "All these guys with traits, obviously as a coach – the coaches we have in the building, we're excited to get these guys in, get going with them and start to develop them."

An inside look at the Colts staff inside the War Room during the final day of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Single Game Ticket Priority List: The 2023 Colts Schedule will be revealed in May! Click here to join our Single Game Priority List to be the first to see the schedule, get notified when tickets go on sale, and receive exclusive VIP presale access.

Related Content

Single Game Tickets On Sale Now!

Single Game Tickets On Sale Now!

Our 2024 schedule is set! Secure your seats to all home games at Lucas Oil Stadium now.