INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts are still more than a month away from knowing their exact draft position in 2017.
Whether the Colts pick at No. 14 or No. 15 come April will be decided at the Combine. No matter the spot, they will be in a position to acquire an instant impact player.
The first Mock Draft look of 2017 examines where the draft pundits have the Colts aligned.
Here's a compilation of Mock Drafts:
Analysis: The Colts defense is in terrible shape as is, so taking a gamble on a potential franchise-changer makes sense for them. That's why I was almost tempted to peg Jabrill Peppers here; Ryan Grigson feels like the type of evaluator who would want to figure the Michigan star out. Instead, I'm going with the more prudent pick: Alabama's Tim Williams, an athletic and productive linebacker who can consistently get after the quarterback. Most importantly, he can seamlessly fill Robert Mathis' vacancy.
Analysis: A dominant speed rusher, McKinley gave Pac-12 offensive tackles nightmares in 2016. He took a big leap as a senior with 10 sacks, going from fringe prospect to first-rounder. At 6-2, 240 pounds, he's not huge, but his explosion off the line is suited for today's NFL. Indianapolis needs playmakers on defense, and McKinley is a great fit.
Analysis: At this point, Hooker would be a steal—flip him into Adams's spot at 6 or Peppers's at 10, and no one would bat an eye. The Colts' defense in general has to become faster, more athletic. Hooker checks both boxes as a ballhawking threat at safety. A scary thought: For as great as he was this season, he played just 19 games at Ohio State. The best is yet to come.
Analysis: The Colts are in desperate need of a young edge rusher. Barnett has some tightness but his production speaks for itself.
Analysis: The Indianapolis Colts need an almost entirely new defense, but the allure of Cook is too great for Jim Irsay's crew to pass on. Cook is a special three-down talent. At 6'0" and 205 pounds, he's not the biggest back, but Cook is an exciting runner between the tackles and a great receiver out of the backfield. If there's another Priest Holmes or Jamaal Charles in college football, it's Cook. Pairing Cook and Andrew Luck gives the Colts a duo they were supposed to get when Ryan Grigson traded for Trent Richardson in 2013.
Analysis: Is running back the top need for the Colts this offseason? No. But with a talent like Fournette still available for them in this scenario, it would be easy to see general manager Ryan Grigson drafting the uber-talented ballcarrier.
Analysis: Wilson would make sense because he would upgrade the Colts' pass coverage immediately. After losing Vernon Hargreaves to the NFL, Wilson replaced him as Florida's starter alongside Jalen Tabor. Sources say the 6-foot-1, 213-pound Wilson could end up being one of the top cornerback prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft, and team evaluators feel that Wilson has above-average speed. In 2016, he totaled 33 tackles with six passes broken up and three interceptions. Wilson is a longer press-man corner for the NFL with ball skills, but scouting sources say that there are aspects that Wilson needs to improve. He grabs at receivers a lot and could get called for pass interference penalties in the NFL. Sources also feel Wilson has above-average feel and awareness.
Analysis: And yet another cornerback (this wasn't on purpose), as the Colts could go a few different ways here to shore up their defense, but adding perhaps the best zone cornerback in the draft is a strong way to go. King is excellent at understanding route concepts and making plays on the ball and his three-year grading is as good as any cornerback in the country. He complements his ball skills with strong tackling as he's missed only 24 of his 191 attempts over three years and he'll be an asset to a Colts defense that needs talent in multiple places.
MOCK DRAFT TOTALS
In each installment of the mock draft looks we will total up all the positions pundits have pegged for the Colts throughout the draft process.
Bowen's Analysis: What a difference a year makes. No offensive linemen slotted for the Colts in our first Mock Draft look. Two reasons for that. One, the Colts spent half of last year's draft capitol on offensive linemen. Every offensive lineman that played for the Colts last season is under contract through 2017. Two, this is supposedly a pretty weak offensive line draft in 2017. Of the eight mocks we looked at, you could make a compelling case for any of these choices. Safety Malik Hooker out of Ohio State might not fit an immediate need, but the others definitely do. Where the running backs (LSU's Leonard Fournette and Florida State's Dalvin Cook) go is easily one of the bigger storylines in 2017. Does Ezekiel Elliott being chosen 4th overall last year and dominating from day one impact how teams will look at Fournette/Cook? Even though pass rusher is a major need for the Colts, the cornerback debate to Indy in Round One makes a lot of sense to me.
The first mock draft look of 2017.
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.