INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts' season has come to an end, but we now know where they will likely be making their selections in the 2019 NFL Draft.
With their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday, the Colts (10-6) have locked up the 26th pick in the first round of the draft. They will then rotate between the 27th and 26th picks with the Dallas Cowboys (10-6) throughout the other six rounds.
As always, the official draft order never quite stays set. Teams wheel and deal before and then throughout the three-day selection period, and there are still compensatory draft picks to be awarded later in March around the annual National Football League meeting.
The Colts are projected to receive a fourth-round compensatory pick for the 2018 free-agent loss of wide receiver Donte Moncrief. They also have an extra second-round pick this year stemming from a trade they made with the New York Jets before last year's draft.
If the draft was tomorrow, here's how it would look for the Colts:
- Round 1, No. 26
- Round 2, No. 34 (from the Jets)
- Round 2, No. 59
- Round 3, No. 90
- Round 4, No. 123
- Round 4, No. 129-137 (projected compensatory pick)
- Round 5, No. 154
- Round 6, No. 187
- Round 7, No. 218
*In relation to the compensatory pick, in 2018 there were nine combined compensatory picks added in the third and fourth rounds, so this projects from that total.
The Colts don't have much of a history with the 26th overall pick, only having those selections for defensive back Lenny Dunlap in 1971 and wide receiver Randy Burke in 1977.
The 26th overall pick has yielded some positive returns in recent years, however, including Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley in 2018, Falcons edge defender Takk McKinley in 2017, Houston Texans edge defender Whitney Mercilus in 2012 and Green Bay Packers edge defender/linebacker Clay Matthews in 2009.
The Colts then turn around and make another selection just eight picks later thanks to their trade with the Jets.
With a projected five selections within the top 125 picks of the draft, the Colts can haul in some real talent, much like they did with six top-125 selections in the 2018 draft. With those six picks, the Colts selected three full-time starters in Quenton Nelson (1:6), Darius Leonard (2:36) and Braden Smith (2:37) — two of which (Nelson and Leonard) became the first pair of rookie teammates to be named First-Team All-Pro since 1965 — and the other three were heavy contributors who occasionally started as rookies.
Currently, the Colts are set up to have similar success in this year's draft as last year's. as they are projected to have entered both with nine selections. By the time the Colts were done making deals and acquiring more draft capital in 2018, they had made 11 selections.
All 11 of the Colts' 2018 draft picks remained with the team as the season started, including sixth-round pick Deon Cain, who was placed on Injured Reserve with a torn ACL before the season. He had been making a case to become one of the team's starting receivers before suffering his injury.
The Colts stayed true to their philosophy of building their roster through the draft and continued their tradition of being open-minded with young players, leading the NFL in opening-day rookie starters with five. The team's 2018 rookie draft picks started 67 of the 133 games (50.4 percent) in which they appeared.