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Indianapolis Colts Select 11 Players In 2018 NFL Draft

After starting out with nine selections at the start of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts and general manager Chris Ballard were able to make the moves needed to gain two extra picks for their 11-player draft class. What stands out this year?


INDIANAPOLIS —The Indianapolis Colts finalized their 2018 NFL Draft class on Saturday — and what a haul it was.

By the time the seventh round had ended, the Colts had selected 11 college prospects, representing the largest draft class in team history since the league changed to a seven-round format back in 1994.

It's the most draft picks by the Colts since 1992, when the team had 13 picks in league's 12-round draft — including the No. 1- and 2-overall picks.

"Good weekend. Good weekend for us," second-year Colts general manager Chris Ballard told reporters Saturday evening. "We thought we added some explosive athletes, both offensively and defensively, and we think they can help us moving forward."

The team's 2018 draft class — which includes six offensive and five defensive players — is as follows:

• ROUND 1, PICK 6 (Sixth overall): Quenton Nelson, guard, Notre Dame

• ROUND 2, PICK 4 (36th overall): Darius Leonard, linebacker, South Carolina State

• ROUND 2, PICK 5 (37th overall): Braden Smith, guard, Auburn

• ROUND 2, PICK 20 (52nd overall): Kemoko Turay, defensive end, Rutgers

• ROUND 2, PICK 32 (64th overall): Tyquan Lewis, defensive lineman, Ohio State

• ROUND 4, PICK 4 (104th overall): Nyheim Hines, running back, N.C. State

• ROUND 5, PICK 22 (159th overall): Daurice Fountain, wide receiver, Northern Iowa

• ROUND 5, PICK 32 (169th overall):Jordan Wilkins, running back, Mississippi

• ROUND 6, PICK 11 (185th overall): Deon Cain, wide receiver, Clemson

• ROUND 7, PICK 3 (221st overall): Matthew Adams, linebacker, Houston

• ROUND 7, PICK 17 (235th overall): Zaire Franklin, linebacker, Syracuse

After heading into the draft having already moved down three spots, from No. 3 to No. 6 overall, after a March 17 trade with the New York Jets, Ballard pulled off four more trades in the past two days that ultimately added two more picks to Indy's 2018 haul — one of which resulted in the team trading defensive lineman Henry Anderson, also to the Jets.

Ballard said after the draft's conclusion that "we'll always try to acquire as many picks as we can get."

"The more picks you have, the more shots at the dartboard you have," Ballard said. "It just allows you to get a look – especially in the late rounds – to really take a shot on some guys with some traits that you like, and that's what we were able to do."

The Colts were able to select arguably the top-overall prospect in the entire draft class on Thursday night, when the team elected to stick at No. 6 overall and take Nelson, who is widely regarded as the top offensive line prospect to come out of the college game in about two decades.

But Ballard and the Colts kept the focus on their fronts, both offensively and defensively, the next day, too. With four second-round picks, the team added another guard on offense, as well as two defensive linemen as well as a linebacker who could all prove to be extremely valuable in the team's switch to the 4-3 base front this offseason.

Saturday's final day of the draft, which featured Rounds 4-7, saw the Colts add playmakers at several skill positions, with two selections each at running back and wide receiver, which was music to the ears of new head coach Frank Reich, who will be calling the plays for the offense.

"Now we get all of our players here, and what's really fun for us as an offensive staff is now we can we put faces to the X's and O's on paper, and say, 'Okay, here's these schemes that we have. Who fits where? What personnel groups? How do we get the mismatches that we want?'" Reich told reporters on Saturday.

Now, the Colts will move fast to sign their favorite prospects who did not end up hearing their names called this weekend, as well as invite other undrafted free agents to try out at their rookie minicamp, which is being held May 11-13 at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.

The Colts have seen an undrafted rookie free agent make their Week 1 53-man roster for the past 18 consecutive seasons.

A behind the scenes look at the Colts war room on day one of the 2018 NFL Draft.

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