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INDIANAPOLIS — Decisions, decisions...
For many of us football fanatics, who our chosen NFL teams will pick throughout the NFL Draft process can be a constant source of wonderment.
Along those same lines, today we're beginning the 2020 edition of an annual series in which we take the week to identify who some of the most suitable targets in the NFL Draft for the Indianapolis Colts may be, round by round.
Of course, the Colts no longer have a first-round selection in the upcoming draft after recently sending the No. 13-overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for All-Pro defensive lineman DeForest Buckner. However, the Colts do still have plenty of draft capital, including three picks within the top 75, which could help them trade back up into the first round if any certain prospects began sliding down the draft board and were within their reach.
These aren't the only good options that may be available to the Colts — unexpected players slide every year — but these players are those that I've weighed the likelihood of being available or sliding, along with how these players specifically fit what the Colts normally look for. There are also players that teams will sometimes bend their positional standards to accommodate if they feel that player is special.
Let's start by identifying which draft picks the Colts have and what point value those picks carry, according to the NFL Draft Trade Value Chart. Afterward, we'll explore where the Colts may be able to trade up to if they would like, based on the value chart as well as what those draft picks have cost via trade over the last five years.
Colts' Current Draft Order
- Round 2, Pick 34 (560 points)
- Round 2, Pick 44 (460)
- Round 3, Pick 75 (215)
- Round 4, Pick 122 (50)
- Round 5, Pick 160 (26.2)
- Round 6, Pick 193 (13)
- Round 6, Pick 197 (11.4)
First-Round Trade-Up Scenarios
Based on the trade value chart, the Colts could package the following picks in order to move back up into the first round; so as to not go down any wormholes, we'll stop the offerings at the fourth round, and will also not take into account future draft picks.
However, most teams have their own version of the chart and must do a little give-and-take when bartering with other teams. Below each slot are the draft-day trades (involving only picks) that have been made at that pick over the past five years:
Pick 34 and Pick 44 = Pick 16
- (2018) BUF sent 1:22 and 3:65 to BAL in exchange for 1:16 and 5:154
Pick 34 and Pick 75 = Pick 22
- (2016) WAS sent 1:21 to HOU in exchange for 1:22 and 6:209
- (2018) TEN sent 1:25 and 4:125 to BAL in exchange for 1:22 and 6:215
- (2019) PHI sent 1:25, 4:127 and 6:197 to BAL in exchange for 1:22
Pick 44 and Pick 75 = Pick 27
- (2017) BUF sent 1:10 to KC in exchange for 1:27, 3:91 and 2018-1:22
- (2018) GB sent 1:14 to NO in exchange for 1:27, 5:147 and 2019-1:30
- (2018) SEA sent 1:18 and 7:248 to GB in exchange for 1:27, 3:76 and 6:186
Pick 34 and Pick 122 = Pick 31
- (2016) SEA sent 1:26 to DEN in exchange for 1:31 and 3:94
- (2017) SEA sent 1:26 to ATL in exchange for 1:31, 3:95 and 7:249
- (2017) SF sent 2:34 and 4:111 to SEA in exchange for 1:31
- (2019) ATL sent 1:45 and 3:79 to LAR in exchange for 1:31 and 6:203
Now, for some of the players who could be worth the Colts trading up for.
*The following players are listed alphabetically.
Jeremy Chinn | Safety | Southern Illinois
Chinn is silently near the very top of many people's safety rankings, and those who are unfamiliar with him may be surprised to see how early he is likely to be picked. At 6'3", 221, Chinn is pretty big for a safety, but more athletic than the vast majority of the group. He blew up the Combine in historical fashion, running the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds with a vertical of 41 inches and a broad jump of 138 inches. He's not just a workout warrior, either; his tape shows that this guy can play.
Do the Colts need a starting-level safety this early in the draft? No. But here's two things: first, the Colts don't draft based on what they need; they pick the best players on the board. Second, Chinn's blend of size, speed and explosion makes him an intriguing candidate to be moved around in different spots, so there's a good chance that he's not "just a safety."
Jacob Eason | Quarterback | Washington
Eason has excellent size at nearly 6'6" and 230-plus pounds, and he's got a cannon of an arm to go with it. When he's given time, he can make all the throws, and throws the ball with nice anticipation and accuracy. However, he needs some things ironed out in his game, so giving him some time to develop behind an established starter would be a good idea, hence why he is more of a fringe first-round/second-round pick.
With both Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett only signed for this upcoming season, the Colts need to consider their future at the quarterback position.
Yetur Gross-Matos | Edge Defender | Penn State
Long and lean at 6"5, 266 with nearly 35-inch arms, Gross-Matos has a terrific frame for an edge defender. He shows good explosion and mobility working his way through and around blocks. He shows a good blend of pass-rush moves and natural movement instincts, but he could strengthen up a bit.
The Colts' top defensive end, Justin Houston, is 31 years old and set to be a free agent after the season, and his fellow starter, Jabaal Sheard, remains an unsigned free-agent. The Colts value pass-rush, so expect to see them continue working on it during the draft.
Austin Jackson | Offensive Tackle | USC
Another big-time performer at the Combine, it was made even more impressive considering Jackson's 6'5", 322-pound frame. He's big and mobile, able to cover ground easily with his quick feet, and he mirrors rushers well in pass protection.
Jackson is considered a little bit of a project at tackle, which would be perfect for the Colts. Current left tackle Anthony Castonzo is signed through 2021 and is said to be considering his football future after each season.
Justin Jefferson | Wide Receiver | LSU
Everyone knew about Jefferson's hands and technical abilities during LSU's run to the National Championship, and then he cemented himself as a potential first-round pick when he ran a 4.43 in the 40 at the Combine. That run answered the biggest question that most people had about him, which was his speed, and it was verified on tape when you saw him work downfield.
The Colts need help at receiver after experiencing quite a bit of injuries last year, and now several members of last year's receiving corps have either left in free agency or remain unsigned.
Josh Jones | Offensive Tackle | Houston
Jones is built well at 6'5", 319, and has good athleticism and movement skills to go with it. He gets out on the move very well and is used to blocking for a mobile quarterback. You can tell he's got that "dog" mentality as a lineman as he looks to maul defenders and bring them to the ground, and he's always looking for work.
CeeDee Lamb | Wide Receiver | Oklahoma
Lamb's stock is a little bit of a toss-up. He could very well go in the top-10 and be the first receiver off the board. However, there has been some recent talk online about his technical abilities, so it makes you wonder what teams think in such a loaded class of receivers. If he begins to slip, his size, athleticism, ability to make the spectacular catch and his work ethic to be something endearing to the Colts.
Jordan Love | Quarterback | Utah State
So, the Colts traded away from the 13th pick. Perhaps taking Love that early was a little rich for their taste, but in the 20s or early 30s? At a certain point, it becomes too enticing not to at least consider. Love has playmaking ability, top-notch arm talent and courage, but it may not all come together without the right coaching staff. Love and the Colts have been connected in the media for months, because pairing a guy who has Love's ceiling with a coach like Frank Reich and the rest of the Colts' coaching staff and quarterbacks, that's a situation that could help Love meet his potential.
Denzel Mims | Wide Receiver | Baylor
Not many prospects have had as good of an offseason as Mims. He measured in with great size and performed really well at the Senior Bowl, and then repeated that with a great showing at the Combine. When hitting his tape, it's hard not to come away smitten. He's got the size, athleticism, catch radius and track record on tape to potentially become a team's top receiver in the NFL.
Julian Okwara | Edge Defender | Notre Dame
Okwara was our most recent draft feature, so you may know a bit about him by now. He's got the size (6'4"-1/4, 252, 34-3/8" arms) and athleticism that the Colts look for in draftable defensive ends. He's a bit raw both as a pass rusher and run defender, but that's how the Colts have drafted them the past few years. He's an ascending talent who had big statistical jumps each of his first three seasons, and he might remind Colts fans a bit of recent Colts defensive end draft picks Kemoko Turay and Ben Banogu.