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Mock Draft Monday

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Experts' Choice: Who Will Colts Pick In 2021 NFL Draft?

The 2021 NFL Draft is finally here, with the first round kicking off tonight at 8 p.m. ET. We take one final look back at what a number of experts believe the Colts will do with the No. 21 overall pick. 

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Months of speculation and subterfuge have brought us, finally, to this point. The NFL Draft starts tonight at 8 p.m. when the Jacksonville Jaguars go on the clock.

The Colts traded their 2020 first round pick to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, and two years ago traded out of the first round with Washington for two second round picks.

So entering tonight, the last time the Colts picked in the first round was 2018, when they selected Quenton Nelson (who, by the way, had his fifth-year option exercised on Wednesday).

We've been rounding up mock drafts for the last few months in our Mock Draft Monday series. So let's look back on those roundups and see which players have been most commonly mocked to the Colts with their first round pick:

  • 10: Miami EDGE Jaelan Phillips
  • 8: Texas OT Sam Cosmi
  • 7: Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw
  • 7: Georgia EDGE Azeez Ojulari
  • 7: Michigan EDGE Kwity Paye
  • 7: Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau
  • 4: Alabama OT Alex Leatherwood
  • 4: Penn State EDGE Jayson Oweh
  • 3: Florida WR Kadarius Toney
  • 2: Alabama DT Christian Barmore
  • 2: Notre Dame OT Liam Eichenberg
  • 2: Ole Miss WR Elijah Moore
  • 2: Purdue WR Rondale Moore
  • 2: USC OL Alijah Vera-Tucker
  • 1: Georgia CB Tyson Campbell
  • 1: South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn
  • 1: Michigan OT Jalen Mayfield
  • 1: TCU S Trevon Moehrig
  • 1: Texas EDGE Joseph Ossai
  • 1: Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

We also saw in these projections trades, with the Colts being projected to trade down with the Saints at No. 28 (twice), and with the Packers at No. 29 (once), but also trading up to No. 16 (to draft Darrisaw) and No. 19 (to draft Cosmi).

Let's take a look at the most recent analysis of each of these players, and why they were mocked to the Colts:

Miami EDGE Jaelan Phillips (10 picks)

Most recent: April 16

Analysis: "Phillips is a tough evaluation due to his medical history, but his talent is worthy of early first-round consideration. If the Colts' medical staff gives general manager Chris Ballard two thumbs up, Phillips could be a steal for a team in need of more juice rushing the passer."

Texas OT Sam Cosmi (8 picks)

Most recent: April 23

Analysis: "The Colts lost Anthony Castonzo to retirement and they should have confidence that the big, tall Cosmi can fill the void in the left tackle for a long time in the same way."

Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw (7 picks)

Most recent: April 13

Analysis: "The Colts find Anthony Castonzo's replacement. Carson Wentz can now take a deep breath."

Georgia EDGE Azeez Ojulari (7 picks)

Most recent: April 24

Analysis: "I expected the Colts to be aggressive seeking their next quarterback in the trade market and they didn't disappoint. The next biggest priority is to continue building their pass rush."

Michigan EDGE Kwity Paye (7 picks)

Most recent: April 24

Analysis: "The Colts are desperate for pass rushers and pass protectors, and they can find the latter in Round 2."

Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau (7 picks)

Most recent: April 21

Analysis: "Rousseau slides a bit but finds a perfect landing spot in Indy as a terrific piece for defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus to mold into a top-tier rusher. Few players have the physical tools Rousseau does and with a little seasoning he could be the best in this class."

Alabama OT Alex Leatherwood (4 picks)

Most recent: April 23

Analysis: "Leatherwood isn't a perfect prospect, and there is some dispute about whether he'd make a better guard than a tackle, but he's experienced, well-coached and enjoyed success against elite competition in the SEC. The Colts could do worse after the retirement of Anthony Castonzo."

Penn State EDGE Jayson Oweh (4 picks)

Most recent: April 19

Analysis: "It'd be great to give the Colts a tackle in the first round, but I don't love the value at this point in the draft. Oweh adds the athleticism that the Colts covet, and he steps in at a position of need along the defensive front.

Oweh took huge strides in the run game, and his legendary pro day featured a 4.38 40-yard dash. He also ranked in the 95th percentile or better in the vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone and short shuttle. Don't worry about Oweh's zero-sack 2020 season; his 86.2 pass-rush grade over the last two years is a better indicator of future pass-rush performance."

Florida WR Kadarius Toney (3 picks)

Most recent: April 15

Analysis: "With T.Y. Hilton heading into his potential Indy swan song, the Colts need to find his replacement. Toney gives them a speed receiver. Indianapolis could also choose to trade up or back in Round 1 and target a left tackle."

Alabama DT Christian Barmore (2 picks)

Most recent: March 19

Analysis: "GM Chris Ballard could opt for cornerback help, but he usually looks to build his fronts. Barmore offers both run-stuffing potential and upfield rush from the interior."

Notre Dame OT Liam Eichenberg (2 picks)

Most recent: April 23

Analysis: "Even after moving down via trade, the Colts land the replacement for long-time left tackle Anthony Castonzo. Eichenberg is viewed as a guard by some, but GM Chris Ballard may have different thoughts; after all, right tackle Braden Smith was projected as an interior linemen when Ballard selected him in the second round in 2018."

Ole Miss WR Elijah Moore (2 picks)

Most recent: April 23

Analysis: "Moore is part possession slot receiver, part dynamic downfield threat. The Colts need more juice in their passing game."

Purdue WR Rondale Moore (2 picks)

Most recent: Feb. 15

Analysis: "Moore is largely a projection at the next level considering how few snaps we saw him fully healthy at Purdue, but his record-breaking 2018 season and jaw-dropping speed, strength and athleticism combination is enough to feel confident in him as a first-round pick."

USC OL Alijah Vera-Tucker (2 picks)

Most recent: March 28

Analysis: "I don't know if he can play left tackle in the NFL, but he should be a long-time starter somewhere on the offensive line."

Georgia CB Tyson Campbell (1 pick)

Most recent: March 9

Analysis: "The Colts have an outstanding cornerback in Xavier Rhodes, but they could use more talent on the other side of the field. Tyson Campbell is a very strong, physical cornerback with great size (6-2, 180)."

South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn (1 pick)

Most recent: April 8

Analysis: "Horn gave up just eight catches on passes thrown in his direction last year, per Pro Football Focus. He has a professional build and competitive spirit. This defense's tone is set by Darius Leonard. Horn would match that fire on the back end."

Michigan OT Jalen Mayfield (1 pick)

Most recent: April 14

Analysis: "The Colts like to trade down and add draft choices. But they need a left tackle after Anthony Castonzo's retirement, and Mayfield has good athleticism for the position."

TCU S Trevon Moehrig (1 pick)

Most recent: March 1

Analysis: "Moehrig is the best safety in the class and the type of solid playmaker that the Colts have built their team with during the Frank Reich/Chris Ballard era. With Malik Hooker a pending free agent, look for the Colts, a team that has used veterans very effectively to build their defense, to go young."

Texas EDGE Joseph Ossai (1 pick)

Most recent: Feb. 8

Analysis: "Joseph Ossai is great at getting to the quarterback from a stand-up linebacker position, and what he lacks in polish he makes up for in athleticism and relentlessness."

Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (1 pick)

Most recent: April 25

Analysis: "At this point, the cream of the OT crop are gone and it can be addressed in the next round, so throw J.O.K. on the same defense as Darius Leonard and DeForest Buckner and enjoy the fireworks."

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