INDIANAPOLIS - After trading the 13th-overall pick for defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, the Indianapolis Colts now initially pick at 34th and 44th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. We take a look at which players the various experts believe will land in Indianapolis with those two second-round picks in this week's Mock Draft Monday.
Here's this week's breakdown by player:
- Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson: 5 selections
- Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado: 5 selections
- Jacob Eason, QB, Washington: 3 selections
- Jordan Love, QB, Utah State: 2 selections (both trade ups into the first round)
- Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State: 1 selection
- Ben Bartch, T, St. John's (Minn.): 1 selection
- Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU: 1 selection
- Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois: 1 selection
- Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame: 1 selection
- Ezra Cleveland, T, Boise State: 1 selection
- Marlon Davidson, DT, Auburn: 1 selection
- Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama: 1 selection
- Jordan Elliott, DT, Missouri: 1 selection
- A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa: 1 selection
- Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia: 1 selection
- Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia: 1 selection
- Robert Hunt, G/T, Louisiana-Lafayette: 1 selection
- Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma: 1 selection
- Austin Jackson, T, USC: 1 selection
- Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU: 1 selection (trade up into first round)
- Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame: 1 selection
- Terrell Lewis, DE, Alabama: 1 selection
- Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor: 1 selection
- Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC: 1 selection
- Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU: 1 selection
Let's get to the mock drafts, sorted by date:
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State & Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
Expert: Charlie Campbell, WalterFootball.com / April 6 (link)
On Aiyuk: "The Colts need a third receiver to go with T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell. Aiyuk had a big jump in production from his junior to senior year, and that helped to land him an invitation to the Senior Bowl. After catching only 33 passes for 474 yards and three scores in 2018, Aiyuk jumped to 65 receptions for 1,192 yards and eight scores as a senior. The 5-foot-11, 201-pounder has quality size to him as well. He could rise in the leadup to the 2020 NFL Draft."
On Chinn: "The Colts grab a strong safety to go with Malik Hooker. Chinn totaled 71 tackles, four interceptions and three passes broken up in 2019. He had a solid week at the Senior Bowl and interviewed well with teams. The 6-foot-3, 219-pounder showed some real speed (4.45) at the combine and has a versatile skill set. Teams view him as being a potential hybrid safety linebacker who can do a lot of different things for a defense."
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Expert: Dan Kadar, SBNation / April 6 (link)
Note: Kadar did not do a second-round mock draft, but did project the Colts acquiring the 27th-overall pick from the Seattle Seahawks and taking Love.
On Love: "Sure, the Colts went out and acquired Philip Rivers, but he's only on a one-year contract. Colts general manager Chris Ballard could get aggressive to snag a potential future franchise quarterback. It should come as no surprise, however, to see Seattle drop out of the first round."
Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado & Austin Jackson, T, USC
Expert: Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports / April 6 (link)
On Shenault: "If Shenault is healthy he's a game-changer. He plays faster than he timed at the combine and Philip Rivers will find a way to get him the ball in Indy."
On Jackson: "Anthony Castonzo and Braden Smith have contracts that expire after 2021 and there's no experienced depth behind them. Jackson is a polarizing player in this class but his upside is undeniable."
Jacob Eason, QB, Washington & Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
Expert: Luke Easterling, The Draft Wire / April 4 (link)
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson & Robert Hunt, G/T, Louisiana-Lafayette
Expert: Josh Edwards, CBS Sports / April 3 (link)
On Higgins: "Indianapolis adds a big body to take some pressure off of T.Y. Hilton. Philip Rivers gets another weapon."
On Hunt: "Hunt played right tackle last season but projects as an offensive guard. Indianapolis gets a really gifted player in the second round."
Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama & Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Expert: Walter Cherepinksy, WalterFootball.com / April 2 (link)
On Diggs: "The Colts lost Pierre Desir this offseason, and yet they already needed cornerback help. They'll need to address this position in the second round. Trevon Diggs, younger brother of Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs, began as a receiver at Alabama, but was tremendous last season at cornerback before suffering a foot injury."
On Mims: "The Colts will need to add a receiver to go along with T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell."
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State & Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
Expert: Kevin Hanson, MMQB / April 2 (link)
Note: Hanson projected the Colts acquiring the 31st-overall pick from the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for the 34th- and 122nd-overall picks, as well as a 2021 fourth-round pick, and selecting Love; he has the Colts selecting Shenault with their 44th-overall pick.
On Love: "Without any picks from Rounds 2 to 4, the 49ers will likely look for a trade-down partner to acquire more draft capital. For the Colts, moving up a few spots to get the fifth-year option on a high-upside prospect like Love makes sense as they can be patient with him. Described by one NFL head coach as a "poor man's (Patrick) Mahomes," Love has a live arm, plus mobility and improvisational skills."
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson & Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
Expert: Stephen Holder, The Athletic / April 2 (link; subscription required)
On Higgins: "Whether Higgins is available at this spot is very much an open question. He has tantalizing play-making ability and makes the jump to the NFL after a productive career (27 touchdown receptions). But for our purposes, we're going to bank on Higgins' questionable speed and athletic testing being a detriment that might knock him into Day 2 of the draft. A bummer for Higgins but, potentially, a win for Indianapolis. Higgins is exactly the receiver the Colts lack: A big body who can play outside and make contested catches while also possessing the ability to be a consistent deep threat. The Colts were seeking this kind of skill set when they signed Devin Funchess in free agency last spring, only to see him sustain a season-ending injury in Week 1. Here, we have a player with comparable size (6 foot 4, 216 pounds) but, arguably, more explosive potential than Funchess (who recently signed with the Packers after his one-year contract expired). Higgins has drawn comparisons to players like A.J. Green of the Bengals, and the parallels are certainly there. Watch him and you also might see shades of Courtland Sutton, who has quickly become a star for the Broncos. Another borderline first-round receiver is Denzel Mims, a player the Colts have been connected to. Both could fill the role of an "X" receiver, who typically occupies the outside spot on the wide side of the field. But if both were available at this spot, my preference is Higgins. Why? He has a couple of dimensions in his game that Mims does not, including the ability to generate more yards after the catch and break tackles, as well as potentially elite body control. The latter characteristic, combined with his size, is going to allow Higgins to make the kind of tough catches he must against tight NFL man-to-man coverage. We can't overlook Higgins' biggest knock: His pedestrian athleticism. He ran in the mid-4.5's in the 40-yard dash at his pro day and his 31-inch vertical jump will produce yawns. But watch his play and it's difficult to argue that any of these realities severely limited him. Let's see if he can continue to overcome them as a pro."
On Eason: "Look, you're not getting a perfect quarterback prospect in the second round. Instead, what you're looking for is a raw player with a huge upside (think Lamar Jackson) or a player who has some established, elite qualities that you can build around. Eason is the latter of those two types. His arm strength and size are prototypical. At a hair under 6-6 and 231 pounds, Eason looks the part. On the field, when he's slinging deep balls, Eason sends your imagination into overdrive. Then there are the areas where he is lacking. You'd like to see more consistency in his accuracy, for example. He was completing more than 70 percent of his attempts through five games in 2019. But he finished the season with a 64.2-percent completion rate after some uneven performances later in the year. Eason also has athletic limitations that will define him as a pocket passer, reducing a team's ability to try many of the newer quarterback concepts we're seeing in today's NFL. But if you consider the fact that Colts coach Frank Reich just pushed to seal a deal with Philip Rivers – one of the least mobile quarterbacks in the NFL – perhaps this isn't a problem in the Colts offense. Even with freakishly athletic Andrew Luck at his disposal, Reich didn't go to great lengths to implement Luck's running ability into his play-calling. The bottom line with Eason is this: If you're looking for a quarterback who can develop, why not opt for one who is skilled at doing the primary thing in the position's job description? Eason has the big arm and that gives him a chance to succeed at the next level. Before moving on, a quick note. There was some temptation here to go with Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma. He is a wild card in this draft because he has such unique athleticism and underrated quarterbacking skills. It would be interesting to see what Reich could cook up with such a player, especially given his revelation this week that he's contemplating using Jacoby Brissett in select RPO (run-pass option) situations. Point is, maybe we shouldn't rule out Hurts, even though I'm going with Eason."
Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma & Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
Expert: Matt Miller, Bleacher Report / April 1 (link)
Jacob Eason, QB, Washington & Ben Bartch, T, St. John's (Minn.)
Expert: Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports / April 1 (link)
On Eason: "The Colts plan for the future at the quarterback spot with Philip Rivers playing on a one-year deal in 2020."
On Bartch: "Surprise! Bartch is a technician in pass protection and has a legit NFL offensive tackle frame. At the very least, he can slide inside to guard."
Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia & Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
Expert: DraftTek.com / March 31 (link)
On Hall: "Breaking with his first years with regards to Free Agency, GM Chris Ballard has made the most of the 2020 version for Indianapolis. With the defense now adding premier DT DeForest Buckner and CB Xavier Rhodes, the Colts may now be able to focus on some offensive skill players (WR) and depth for the Offensive Line. However, in this CMD, my original target for pick #34, Denzel Mims, has already been selected and the remaining choices at WR don't really appeal to me. Therefore, Indy enhances depth at CB. Rhodes won't be around for a super-long time, and Ballard has intimated that there's never enough CB's on the roster. While the selection of Bryce Hall may appear a bit high, he's well-rounded, versatile, and familiar with playing many defensive coverages during his career for the Cavaliers. Plus, he's physical. Indy needs aggressive-tackling CB's who flock to the ball --not just a shut-down corner in press-man. I will reiterate; don't be surprised if Ballard and the Colts put together a trade offer to move back into RD1 for a shot at one of the top wideouts."
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson & Terrell Lewis, DE, Alabama
Expert: Joe Marino, The Draft Network / March 30 (link)
Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC & Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
Expert: Todd McShay, ESPN / March 30 (link; ESPN Insider access required)
On Pittman Jr.: "After trading out of Round 1, this pick is pretty important for the Colts. And with quarterback Philip Rivers on a one-year, go-for-it deal, GM Chris Ballard has to find the veteran a reliable pass-catcher. Pittman can flash in the vertical game, find pockets in coverage and adjust his body in motion to make the catch."
On Kmet: "Finally, a tight end comes off the board. The Colts already have Jack Doyle in the locker room, but they also lost Eric Ebron, and Philip Rivers loves finding his tight ends. Kmet can make the tough, contested catches."
Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado & Ezra Cleveland, T, Boise State
Expert: Chad Reuter, NFL.com / March 26 (link)
Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU & A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
Expert: Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports / March 25 (link)
On Reagor: "Reagor looked a bit too bulky at the combine, but his open-field juice could give this offense a boost."
On Epenesa: "GM Chris Ballard is nothing if not an opportunist. Landing a sliding Epenesa, who fits a need, would be savvy."
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson & Marlon Davidson, DT, Auburn
Expert: Danny Kelly, The Ringer / March 25 (link)
On Higgins "Fluid big-play threat who separates late and catches everything in his area code. ... Higgins is a big, confident wideout with a massive catch radius and exceptional focus on contested passes. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound junior caught 59 passes for 1,167 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2019, eclipsing his 936-yard, 12-touchdown line from the season prior. He's a dangerous deep threat who averaged 19.8 yards per reception last season―good for 13th among FBS players―and uses his long arms, strong hands, and top-tier body control to reach out over defenders and pluck passes out of the air. Higgins isn't super sudden and doesn't possess elite speed, but he has quick feet to beat press coverage and wins with his ability to separate late in his routes; he understands leverage and how to keep defenders on his hip until the ball arrives. He has dependable hands, with just six drops on 120 catchable passes in the past two seasons, per PFF."
On Davidson: "Burly, physical defensive lineman who brings inside/outside flexibility and a tone-setting tenacity to the field. ... Davidson is built like a beer keg with a broad chest, a thick lower half, and long arms. He was a four-year impact player for the Tigers, starting all 51 games he played in, and racked up 7.5 sacks 2019. Davidson offers intriguing schematic versatility―he packs the power (and mass) of a defensive tackle but frequently played as an end at Auburn―and recently told reporters at the combine that his favorite part of football is that he "can literally go out there and hit a man consistently, and pound him, and the police won't come." He's an active, tenacious hand-fighter who never stops attacking and keeps his feet churning. Tight ends and backs can't block him. He gives full effort chasing plays down the line and in the second level. And he looks to dole out punishment to ball carriers. Davidson brings good lateral quickness and is able to impact the quarterback on stunts and twists, and he blocked three kicks in 2018. Davidson offers positional flexibility, but he lacks the quick-twitch explosiveness and bend to consistently threaten the edge in the pros and will be a work in progress as a nickel interior rusher. The former Tiger feasted on lesser competition in 2019, but was a standout at the Senior Bowl, regularly blasting past offensive linemen who tried to block him."
Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU & Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Expert: Robby Esch, The Huddle Report / March 24 (link)
Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Expert: R.J. White, CBS Sports / March 24 (link)
Note: White did not do a second-round mock draft, but did project the Colts acquiring the 27th-overall pick from the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for the 34th- and 75th-overall picks.
On Jefferson: "With the receiver run seemingly about to begin, the Colts trade No. 34 and No. 75 for this pick and No. 133 to hop the pack for the excellent Jefferson to complement T.Y. Hilton."
Jordan Elliott, DT, Missouri & Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
Expert: Dane Brugler, The Athletic / March 4 (link; subscription required)