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:
- Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State: 4 selections
- Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson: 3 selections
- Jordan Love, QB, Utah State: 3 selections (one trade up into first round)
- Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame: 2 selections
- Jacob Eason, QB, Washington: 2 selections
- Robert Hunt, G/T, Louisiana-Lafayette: 2 selections
- Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame: 2 selections
- Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor: 2 selections
- Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC: 2 selections
- Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU: 1 selection
- Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois: 1 selection
- Ezra Cleveland, T, Boise State: 1 selection
- Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama: 1 selection
- A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa: 1 selection
- Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma: 1 selection
- Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State: 1 selection (trade up into first round)
- Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia: 1 selection
- Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma: 1 selection
- Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn: 1 selection
- Terrell Lewis, DE, Alabama: 1 selection
- Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU: 1 selection
- Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado: 1 selection
- John Simpson, G, Clemson: 1 selection
Let's get to the mock drafts, sorted by date:
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State & Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
Expert: Dane Brugler, The Athletic / April 13 (link; subscription required)
On Love: "There is a good chance a team trades into the first round to draft Love, but that could be the Colts or he could fall to them in the second round, giving the organization a quarterback succession plan for the future."
On Pittman: "Of all the picks in this mock draft, this might be my favorite fit. The Colts are looking for players with high football character and Pittman also fits the mold of the power forward receiver who can outrebound the football downfield."
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State & Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
Expert: Charlie Campbell, WalterFootball.com / April 13 (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."
Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor & Robert Hunt, G/T, Louisiana-Lafayette
Expert: Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports / April 13 (link)
On Mims: "Mims is a big, fast playmaker who will shine in a Philip Rivers-led offense."
On Hunt: "Hunt played right tackle in college but he'll likely kick inside at the next level."
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State & Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
Expert: Luke Easterling, The Draft Wire / April 11 (link)
Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor & Robert Hunt, G/T, Louisiana-Lafayette
Expert: Josh Edwards, CBS Sports / April 10 (link)
On Mims: "Indianapolis adds another weapon for Philip Rivers. He has a reliable set of hands and a big body that presents mismatches down the field."
On Hunt: "Hunt is rising in the eyes of many. He has been present in my top 50 prospects for awhile. His future along the interior offensive line is bright."
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State & Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
Expert: Kevin Hanson, MMQB / April 9 (link)
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State & Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
Expert: Danny Kelly, The Ringer / April 8 (link)
On Love: "Dynamic signal-caller with a flick-of-the-wrist throwing style, good touch, and plenty of athleticism―but big questions around his decision-making and ball security. ... Love is as big of a traits-based prospect as we'll see in this draft. The 6-foot-3, 224-pound quarterback has prototypical size, athleticism, and a strong arm but took a massive step back statistically this year (partially due to a coaching change and a lack of surrounding talent). He tossed 20 touchdowns to 17 interceptions after posting a 32-to-6 touchdown-to-interception line the season prior. But his skill set and potential ceiling as a passer are sure to intrigue a few teams―and it's notable that less-than-impressive final stat lines didn't cause Josh Allen or Daniel Jones to fall too far in recent years. Love has showed off flashes of incredible touch and precise ball placement to every level of the field while operating primarily in a shotgun offense; he has the ability to manipulate defenders with his eyes; he has a pretty, catchable deep ball; and he shows willingness to attempt tight-window throws against one-on-one coverage. He throws well on the move, and when plays break down, he has the athleticism to pick up yards on the ground (he ran for 403 yards and scored nine touchdowns in three seasons at Utah State). Love can strafe, backpedal, and keep himself in a throwing posture while avoiding the rush in a muddied pocket, and he never seems fazed―even when the gates of hell apparently open up in the stands. That said, Love's big plays are too often punctuated by poor ones. His ball placement is erratic at times, which is a trait that could get him in trouble. He has the ability to toggle through throws of varying velocity, but there were times when his default was to loft up a rainbow when a bullet throw was necessary. Overall, Love created far too many turnovers, and appeared to predetermine his targets while ignoring coverages."
On Igbinoghene: "Sticky cover corner with easy speed, lightning-quick feet, and a scrappy, physical style. ... Igbinoghene has a compact, muscular frame with fluid athleticism and springy agility. A big-time receiver recruit coming out of high school (and the son of a pair of former Olympic track athletes), the Tigers star moved to defense after his freshman season and quickly showed that he could thrive on that side of the ball. Igbinoghene plays with a physical style and tenacious mind-set, always trying to make things as difficult as possible for his opponent. He's patient in press, clearly confident in his ability to flip his hips and stick close to his assignment in trailing coverage. He also plays with a low center of gravity and strong balance, relying on good knee bend and nimble feet to mirror and chase. He shows quick-twitch reaction time to click and close on underneath routes. On deep throws, Igbinoghene has the ability to plant himself into his opponent's hip pocket. He uses his hands to disrupt timing and knock the ball away at the catch point, and he's generally a good run defender―even if he must learn to wrap up more consistently. Igbinoghene lacks experience at the cornerback position, with just two seasons of starting experience, and that rawness shows up at times. He's still developing a feel for reading route combinations, playing with proper footwork techniques, and consistently finding the ball in the air. Igbinoghene notched just one interception in his Auburn career (in 2018), but did rack up 18 passes defensed. His lack of length could pigeonhole him into a slot role for some teams, but he has the athletic traits and competitiveness to play outside. He also adds kick return value, with nine returns for 317 yards (35.2 average) and a score on campus."
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State & Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma
Expert: Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports / April 8 (link)
On Aiyuk "Aiyuk gives the Colts a young, downfield weapon for Philip Rivers."
On Gallimore: "With Gallimore, the Colts get a disruptive force on the interior of their defensive line. Much needed."
Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama & Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
Expert: Walter Cherepinksy, WalterFootball.com / April 7 (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 Claypool: "The Colts will need to add a receiver to go along with T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell."
Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
Expert: R.J. White, CBS Sports / April 7 (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, and then selecting Gross-Matos.
On Gross-Matos: "The Colts trade No. 34 and No. 75 for this pick and No. 133 to climb up the board and land the last first-round talent at defensive end, someone with plenty of untapped upside."
Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia & John Simpson, G, Clemson
Expert: DraftTek.com / April 7 (link)
On Hall: "This would be a really interesting spot for GM Chris Ballard to find himself in should the selections play out according to this CMD. Though Indy could really use a Guard to eventually slide in for aging vet Mark Glowinski, would pick #34 go to the OG from Oregon (Shane Lemieux), or another CB to learn under (and eventually replace) free agent acquisition Xavier Rhodes? There are several CBs to be considered here, but I still lean towards Hall because of his scheme versatility while at Virginia. He's also a hitter and has the height and length Ballard covets for his defensive players. With just two signed starters at WR, it won't be a surprise if Ballard tries to throw in a RD1 pick from next year into the mix so he can move up and snag a top-caliber WR in RD1. Or, he believes that patience (and trading back) is a virtue and goes after more depth-caliber talent at CB, OG, and WR."
On Simpson: "Once again for Indy in RD2 they'll have the task of deciding on packaging a trade back into RD1 or go for depth and potential starter-caliber talent at a number of positions, including OG. Although all 5 starters return for the Colts up front on offense, Glowinski is the most likely to be in his final year as a starter. Can a guy like John Simpson be the Ballard pick, or will he settle for a potential "diamond-in-the-rough" at wide-receiver with prospects like Brandon Aiyuk, Tyler Johnson, or Michael Pittman? Simpson's rags-to-riches story is well worth a read before Draft Day."
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."
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)
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."
Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU & Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Expert: Robby Esch, The Huddle Report / March 24 (link)