Who Are The Colts' 'Premium Players' In The NFL Draft?

Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard said his staff has identified as many as eight non-quarterback prospects that they consider to be “premium players” in the 2018 NFL Draft class. Who are they? We take a guess.

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INDIANAPOLIS —Just which eight prospects compile Chris Ballard's list of non-quarterback "premium players" in this year's NFL Draft?

We'll likely never know the exact list; we'll get at least an idea on Thursday night, however, when the Indianapolis Colts go on the clock with the No. 6-overall pick, and in subsequent media sessions with the second-year Colts general manager.

But thanks to a multitude of draft pundits elsewhere, we can certainly get a good idea which players might be on the Colts' list.

Ballard on Friday, in his pre-draft press conference, discussed the Colts' desire to land one of those "premium players" whenever they pick in the first round, whether that's at No. 6 overall or if the team ultimately decides to trade back a few spots.

Of the latter option, Ballard said: "Are we open to it? Yes, we're open to it. Will we do it? I think it just depends on how far back we'd be willing to move."

Simple math — eight prospects on the Colts' list, plus the four quarterbacks expected to go early in the first round — indicates Indianapolis will likely be willing to trade down no further than No. 12 overall. That pick currently belongs to the Buffalo Bills, a team that just happens to be rumored to be in the market for a young quarterback.

The Colts, of course, already moved down from No. 3 to No. 6 overall after a March 17 trade with the New York Jets that also netted Indianapolis three additional second round picks — two this year, and one next year. Ballard said at that time, the team had already identified four non-QB "premium players" that it would feel comfortable selecting with the sixth pick.

But since that time, Ballard and his scouting staff have added four more names to that list; prospects that "we think makes an impact and a difference for our team on game day. Makes game winning plays for us. Guys that on Monday and Tuesday, the other team is game planning," Ballard said.

So just who are those eight "premium players" for the Colts? Colts.com took a look around the web at various league experts' draft boards, and found their Top 8 non-quarterback prospects:

NFL.com (click here for the full list):
1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

  1. Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
  1. Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
  1. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia State
  1. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
  1. Da'ron Payne, DT, Alabama
  1. Vita Vea, DT, Washington
  1. Derwin James, S, Florida State

————————

ESPN(click here for the full list):
1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

  1. Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
  1. Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
  1. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
  1. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
  1. Derwin James, S, Florida State
  1. Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
  1. Vita Vea, DT, Washington

————————

CBS Sports (click here for the full list):
1. Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State

  1. Derwin James, S, Florida State
  1. Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
  1. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
  1. Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
  1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
  1. Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
  1. Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

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Pro Football Focus(click here for the full list):
3. Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

  1. Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
  1. Derwin James, S, Florida State
  1. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
  1. Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
  1. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
  1. Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
  1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

————————

USA TODAY Sports(click here for the full list):
1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

  1. Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
  1. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
  1. Derwin James, S, Florida State
  1. Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
  1. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
  1. Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
  1. Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

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Drafttek.com(click here for the full list):
2. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

  1. Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
  1. Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
  1. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
  1. Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
  1. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
  1. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
  1. Derwin James, S, Florida State

————————

NFLDraftScout.com(click here for the full list):
1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Virginia Tech

  1. Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
  1. Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
  1. Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
  1. Derwin James, S, Florida State
  1. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
  1. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
  1. Vita Vea, DT, Washington
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