Finally, after months of sifting through mock drafts, it's time for the actual draft.
No more predictions, no more educated guess, no more "what if this happens" scenarios. It's always hard to nail a mock draft, but in 2023, it seems even more of an inexact science with so much uncertainty as to what'll happen Thursday night.
"Just look at the mock drafts and tell me how accurate they are after the draft," Colts general manager Chris Ballard said. "Nobody knows. Nobody is giving out information."
So a disclaimer before we dive into this: Nobody knows what the Colts will do. Nobody knows what the Texans or Cardinals do, either, and we won't be sure of the Panthers' decision on the No. 1 overall pick until a little after 8 p.m. Thursday.
And: Ballard and the Colts' front office do not let information leave the walls of the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. Anyone who claims to know the Colts' thinking almost certainly does not actually know the Colts' thinking.
"There's always a new rumor that comes up every day," Ballard said. "I have a great deal of trust of our internally of our people. They know — we're very open with information for a reason, that's how you grow. And I think that everybody can grow with more information, you're able to see how decisions are being made. That's how you grow.
"But that comes with great responsibility and with that responsibility is nothing gets out. I'm pretty confident that our information is staying in house. Especially with some of the stuff I hear, I know it's staying in house."
Here at Colts.com, though, we aggregated 136 mock drafts over the last few weeks, so we have CVS-length receipts detailing what various experts believe will happen when the Colts go on the clock in this year's NFL Draft. Our cutoff here is anything that happened after the Panthers traded up to No. 1 in early March.
Some of those mock drafts included projections on the Colts' second- and third-round picks (Nos. 35 and 79 overall, respectively), so we'll include those too.
Let's start with the first round. The Colts have the No. 4 overall pick, and 114 of those 136 mock drafts have the Colts staying at four. Twenty mocks had the Colts trading up to No. 3 with the Arizona Cardinals; one (from NFL Network's Peter Schrager) had the Colts trading up to No. 2 with the Houston Texans, and one other had the Colts trading down to No. 7 with the Las Vegas Raiders (from Pro Football Focus' Brad Spielberger).
Seven players were mocked to the Colts at least once in the first round. Those seven, listed in alphabetical order:
- Alabama DE Will Anderson Jr.
- Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez
- Kentucky QB Will Levis
- Florida QB Anthony Richardson
- Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud
- Texas Tech DE Tyree Wilson
- Alabama QB Bryce Young
The second and third round projections are more all over the board, as you'd expect with 34 and 78 picks occurring before the Colts go on the clock on Day 2. Last year, the most-mocked player to the Colts in the second round was tackle Bernhard Raimann...who the Colts took in the third round. The second-most mocked player was quarterback Carson Strong, who went undrafted. And only two experts got the Colts' second-round pick right in projecting it'd be wide receiver Alec Pierce.
So consider this more of a way to get acquainted with some of the names you'll hear Friday night more than an actual prediction of what'll happen. Anyways, here's who was projected multiple times to Colts in the second and third rounds:
- Maryland CB Deonte Banks
- Alabama S Jordan Battle
- Kansas State CB Julius Brents
- Army DE Andre Carter II
- Houston WR Nathaniel Dell
- North Carolina WR Josh Downs
- Boston College WR Zay Flowers
- Mississippi State CB Emmanuel Forbes
- Notre Dame DE Isaiah Foskey
- Ohio State DE Zach Harrison
- Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt
- Ohio State OT Dawand Jones
- Texas A&M S Antonio Johnson
- Iowa State DE Will McDonald IV
- Oklahoma WR Marvin Mims
- South Carolina DT Zacch Pickens
- Alabama CB Eli Ricks
- Georgia CB Kelee Ringo
- South Carolina CB Darius Rush
- Arkansas LB Drew Sanders
- Minnesota iOL John Michael Schmitz
- Alabama LB Henry To'o To'o
- Florida iOL O'Cyrus Torrence
If you're interested in seeing whose dart throws landed on a bullseye after the NFL Draft, head over to the final installment of our Mock Draft Monday series here.
A look at Daniel Jeremiah's final top 100 draft prospects prior to tonight's 2023 NFL Draft.