Michael Pittman of USC lining up on the line of scrimmage
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Michael Pittman Jr. (6) of the USC Trojans during a college football game between the UCLA Bruins vs USC Trojans on November 18, 2017 at the Los Angeles memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Claypool, Pittman In Consideration For The Colts At Pick 34

The Indianapolis Colts will have some tough decisions to make between now and their first selection of the 2020 NFL Draft next Friday night.

With two of the first twelve picks in the second round, GM Chris Ballard could go in many different directions. Our own Kevin Bowen sat down on The Ride with JMV to mull over the Colts’ Day 2 options. Regarding the first choice at #34, Bowen said:

“I think if Jordan Love is off the board, I’d go with wideout or tight end. I know that doesn’t maybe fall in line with Chris Ballard’s normal thinking, but to me the depth in this draft is at the receiver position and that matches up to this team’s biggest need as well…I’m making sure that I’m giving that position group a resource that I think is very necessary not only for 2020 but certainly in maybe post-life without T.Y. Hilton.”

So what player does Bowen have in mind?

“I want the big-body wideout,” he told JMV. “Chase Claypool from Notre Dame has been front of mind for me…I think Michael Pittman from USC is a little more polished, a little bit more reliable maybe as kind of a Day 1 wideout than Claypool.”

“If you’re gonna make me pick I’ll go with…Michael Pittman.”

Bowen does see tons of upside in the Notre Dame product, Claypool, who he said excels on special teams and in jump ball situations. Claypool racked up 1,037 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns during his senior campaign. He was one of 23 pass catchers in 2019 to record over 1,000 yards and 10+ TDs. Another guy in that exclusive group? Michael Pittman (1,275 yards/11 TDs).

JMV, referencing Monday’s interview with Charles Arbuckle, acknowledged that:

“Claypool may end up having a higher ceiling, but somebody that can help right away? Philip Rivers and this team offensively at that position, they will need help right away. [Arbuckle] felt that [Pittman] was a dude that can do that and also give Philip Rivers that bigger body that he’s had most of his career in Southern California.”

A key piece to the draft puzzle is the potential for no rookie minicamp or offseason program. Bowen commented:

“When you look at some guys like Claypool – insert some of these project type of players – and it’s too harsh to call Claypool a project, but he’s a bit raw as a complete wideout, is there a hesitancy for teams to draft those guys particularly higher in the draft? I think you’ll see some safer picks happen earlier. If you’re gonna ask me who will be the Day 1-ready wideout, to me Pittman’s got a better chance than Chase Claypool does.”

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