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INDIANAPOLIS – It’s Senior Bowl week, and we all know how important this evaluation time in Mobile, Alabama is to the Indianapolis Colts.
With Mock Drafts beginning to surface for 2020, it’s time to start up our compilation of those mocks, with the Colts scheduled to pick No. 13 overall in April.
Here is our first Mock Draft look for 2020:
Brugler’s Analysis: The Colts are missing a big-play element in their offense, having produced only three 40-plus-yard receptions in 2019, which ranked next-to-last behind only the Chicago Bears. Part of the blame rests with the quarterback, but adding a talent like Jeudy would certainly help whoever is under center.
Renner’s Analysis: Epenesa lost a bit of steam after his dominant sophomore campaign, but he switched to a different role that asked him to play the run far more than he had before. What we love is his versatility — he lined up inside the tackles on 98 snaps this season.
Middlelhurst-Scwartz’s Analysis: Though Indianapolis has used multiple picks at defensive end in recent years, this might not be an area where the Colts can afford to stand pat, particularly if Jabaal Sheard doesn’t return. At 6-6 and 280 pounds with enough elasticity to snake his way into the backfield, Epenesa offers the kind of package that Chris Ballard might be drawn to.
Wilson’s Analysis: The Colts need to bolster their defensive line — they were 15th against the run and 21th against the pass in ’19, according to Football Outsiders — and Kinlaw is one of the best pass-rushing interior linemen in this draft class.
Walter’s Analysis: You can never have enough dominant pass rushers, and the Colts could opt to use an early draft pick on a successor for Justin Houston. Yetur Gross-Matos registered a ridiculous 20 tackles for loss in 2018. His potential is off the charts.
Miller’s Analysis: Why not a quarterback here? The answer is that general manager Chris Ballard doesn’t seem like the type of evaluator to love the traits of Jordan Love or Jacob Eason, the two best quarterbacks left on the board. At least not in the first round. Ballard knows he can go into 2020 with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback and get consistent yet average play. That might be good enough if the Colts can surround him with better talent at receiver and remain healthier at the skill positions. Henry Ruggs III can be Ballard’s version of Tyreek Hill—a player he found while scouting with the Kansas City Chiefs—but without any issues off the field. He has elite speed and can be a threat stretching the field or working on breaking routes where he’s set up for yards after the catch. Colts fans won’t like this pick, but this is a prediction of what Ballard will do and not what you or I would do as the drafter. Knowing Ballard’s process, I would be shocked to see a quarterback here.
DE-A.J. Epensea (2)
WR-Jerry Jeudy (1)
WR-Henry Ruggs III (1)
DL-Javon Kinlaw (1)
DE-Yetur Gross-Matos (1)
Bowen’s Analysis: The first notable item from these mocks: no quarterbacks being slotted to the Colts at No. 13 overall. Of course, for the Colts to secure a QB in this 2020 Draft, they will likely have to trade up, and you typically don’t see those in mocks. This collection has the Colts taking a wideout or defensive linemen. Both are unquestioned needs. Along the defensive line, Kinlaw would appear to be an immediate plug and play guy at the 3-technique. Epensea has some versatility, although he’s not a definite scheme fit. Gross-Matos is more of a natural end, which is still a need given the age of Justin Houston. When you look at receiver, it follows a similar thinking to last year—it’s a need now in the immediacy AND certainty looking ahead after T.Y. Hilton is another year older and battled some injuries in 2019. I’ll be curious to see how these mocks look in the future if Anthony Castonzo decides to retire.