Colts’ 7-round mock draft post NFL combine
The 2023 NFL Scouting Combine has come and gone, which means it’s time to roll out another seven-round mock draft for the Indianapolis Colts.
With the majority of athletic testing numbers assigned to hundreds of prospects, the Colts will have a better idea of what type of athletes they are dealing with in this class.
But as we know with the Colts, the interviews and face-to-face meetings with these prospects are just as important as their production and measurements. Unfortunately, that’s a side of the draft process we get little insight into.
So with the combine now behind us, here’s an updated look at a seven-round mock for the Colts using Pro Football Network’s mock draft simulator:
Round 1 | No. 4 overall
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The Pick: QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
In this simulation, both Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud went ahead of the Colts. There is still a major question regarding whether Indy will pull the trigger on a trade up to the No. 1 spot but if the reported asking price is true, it’s difficult to see Chris Ballard making that kind of move.
Instead, the Colts sit at No. 4 and let the prospect with the highest upside fall to them. It’s entirely possible a team will trade up in front of the Colts for Richardson after he crushed the combine. There are also teams who may express caution in going all-in for a prospect like Richardson.
The Colts have the means and staff to develop the most polarizing prospect in the draft. New head coach Shane Steichen has had success with just about every type of quarterback, and the Colts have a close relationship with 3DQB’s Tom House and Adam Dedeaux.
The plan? Let Steichen maximize Richardson’s athleticism and rushing ability to create an efficient RPO offense while the rookie continues to perfect his craft and mechanics with the throwing gurus.
This pick will define the remainder of Ballard’s tenure with the Colts. He needs to shoot for upside.
Round 2 | No. 44 overall (from ATL)
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*Trade: No. 35 overall to Atlanta Falcons for Nos. 44 and 110 overall*
The Pick: iOL John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota
It’s not a Chris Ballard draft until a trade-back happens. After sitting put at No. 4, we traded back to grab an extra pick in the fourth round. At this new spot, Indy potentially gets Ryan Kelly’s successor at center.
Schmitz is going to be a very popular pick early in the second round. He was a standout at the Senior Bowl, which checks a major box, and he brings above-average athleticism. Perhaps most importantly, Schmitz has experience making calls at the line of scrimmage, which would be huge for a potential rookie starter.
Though his arm length leaves a bit to be desired, Schmitz posted one of the best short shuttle times (4.56) in the draft class. That’s a strong predictor of success for offensive linemen in the NFL.
Regardless of what happens with Kelly’s contract, Schmitz could be pretty high on the team’s board.
Round 3 | No. 79 overall (from WAS)
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The Pick: CB Julius Brents, Kansas State
An Indy native and Warren Central alum, Brents feels like a perfect fit for the Colts. Gus Bradley’s defense is returning for another season, and Brents fits perfectly as a boundary corner. We still don’t know what the future holds for Kenny Moore II, who could be a trade candidate, but the Colts need to add to the room regardless.
Brents may lack elite speed, but he has the size, length and route recognition from zone coverage the Colts like to see. He measured in at 6-foot-3 and 198 pounds with 34-inch arms while posting a 41.5-inch vertical and 11’6″ in the broad jump.
He’s an incredible athlete with size and length while fitting into Bradley’s zone-heavy scheme.
Round 4 | No. 106 overall
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The Pick: EDGE Zach Harrison, Ohio State
I won’t argue with anyone who believes the Colts will add to the edge rusher group before Day 3. There’s also a chance Harrison is off the board before the fourth round. But he was available in this mock, and he would be a fantastic depth addition to the defensive end room.
Athletically, Harrison checks nearly all of the boxes Chris Ballard covets in edge rushers. At 6-foot-5 and 274 pounds, Harrison measured in with freaky 36-inch arms and an 85-inch wingspan. He didn’t test so we don’t know what his 40-yard dash and 10-yard split look like—Ballard typically targets edge rushers with sub-1.70s in the 10-yard split.
If the Colts wanted to move Kwity Paye to the LEO position to maximize his pass-rushing upside, they could have a solid duo of Dayo Odeyingbo and Harrison rotating at the strong side edge, which typically gets a boost in run support.
Round 4 | No. 110 overall (from ATL)
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The Pick: WR Jonathan Mingo, Mississippi
While the measurables may point to Mingo profiling as a boundary receiver, he’s more prone to playing in the slot. With the futures of pending free agents Parris Campbell and Ashton Dulin still up in the air as of this writing, the Colts need to look at additions for their incoming rookie quarterback.
With the Build-A-Ballard stamp of approval from Zach Hicks, Mingo would be an intriguing option to take over the slot role with Alec Pierce and Michael Pittman Jr. working on the outside—even if Campbell is re-signed. Mingo can be a mismatch in the slot given his size and elite athleticism. He measured in at 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds while posting a 4.46 in the 40-yard dash and a 39.5-inch vertical.
He wasn’t uber-productive at Ole Miss, his calling card isn’t going to be elite route running. But he has the physicality, speed and run-after-catch ability that would fit perfectly in Shane Steichen’s scheme.
Round 5 | No. 140 overall
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The Pick: iOL Jon Gaines II, UCLA
After adding to the interior offensive line earlier, we go back to the well on Day 3. Gaines may not be the most polished prospect, but he’s incredibly athletic while bringing the type of football IQ the Colts would love to add as a depth piece and potential starter at guard.
Gaines played at all three offensive line spots at UCLA and tested incredibly well at the combine. Measuring in at 6-foot-3 and 303 pounds with 33.5-inch arms, Gaines is a bit undersized. But he moves extremely well, evident from his elite 4.45 in the short shuttle. His 32.5-inch vertical was tied for the best among interior offensive linemen while his 1.73 in the 10-yard split was the second-best.
Gaines will need to develop further skills with his consistency as a pass protector, but he’s the type of athlete to bet on with a Day 3 pick.
Round 5 | No. 164 overall
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The Pick: LB Anfernee Orji, Vanderbilt
The fates of pending free agents Bobby Okereke and E.J. Speed have yet to be revealed, but the Colts are likely looking to add some athletic depth to the linebacker room, regardless. Orji checks a lot of boxes in both athleticism and makeup that will pique the Colts’ interest.
A three-year captain and starter at Vanderbilt, Orji would bring the type of elite athleticism and aggressive mentality the Colts would like in a Day 3 pick. At 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds with 32-inch arms, Orji posted a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash and a 38.5-inch vertical jump.
He would likely start out on special teams where he could easily carve out a vital role from the jump while competing for a depth spot in he linebacker room behind Shaquille Leonard and Zaire Franklin, assuming Okereke and Speed sign elsewhere in free agency.
Round 7 | No. 223 overall
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The Pick: iDL Tyler Lacy, Oklahoma State
Ballard loves to add depth to the interior defensive line with Day 3 picks. With spots open behind DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart, this position could be higher on the priority list than the seventh round.
Lacy seems like the type of athlete the Colts would target. At 6-foot-4 and 279 pounds, Lacy is undersized for a three-technique. But he has 33 1/4-inch arms and massive hands (10 7/8 inches). He’s a solid athlete who could be an intriguing addition as a one-gap pass rusher from the interior or a depth piece at strong-side defensive end.
Round 7 | No. 238 overall (from TB)
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The Pick: WR Elijah Higgins, Stanford
Higgins’ teammate, Michael Wilson, may get more hype as a prospect, but there are few who have the athletic traits of the former. At 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, Higgins ran a 4.54 in the 40-yard dash. That’s a 95-percentile speed score, which is adjusted for height and weight. Some teams may want to move Higgins to tight end, and the Colts need to add as many playmakers as possible for their incoming rookie quarterback.