Every Senior Bowl prospect drafted by Colts since 2017

The Senior Bowl is an offseason mile-marker for every team in the NFL, signifying the official start of draft season. However, the Indianapolis Colts put a large significance on the week in Mobile, Alabama.

General manager Chris Ballard hasn’t been shy about his love affair with the Senior Bowl, often citing it as an event to find some diamonds in the rough. Several key players for the Colts were selected in the draft largely due to the Senior Bowl.

Since Ballard took over as general manager in 2017, the Colts have drafted 19 players who participated in the Senior Bowl and several more who signed with the team as undrafted free agents. We can and should expect the Colts to highly value the Senior Bowl as long as Ballard is around.

As the Senior Bowl takes place this week, here’s a look at every participant the Colts have drafted since Ballard’s tenure began in 2017:

2017: OT Zach Banner

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Selection: Round 4 (No. 137 overall)

One of the first misses for the Colts, Banner didn’t pan out at all. His massive frame made him an intriguing prospect, but the Colts waived him before his rookie season even started.

2017: OLB Tarell Basham

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Selection: Round 3 (No. 80 overall)

Basham was a project to begin with considering he didn’t have much experience as a stand-up rusher, and the Colts were running an odd front when he was picked. This selection flamed out early for the Colts as Basham was waived during his second season.

2018: DE Tyquan Lewis

AP Photo/Zach Bolinger

Selection: Round 2 (No. 64 overall)

It took Lewis a bit to find his footing, but he flashed a lot of potential during the last two seasons. Unfortunately, both of them have ended eerily in the exact same way on nearly the exact same date—tearing his patellar tendon.

2018: DE Kemoko Turay

AP Photo/Jeff Bottari

Selection: Round 2 (No. 52 overall)

There was a lot of potential with Turay considering his burst and athleticism. He never quite put it together due to injuries, including a major Achilles tear just when he was showing the most promise early in 2019.

2018: LB Shaquille Leonard

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Selection: Round 2 (No. 36 overall)

One of the best picks Chris Ballard has made during his tenure. Leonard has been the heart of the Colts defense since he was drafted. He’s earned multiple All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections but missed nearly all of 2022 due to a nagging nerve injury.

2019: G/C Javon Patterson

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Selection: Round 7 (No. 246 overall)

Patterson was the final selection for the Colts in this draft class but never got to see the field. He tore his ACL during the offseason workouts, and the team waived him during final roster cuts.

2019: DE Gerri Green

AP Photo/David Dermer

Selection: Round 6 (No. 199 overall)

Green was drafted to be a depth piece and a locker room presence but was waived during final roster cuts of his rookie season.

2019: S Khari Willis

AP Photo/Larry French

Selection: Round 4 (No. 109 overall)

Willis was appearing to be one of the better selections during Chris Ballard’s tenure. He emerged as a starter during his first three NFL seasons but surprisingly retired during the 2022 offseason to pursue ministry.

2019: DE Ben Banogu

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Selection: Round 2 (No. 49 overall)

Another selection that had a lot of potential at the time but never panned out. Banogu’s athleticism is off the charts, but he never quite fit into Matt Eberflus’ scheme for whatever reason. He’s set to be a free agent this offseason.

2019: LB Bobby Okereke

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Selection: Round 3 (No. 89 overall)

Looking back, Okereke was arguably the best selection from this draft class. Though he split time during his first two seasons with Anthony Walker Jr., the last two seasons have featured Okereke as the starting MIKE for the Colts.

2019: CB Rock Ya-Sin

AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith

Selection: Round 2 (No. 34 overall)

Ya-Sin’s first two seasons were pretty up-and-down, but he showed he had a high ceiling. He put it all together during his third campaign, solidifying himself as a starter before the Colts traded him for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue during the 2022 offseason.

2020: DE Robert Windsor

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Selection: Round 6 (No. 211 overall)

Windsor didn’t see much of the field at all. He spent his rookie season on the practice squad and missed his second season due to injury. He announced his retirement from the NFL during the 2022 offseason.

2020: WR Michael Pittman Jr.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Selection: Round 2 (No. 34 overall)

Some may argue Pittman Jr. is better as a 1b, but this selection has gone off mostly without a hitch. He was just one reception shy of becoming the youngest player in franchise history to hit 100 in a season and is likely coming up to a big contract extension soon.

2020: K Rodrigo Blankenship

AP Photo/Joshua Bessex

Selection: Undrafted

Okay, so technically Blankenship wasn’t drafted, but he did sign with the team immediately after the draft and spent two seasons as the starter. However, it all came crashing down in 2022, and he was cut after a disastrous outing in Week 1 of the regular season.

2021: QB Sam Ehlinger

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Selection: Round 6 (No. 218 overall)

Ehlinger was a late-round selection and project for the Colts. They love his athleticism, character and leadership qualities. He didn’t show much promise during his two starts in 2022 but also was thrown into a tough position without much experience.

2021: S Shawn Davis

AP Photo/Matthew Hinton

Selection: Round 5 (No. 165 overall)

Davis was a standout at the Senior Bowl, and the Colts loved his upside. Unfortunately, he was released from the practice squad during the first month of his rookie season.

2021: TE Kylen Granson

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Selection: Round 4 (No. 127 overall)

Granson has been on the roster for the last two seasons and could be a nice piece as a flex tight end. In 30 career games, he has 42 receptions for 408 yards but has yet to find the end zone.

2022: DT Eric Johnson

AP Photo/Butch Dill

Selection: Round 5 (No. 159 overall)

The Senior Bowl put Johnson on the map as a small-school player with high upside. The Colts were the ones to select him on Day 3 of the draft, and he spent the majority of his rookie campaign playing a small depth role in the defensive line room.

2022: OT Bernhard Raimann

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Selection: Round 3 (No. 77 overall)

The Colts hope they have their left tackle of the future in Raimann. He had his share of rookie struggles, but he showed a lot of potential against some extremely tough pass rushers.

2022: WR Alec Pierce

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Selection: Round 2 (No. 53 overall)

Pierce showed plenty of promise during his rookie season. Though he mostly ran as the WR3 behind Michael Pittman Jr. and Parris Campbell, he showed he can be a vertical threat. He finished the season with 41 receptions for 593 yards and two touchdowns.

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire