In the second of a series of offseason reviews looking at the Colts moves Steve Ovenden (@HappyHappySteve) takes a look at the NFL Draft
After a solid performance with Free Agency, the Colts turned their attention to the Draft. With nine picks, there was plenty to work with to improve the team even further. A vital element this year was to address the depth at skill positions and address this problem they did. The first four picks consisted of a Wide Receiver, Running Back, Quarterback and a Safety. A great show of intent by the Colts to prove they are looking to improve now and safeguard their future.
The Colts originally had a first round pick but used it in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers to sign DeForest Buckner. Indy’s first and second picks came in the second round at number 34 and 41. Let us look at those first four picks.
Pick 34 – Michael Pittman Jnr – Wide Receiver – USC
With their first available pick, Indy went straight to a position of need. With T.Y Hilton struggling to stay fit during last season, it became evident that the Receiving corps needed improvement. The solution for the Colts was to recruit 6-foot-4 Pittman Jnr. Pittman Jnr is coming off an impressive 2019 season, finishing with 101 receptions for 1,275 yards with 11 touchdowns. His total numbers over the course of a four-year college career stood at 171 receptions for 2,519 yards with 19 touchdowns, which makes his 2019 even more impressive. The Receiver will be a great RedZone target during 2020 for new Quarterback Phillip Rivers. He has the capability to bully cornerbacks and create space in close coverage.
Pick 41 – Jonathan Taylor – Running Back – Wisconsin
Indy traded the 44th and 160th picks to the Cleveland Browns to move up to the 41st pick and draft Jonathan Taylor out of Wisconsin. For a team that run the ball well and had a player get over a thousand yards in Marlon Mack, at first glance maybe it wasn’t so much of a need to draft a Running Back but you don’t want to pass up on signing a player like Jonathan Taylor. His stats are immense. On 926 carries over 41 games between 2017-19, he totaled 6,174 yards and 50 touchdowns. He achieved back to back 2,000-yard seasons and in his first season achieved 1,977. The point to signing Taylor was to add that quality to the depth of the position and Coach Reich wants to create a strong one-two punch with Mack. The Colts ran the ball on nearly %50 of their plays last season and adding a player of Taylors caliber, they will be able to commit more to running the ball.
Pick 85 – Julian Blackmon – Safety – Utah
In the third round of the draft, the Colts decided to use their pick to strengthen the secondary. Although currently injured with a torn ACL, the Colts were still keen on the versatile Blackmon. Starting and playing most of his college career at Corner, the position was becoming overloaded in Utah. He decided that he wanted to transition to Safety, to secure a spot in the team but also to challenge himself. This attitude sits nicely with coaches, it will be like getting two players, one for the position of need but one for cover also.
Pick 122 – Jacob Eason – Quarterback – Washington
The Colts were entering this year’s off-season with a big Quarterback question mark over their heads. Before Free Agency even begun, it was heavily speculated that the Colts would take a Quarterback early in the Draft. The speculation calmed after the Free Agency signing of Rivers but that did not mean that the Colts would not draft one. The signing of Eason gives fans a chance to look at the future of the organization in that position. With Rivers at QB1 and Brissett still on the roster, it’s in all likelihood that Eason will not be seeing much game time this year. The plan of drafting a player like Eason becomes clearer as he will get a chance to sit behind and learn from an experienced QB in Rivers. Indy were very keen on taking Eason and wanted to take the gunslinger at the earliest convenience. He has natural arm strength and can throw the ball on the move from different angles. If he is given time, he will stay calm in the pocket and is capable of accurately making throws and big plays to any area of the field.
The Rest Of The Picks
Pick # Rnd
149 5 Danny Pinter G Ball State
193 6 Rob Windsor DT Penn State
211 6 Isaiah Rodgers CB Massachusetts
212 6 Dezmon Patmon WR Washington State
213 6 Jordan Glasgow LB Michigan
In comparison, the Draft has been just as good as Free Agency. The GM and the coaches have done an excellent job of improving this years roster and covering all the areas of need from last season. The Colts have become a very balanced team now the key areas have been given depth and more quality. Fans can certainly look forward to seeing what the new players, Pittman Jnr and Taylor, can bring to the team and how they compliment players from last years roster. Jacob Eason will bring a sense of optimism to Colts fans, he is a potential franchise QB and under the tutelage of a player like Phillip Rivers, the franchise is looking bright in Indianapolis.