Colts Urged to Consider Risky 2023 Draft Strategy

Jeff Saturday

Getty One NFL draft analyst called for interim head coach Jeff Saturday and the Indianapolis Colts to deploy a somewhat risky draft strategy next year.

There’s little doubt that the biggest need for the Indianapolis Colts this offseason will be quarterback.

NFL draft analyst Luke Easterling of USA Today agrees, but in his latest two-round 2023 NFL mock draft, he still called for the Colts not to address their biggest need until the second round.

Instead of a signal caller, Easterling projected the Colts to draft Northwestern offensive tackle Peter Skoronski at No. 9 overall in the first round.

Then in the second round, Easterling slotted Kentucky quarterback Will Levis to Indianapolis at No. 40 overall.

Colts Risky Move to Pass on Levis?

There’s a long way to go until even the 2023 draft order is finalized. The Colts hold the No. 9 overall pick going into the action on December 11. No. 9 overall is where the team was picking in Easterling’s new mock draft.

But Indianapolis is one of six teams with four wins this season. The Colts could move up to as high as No. 6 overall without even playing a game after Week 14. And then there’s still four weeks remaining in the season.

There’s also a full offseason of draft evaluation that could change the quarterback rankings of the upcoming class.

Assuming, though, that those quarterback rankings stay relatively the same, and that the top two signal callers are gone before the Colts pick, Easterling argued Indianapolis is better off not reaching for Levis (or another quarterback) in the Top 10.

“Quarterback is obviously the biggest need for Indy, but in this scenario, there’s not one left on the board who’s worthy of a top-10 pick,” Easterling wrote. “That being the case, the Colts should spend this pick upgrading the offensive line.”

Easterling has the Colts targeting the Northwestern tackle because he will be ready to play on Day 1.

“Skoronski is a pro-ready blocker who could plug in immediately at tackle or guard.”

Colts Could Wait Until Second Round for Levis?

In a perfect world, the 2023 NFL draft will unfold for the Colts exactly how Easterling predicted — with Indianapolis first grabbing a “pro-ready” left tackle and then a future franchise quarterback in the second round.

But the question is whether Levis will still be there at No. 40 overall.

The consensus among draft experts seems to be that Levis is not in the same tier as fellow quarterback prospects Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud. But the overall draft rankings from ESPN and Bleacher Report have Levis rated as a Top 12 player in the 2023 class.

Based on those rankings, it seems unlikely that Levis will fall to the second round let alone to No. 40 overall.

Easterling isn’t wrong. There’s likely more “draft value” to be had in selecting a left tackle are No. 9. It’s also not as though offensive line isn’t a need for the Colts. Indianapolis has allowed 46 sacks and is only averaging 4.0 yards per carry this season.

But if the Colts are interested in Levis, passing on him in the first round is a risky draft strategy. Other draft experts don’t seem as confident as Easterling is that the Kentucky signal caller could stay on the board until Indianapolis picks a second time.

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