The Indianapolis Colts are in somewhat of an interesting position. While the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans will all but certainly select quarterbacks at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the draft, the Colts’ brass must sit patiently at No. 4 in hopes of landing a potential franchise quarterback.
That said, a reliable signal-caller is far from Indy’s only need. From added offensive line help, to depth in the run game, here is Heavy’s latest Colts mock draft with five weeks to go until Round 1.
New Colts 7-Round Mock Draft for 2023
Round 1, Pick 4: QB Bryce Young, Alabama
It’s no secret that Jim Irsay has his eyes on Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young, and with good reason. He has been highly touted as the best overall quarterback in the class. His size, however, has grown causes for concern.
“Young is a small quarterback and plays with that understanding,” wrote The Indianapolis Star’s Nate Atkins. “Now, teams like the Colts have to decide whether he fits what they’re looking for in the most important position.”
The 5-foot-10 former AP Player of the Year’s measurements are certainly something to take into consideration, but his talent far outweighs the size in question. If he is available when the Colts are on the clock, it’s a virtual certainty that he will call Indianapolis home.
Round 2, Pick 35: OT Dawand Jones, Ohio State
After selecting a quarterback on the smaller side, the Colts take one of the largest players in the draft to protect him. Dawand Jones is every bit of his listed 6-foot-8, 360-pound frame. The former Buckeye put an exclamation point on his work at the Senior Bowl in January, and has ascended up draft boards. The Colts’ offensive line struggled in 2022. They allowed 60 sacks last season, which was second in the league, trailing only the Denver Broncos. Whether they put Johnson at right tackle or have him protect Young’s blind side, he will be an instant upgrade up front.
“His size makes him nearly impossible to beat in the run game. Jones’ massive frame and utter strength are too much for the average defender to combat on the outside,” wrote Sports Illustrated’s Destin Adams, who reported on March 5 that the Colts had met with Jones.
Round 3, Pick 79: CB Darius Rush, South Carolina
The Gamecocks have a pair of highly touted defensive backs in this class. While Cam Smith gets the majority of attention as a potential first-round pick, Darius Rush more than held his own. A former high school receiver, Rush is “big, long and physical,” according to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, and has as a high football IQ that shines while in zone coverage. “He will never have the short area foot quickness to mirror and match routes but has impressive ball skills to disrupt the catch when he’s in position,” Zierlein wrote. Rush would be a good depth player in the secondary and a potential special teams stud.
Round 4, Pick 106: WR Jayden Reed, Michigan State
Jayden Reed is a prototypical vertical threat that could become the Colts’ downfield weapon. He averaged over 17 yards per reception in 2021 to go along with 10 touchdowns. While the Spartans’ offense took a step back in 2022, Reed still totaled 55 catches and earned an invitation to the Senior Bowl, where he raised the eyebrows of scouts all week.
Reed “had the best ball-tracking skills out of any receiver this week,” SB Nation’s Shaad Mcginnis wrote on February 4. “I think he has firmly placed himself in the day two talks.”
Round 5, Pick 138: OT Connor Galvin, Baylor
The Colts had trouble at tackle in 2022. Connor Galvin would fit into the Colts’ run scheme very well as a swing tackle, and could provide depth at the position, as well as potentially fill in at guard if need be.
Round 5, Pick 162: TE Davis Allen, Clemson
Davis Allen would be a fine No. 2 tight end to bring into the offense. He’s got great length and can be utilized as both an underneath safety blanket in two-tight-end sets, as well as a stretch tight end who can outrun linebackers. They are thin at that spot on the depth chart, but getting Allen in the fifth round is a solid value. “While there are far more pressing needs than the tight end position, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Colts wanted to add some depth in the form of a blocking tight end,” wrote USA Today’s Kevin Hickey.
Round 5, Pick 176: LB Ventrell Miller, Florida
Ventrell Miller could provide a great source of special teams play and linebacker depth behind Shaq Leonard. The likes of Segun Olubi and Forrest Rhyme are the only other inside linebackers currently on the roster, and they have a combined two career tackles. Miller shows lateral speed, which will come into play on special teams. Don’t be surprised if he were to earn the No. 2 spot behind Leonard.
Round 7, Pick 221: RB Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota
Mohamed Ibrahim will likely fall down draft boards two reasons: his injury history and his age. Ibrahim will be 25 in September, and he tore his ACL in 2021. However, he had a remarkable 2022 season. The former three-star recruit had over 1,600 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground. His vision and drive will make him a great backup to Jonathan Taylor. He can get six to eight carries a game and would be a reliable hand if Taylor were to miss any time.
Round 7, Pick 236: OG Atonio Mafi, UCLA
The Colts finish off their draft by taking their third offensive lineman of the weekend. Atonio Mafi would be a steal in the seventh round. At 6-foot-4, 355 pounds, he is an absolute unit for a guard, and put a great deal of power on display. If he shows enough throughout the offseason program, he could push Will Fries for the starting job at right guard.
How This Draft Would Help the Colts
Indianapolis quietly has a very solid defense, and most of their needs lay on the offensive side of the ball. Taking the three most important positions with their first three picks is the best way for the Colts to address April’s 2023 draft. Get a franchise quarterback, get a wall of a man to protect him, and take a cornerback to replace Stephon Gilmore.
Adding depth picks such as Ibrahim and Mafi could end up paying off in the best of ways, as well. We’ve seen what Trey Smith and Isaiah Pacheco have done for the Kansas City Chiefs. Smith was a sixth-round pick and has become one of the league’s top guards. Pacheco went undrafted and you could argue the Chiefs don’t win the Super Bowl without him.
Does that mean that Mafi and Ibrahim will end up being as focal and as good as the aforementioned Chiefs? No, but both are schematic fits that would have a ton of potential to be great in their respective roles.
Throw in an extra offensive line piece, two pass-catchers and depth at linebacker and this is as good a draft as Irsay, Ballard and new head coach Shane Steichen could ask for.