In what was probably the last live mock I’m participating in before this year’s draft I came away with my favorite class so far. There isn’t anyone in this draft class who will make it out of the top 10 who I’m really sold on, but there’s a wealth of players I kinda like. With this in mind I took a trade down deal well before I was on the clock moving the #22 pick to Buffalo for the 34th and 68th picks in the draft. The exact figure depends on which of the numerous iterations of the trade value chart you use, but I got the slightly better end of the deal (30 to 55 points in my favor) which isn’t a big difference, especially considering the Bills were looking to get ahead of a division rival to snatch a player away. On to the class.
2(34) Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
Solder is one of several players I was comfortable taking at 22 so I was thrilled to pick up a early 3rd and still get him. He’s still got some developing to do converting his elite athleticism into elite performance and filling out his massive 6’8 1/4″ frame, but he has the potential to be a fantastic LT and has a good chance of being able to start right away.
2(53) Danny Watkins, G/T, Baylor
Watkins performed at a high level playing LT for Baylor the last two years, but being under 6’4″ and nearly 27 knocks his stock down quite a bit. Still, he was dominant at guard in the Senior Bowl and may be athletic enough to play RT, at least in a pinch. Watkins won’t have the longest career or the most development, but he’s ready to play guard well at the NFL level right now, which will be a huge help to the Colts.
3(67) Quinton Carter, S, Oklahoma
Probably a name you’ve heard if you’ve read pretty much anything draft related I’ve written this year. Carter is a great mix of zone coverage ability, run support strength and high character that fits the Colts scheme, needs and culture perfectly. Carter could step in at either spot as needed and take over at SS down the road if Bullitt isn’t staying in Indy long term.
3(87) Sione Fua, DT, Stanford
Fua has good size and can anchor a line against the run, but isn’t an immobile fatty. While he’d be rotated off in passing situations there’s a lot of snaps there for a DT who can hold the middle and still give some solid pursuit. Fua played as a 3-4 NT last year, but has experience in the 4-3.
4(119) Jalil Brown, CB, Colorado
A pretty familar stretch of picks through the middle, Brown reminds me of Marlin Jackson with his abilities in run support and a lack of great speed made up for with quickness and good instincts. Brown would be of use in sub-packages right away and could develop into more.
5(152) Charles Clay, RB/FB/TE, Tulsa
After falling in and then out of love with USC FB Stanley Havili (liked: tons of recieving production, disliked: him breaking a teammate’s jaw) I was tipped off to Clay. 189 receptions for 2,544 yards with 28 TDs receiving in his career along with nearly 1,000 yards at 5 yards a carry and another 10 TDs on the ground. Moved around quite a bit at Tulsa, Clay can fit into quite a few of the part time roles already present in the Colts offense.
6(188) Brian Rolle, LB, Ohio State
Fantastic athleticism and cover skills with experience and production at a high level, Rolle’s height holds him back from being a much higher pick, which a team like Indy can reap the benefits from. At worst he’s a great guy to have playing STs and sub in for the nickel package.