As NFL Draft crazed football fans already know, one of the biggest problems with mock drafts is that they are extremely unlikely to be accurate. Knowing how each team will pick, let alone the teams writers are most familiar with, is a shot in the dark scenario. Accordingly, Coltzilla has put together the “Ultimate Colts Mock Draft” which will list those players who may be available when the Colts make each of their six selections.
The Ultimate Colts Mock Draft will include prospects from nearly all positions in each round, and will attempt to rate the players in order in each round based upon our assessment of the raw best player available standard. Each of the players listed should be in contention for the most valuable player on the draft board specifically for the Colts, so this delineation hopes be useful following the draft to subjectively determine how team needs may affect Indy’s draft room.
Round 1 – Pick 22
CB – Prince Amukamara - Nebraska – Amukamara is a high profile cornerback pick that will likely be off the board before the Colts pick. He is a physical freak for a cornerback, runs blazing speeds, and has ideal NFL cornerback size. There are some who believe he could slip down to the Colts pick, which would certainly generate some discussion, but much of what happens with players like Amukamara depends on who is on the board at other positions. Moderate to high value. HIGHLIGHTS
DE – Aldon Smith – Missouri – Smith is a tenacious pass rush specialist that will have a big impact for whichever NFL team selects him. He could go in the top 15. If falls all the way to the Colts at 22 overall, it would be incredibly difficult for some of the Colts scouting and personnel folks to pass him up. He plays the run better than Indy’s current roster. Moderate to high value. HIGHLIGHTS
OT – Gabe Carimi - Wisconsin – Carimi would most certainly offer the Colts a starting tackle in his rookie season. What he offers over Castonzo is a bit more of a mean streak, arguably experience against better competition, and his run blocking is rated higher than the BC product — though Castonzo is typically regarded as the better pass blocker. Carimi is a Big 10 player, who often receive a great deal of attention from the Colts recruiting staff, which may make him more known to the Indy draft room than to any other team. If he is around, the Colts should grab him without hesitation. High value. HIGHLIGHTS
OT – Anthony Castonzo - Boston College – Castonzo is a well-rounded left tackle prospect with tons of collegiate experience, intelligence, athleticism, and a pretty high ceiling for development if a team looks his way. His primary competition for second best tackle in the draft is Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi. If Castonzo drops to the Colts pick, he would fit in the no-brainer category of selections. High value. HIGHLIGHTS
DT – Corey Liuget - Illinois – Liuget is a popular mock draft selection for the Colts, and for good reason. He has the size, strength, and speed to hold up against the run and penetrate. This skill set is very similar to former Colts tackle Booger McFarland. While it will take Liuget some time to develop to achieve McFarland’s level of production, he projects to be a big part of the defensive tackle rotation as a rookie — and could even start. High value. HIGHLIGHTS
G/C – Mike Pouncey - Florida – Pouncey, like his brother, will lead the draft pack at guard and center. He is the kind of player who can step in right away and have an immediate impact at either position, although he spent much of his college career at guard, while Maurkice played center. Pouncey is a blue chip prospect who will likely not fall all the way to the Colts at pick 22, but if he does he would bring a great deal of value. The problem is, offensive tackle is clearly the position that could use upgrading most and would allow movement on the line to solidify the guard position. High value. HIGHLIGHTS
OT – Derek Sherrod - Mississippi State – Sherrod gets a knock for not having a mean streak like Carimi but otherwise he has shown the technical skills and size that project to make him a sure-fire candidate for starting right tackle in the NFL, with the upside to start on the left side if he develops quicker than usual or after he spends time on the right. In either case, if Sherrod is left he would be a solid pick. Whether the Colts should grab him at 22 or trade back to get one of Sherrod or Nate Solder lower, and pick up an extra pick or two in later rounds, is something only Polian will have a good bead on. Moderate to high value. HIGHLIGHTS
OT – Nate Solder - Colorado – What Solder offers is the elite athleticism of a converted tight end. At 6-foot 8-inches tall he may be susceptible to speed rushers like Freeney and Mathis who can get very low to the ground and underneath his grasp. He has struggled to keep on weight, which could limit his ability to play against NFL caliber defensive linemen. If he can keep on the weight, and if he can work on technique to keep his height from working against him, Solder arguably has the highest upside of all first round tackle prospects. Moderate to high value. HIGHLIGHTS
Round 2 – Pick 53
DT – Marvin Austin - North Carolina – Austin is an athletic freak of nature. He would be in contention for the top defensive tackle talent in the entire class if not for character concerns. The Colts are not prone to taking players with character concerns this early in the draft. Moderate to high value. HIGHLIGHTS
OT/G – Benjamin Ijalana - Villanova – Ijalana is a big man that looks the part of an NFL tackle but he is “only” 6-foot 4-inches tall, which is not ideal for the position. He is rated as a solid pass protecter but he may have difficulty dealing with the fastest speed rushers in the game. He has looked good working out and caught the eye of many NFL teams. If he dropped to the Colts pick in the second round he would have solid value, but his value would fluctuate based upon whether the draft room grabs one of the draft’s top five tackles. Moderate to high value. HIGHLIGHTS
DT – Phil Taylor - Baylor – Taylor is a monstrous defensive tackle — 6-foot 3-inches tall and 334 pounds — with outstanding athletic ability. The Colts have already showed interest in Taylor and if he falls into the second round, there is a chance the Colts will pick him up. Need a nose tackle who can hold the line, generate push, and collapse the pocket? Check. High value. HIGHLIGHTS
C/G – Stefen Wisniewski – Penn State – Wisniewski is the first “true center” on the board in the 2011 NFL Draft. He comes from an NFL pedigree, as both his father and uncle played in the NFL, and has the kind of intangibles that make him worthy of consideration. At 6-foot 3-inches tall and 313 pounds he is a bigger version of Mike Pollak who would hopefully have more success playing guard as a rookie if the Colts needed him to do so. Moderate to high value.
DT – Stephen Paea - Oregon State – Paea shocked NFL analysts and a lot of teams when he broke the NFL Combine bench press record by putting up 49 reps of 225 pounds. There is no doubt that his strength should be handy in a one-technique role. With all of the other defensive linemen projected ahead of him he could drop all the way to the Colts pick at 53. If so, he would be a solid prospect. High value. HIGHLIGHTS
WR – Leonard Hankerson - Miami – Hankerson should remind a lot of Colts fans of Pierre Garcon. His college career showed that while he had inconsistent hands from time-to-time, he also had a propensity to make spectacular one-handed grabs and highlight reel receptions. He will also remind of Reggie Wayne in that he is a Miami product, uses his size to his advantage (Wayne plays big), and is a true wideout. If he falls to the Colts in the second round he would cause the draft room to have a serious discussion. Moderate to high value. HIGHLIGHTS
S – DeAndre McDaniel - Clemson – McDaniel is the kind of safety prospect a team like the Colts may consider if they are looking to get a little bit bigger. At 6-foot tall and 217 pounds, he could be a more durable option than the departing Sanders. The question-marks surrounding McDaniel regard his decrease in production from his junior to senior seasons. 73 tackles and 4 interceptions is not bad production but after 98 tackles and 8 interceptions as a junior, his draft stock dropped. High value. HIGHLIGHTS
S – Quinton Carter – Oklahoma – Carter has been in competition amongst Colts fans this spring as the top early round safety prospect. There is a lot to like about his game, his aggressive nature, his ability to close on ball carrier, strength against the run, and his ability to put big hits on opponents. If the Colts grab him in the second round, he may be capable of starting at some point during his rookie season. High value. HIGHLIGHTS
G/OT – Danny Watkins - Baylor – Watkins projects to be a successful guard, with the ability to potentially move outside for a team that would need him to play a Charlie Johnson-like role. The Colts love players who are dynamic enough to play multiple positions so this increases his value on the team’s draft board. The down side for Watkins is that he will be a 27 year old rookie. Indianapolis does not necessarily shy away from older players and, frankly, his age increases the likelihood that he could make meaningful contributions right away. High value. HIGHLIGHTS
DE – Brooks Reed – Arizona – Reed has a lot of similarities to Kyle Vanden Bosch. Both are very high energy players who thrive on getting to the football. He has a tendency to create turnovers by stripping the football. A player like Reed is what makes the “value game” in the draft so difficult. He could drop into the high or mid second round. The difference between a player like him and a player like Houston is really hard to project. Moderate value. HIGHLIGHTS
Round 3 – Pick 87
DT – Kenrick Ellis - Hampton – Ellis is another massive nose tackle prospect who has the strength and athleticism to take on double teams and collapse the pocket. Adding a player his size would certainly help against the run and could free up the Colts pass rushers on passing downs. The question-mark for Ellis is whether he has the drive to work as hard as he will have to work to be dominant in the NFL, and some drug related character concerns from his past. This is why he could slip to the third round and be solid pick for Indianapolis. High value. HIGHLIGHTS
DT – Drake Nevis - LSU – Nevis is a really difficult tackle to value properly. His college production was excellent, and his technique is impressive. He has the size and leverage to hold up against the run and the speed to penetrate the pocket and create a pass rush from the interior of the defensive line. If he falls to the third round, he would be a solid selection. High value. HIGHLIGHTS
OT – Joseph Barksdale - LSU – Barksdale is a player who has not been getting the kind of attention he deserves prior to the draft and he may go higher than the third round because teams see the talent he offers but if he does drop to the third round, he is a steal in my book. A pairing of Barksdale and a first round tackle offer Indianapolis a long-term future at the position, significantly increases depth, and allows Charlie Johnson to move inside to guard. The benefit to the offensive line would be too good to pass up. High value.
OT – Marcus Gilbert - Florida – Gilbert has the size and tools to be a right tackle in the NFL. He may be an immediate starter for the Colts and could be a consolation prize if Barksdale is already gone. High value.
WR – Titus Young - Boise State – Young may be one of the most underrated receivers in the 2011 draft class. He has speed, excellent hands, can get behind coverage, be a deep threat, and be reliable in possession situations. Add to all of his positive attributes experience and success as a returner and his value grows further. If Young is available with the Colts third round pick, he will warrant discussion. If he falls to the fourth, he could be a no-brainer. Moderate to high value. HIGHLIGHTS
S – Tyler Sash - Iowa – Per usual, Big 10 players get a great deal of attention from the Colts and fans in Indianapolis. The fact that Sash plays for Bob Sanders’ alma mater only adds to the appeal. There is little doubt that Sash is the type of player that the Colts like and would be a great value in the third or fourth rounds. High value. HIGHLIGHTS
LB – Mason Foster - Washington – Foster projects as a strong-side linebacker, arguably the Colts greatest need area if Session returns. Watching this kid play shows that he has an outstanding motor, gets off of blocks well, has incredible vision, takes good angles, is solid in coverage, and makes plays. How he is not rated higher on a lot of draft boards is something this writer cannot understand. If he falls to the third and gets selected by the Colts, it could be a big improvement for the defense. Moderate to high value.
Round 4 – Pick 119
WR – Austin Pettis - Boise State – Pettis and his teammate Titus Young may be at the top of the draft class in terms of sure-hands. At 6-foot 3-inches, he can be a big target who is very dependable. Although he is not fast, standing on a 4.56 40-yard dash at his Pro Day suggests that he does not expect to do much better, he could be a Collie-White hybrid that would bring value in the fourth round or later. Moderate to high value. HIGHLIGHTS
G – John Moffitt - Wisconsin – Moffitt seems like the kind of player the Colts may be looking for to not only help solidify guard depth but for another prospect to take over for Jeff Saturday when he retires. He is 6-foot 4-inches tall, 315 pounds, and has experience at both guard and center for one of college’s toughest offensive lines. Moderate to high value. HIGHLIGHTS
S – Jaiquawn Jarrett - Temple – On tape Jarrett looks like a taller Bob Sanders clone. He plays with intensity toward the line, places big hits on ball carriers, and is an exceptional form tackler. What he lacks is the speed and potentially the range to be a steady pass defender. Fortunately for Jarrett, his 40-yard dash time is as fast or faster than any of the safety prospects in front of him except Moore. Moderate to high value. HIGHLIGHTS
CB/S – Jalil Brown - Colorado – Brown is an intriguing prospect who would likely compete for the nickel position and could play a Marlin Jackson-like role. At 6-foot 1-inches tall and 206 pounds he has a great deal of strength for a cornerback and his 4.46 Pro Day 40-yard dash speed makes him extremely athletic. The Colts emphasize tackling and the ability to come up against the run for their nickelback prospects. Add a positive projection for Brown on special teams coverage units and his value increases. Moderate value. HIGHLIGHTS
LB – Greg Jones – Michigan State – Jones has the size and skillset that make Indianapolis a likely destination. At 6-foot tall and 242 pounds he is undersized for most NFL teams. He excelled in coverage and took great angles to tackle ball carriers at Michigan State. He could play on the weak-side and slide over to the middle if needed. If he slipped to the fifth round, he would be a no-brainer. In the fourth, it depends who is on the draft board. High value.
LB – Casey Matthews – Oregon – Matthews will get a lot of attention because his older brother Clay has been big for the Packers. Casey does not project to be as much of an impact player as his brother but he could be a reliable linebacker, has the same work ethic that has helped make Clay great, and enjoys the same blood lines that project positive NFL development. Moderate to high value. HIGHLIGHTS
DT – Sione Fua - Stanford – At 6-foot 2-inches tall and 310 pounds, Fua has the build and college playing resume to be a high value mid round nose tackle prospect. Although Indianapolis has not officially expressed a lot of interest in Fua, Bill Polian’s son Brian is the special teams coach for the Cardinals and certainly can give the Colts scouting staff a lot of insight. Do not be surprised if the Colts go for late round value, one of Bill Polian’s favorite moves, with a player like Fua. High value. HIGHLIGHTS
Round 5 – Pick 153
TE – D.J. Williams – Arkansas – Williams is an albatross in the 2011 NFL Draft. Remember how Mike Hart broke the Michigan all-time rushing record and yet fell all the way to the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft? Williams may take a very similar fall into the latter rounds of the draft. Coltzilla reader Cobb78 shared some very intelligent observations regarding the uncertainty of Dallas Clark’s return from injury, Tom Santi’s health, and Brody Eldridge’s development. In terms of pure pass-catching tight ends, the team may have only Jacob Tamme as a sure thing and he’s heading into a contract year. Stealing Williams in the fifth or sixth rounds has to be somewhere on the Colts draft board. Moderate to high value. HIGHLIGHTS
G/OT – Darius Morris - Temple – There is a real chance that Morris will not be available in the fifth round, but if he is, he would be an excellent draft pick. Morris has the 6-foot 4-inch frame and 319 pound body that make him a potentially versatile offensive line acquisition who should be able to play either guard position, or could slide out to right tackle. As has been discussed in assessing positional value, the problem with picks once you get past the marquee players at a position is not to strike too soon to waste value later in the draft and not to strike too late to miss a player that would be a great benefit to your team. Morris has the potential upside of players like Rackley and Moffitt, but could be a steal in the fifth round. Moderate to high value.
LB – Nate Irving – N.C. State – Irving could be a steal in the fifth round. He plays with a lot of on-field speed, tenacity, and shows impressive vision pursuing ball carriers. How well he will do in coverage is a bit uncertain and he looks really good as a 4-3 middle linebacker but would likely get work at strong side for the Colts. He battled back after suffering severe injuries in a car accident that cost him his 2009 season. High value. HIGHLIGHTS
S – Joe Lefeged - Rutgers – Lefeged has the speed that many of the other safety prospects in the 2011 NFL Draft lack. He ran a 4.42 second 40-yard dash at the Combine and was an excellent college returner. He is very comfortable playing up in the box, defending the run, and has the speed to cover a lot of ground in coverage. His skills defending the pass are unclear, however, as he had only two interceptions in his junior and senior seasons. He did defend some passes but he had the speed to make up for mistakes in college that will be much more difficult against NFL caliber receivers. High value. HIGHLIGHTS
WR – Greg Salas – Hawaii – Salas is an impressive slot prospect who could go higher than the fifth round. If he is still available when the Colts pick he would be a good value pick to provide some insurance for Collie and Gonzalez. He has sure-hands, runs solid routes, and at 6-foot 1-inches tall, he offers good size for a slot receiver. Moderate to high value. HIGHLIGHTS
OT – Jah Reid - Central Florida – Reid is a small school prospect who could be a real sleeper late in the draft. He is 6-foot 7-inches tall, weighs 321 pounds, and has attracted a ton of attention from teams at his Pro Day. Polian likes to grab small school talent in the late round to find steals so Reid could join the list. Moderate to high value. HIGHLIGHTS
S – Shiloh Keo – Idaho – Keo is another late round dual-threat safety prospect. He has experience returning and plays a similar style to both Lefeged and Jarrett. His 4.72 40-yard draft time was disappointing but his performance in drills encouraged Mike Mayock to name him the highest value pick in late rounds for the safeties at the Combine. Moderate to high value.
DE – Ricky Elmore – Arizona – Elmore started across from second round prospect Brooks Reed in his last two years at Arizona. He has the size and speed to be effective against both the pass and run. At 6-foot 5-inches tall and 256 pounds he is versatile and his play-style suggests that he could be an impact player on special teams as a rookie. Moderate to high value. HIGHLIGHTS
DT – Ian Williams - Notre Dame – Williams is another player who projects to offer rotational depth for the Colts nose tackle position. If he falls into the fifth, or even sixth, rounds he could pique Indy’s interest. Moderate to high value.
Round 6 – Pick 188
C – Jake Kirkpatrick – TCU – Kirkpatrick spent the better part of three to four years learning how to play center after not playing football until his senior season in high school. When he took over as a red shirt junior, he was ready. In his final two years, Kirkpatrick called the blocking assignments for a TCU offensive line that had great success. He won awards for his work as one of the nation’s best centers. He could also fall to the fourth round. Moderate value.
WR – Jeff Maehl – Oregon – Maehl is the kind of high-effort player the Colts really like. He is sure-handed, is not afraid of taking hits over the middle, and generally will work hard and do what is necessary to have success. Whether his high energy and effort can make up for his 4.62 40-yard dash speed against NFL level cornerbacks is the real question. That said, if Indianapolis hopes to get some kind of insurance at wide receiver in the draft and has not been able to do so in the first five rounds, Maehl is a good value pick in the sixth. Moderate to high value.HIGHLIGHTS
LB – Brian Rolle – Ohio State – Rolle is the kind of player that could drop into the Colts lap in the sixth round. Very few teams will pick him as a linebacker earlier in the draft because he is only 5-foot 10-inches tall and weighs 229 pounds. He could be a very high value player this late because he could be used as a passing down weakside linebacker specialist on defense, will be a special teams contributor, and also could be used as an emergency strong safety (or developed as a strong safety from the get go). High value.HIGHLIGHTS
LB – Mario Harvey – Marshall – Harvey was the best defensive player for Marshall in 2010. His physical attributes are stunning. At 6-foot 1-inches tall and 257 pounds he ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. He was an excellent special teams player and could offer value immediately as a special teams ace. With development, his physical attributes and speed could make him a dangerous defensive weapon. How long that will take, however, is hard to know. High value.HIGHLIGHTS
DT – Jerrell Powe - Ole Miss – Powe followed up an outstanding junior season with a disappointing senior season. This could push him far down draft boards and into the late rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft. If he is still on the board in the sixth round and the Colts have not addressed defensive tackle, he would have high value. High value.
C – Zane Taylor – Utah – Taylor may be the kind of prospect Jeff Saturday was as he entered the league. His physical size, 6-foot 3-inches and 309 pounds, will not be considered great for the NFL. His athleticism test numbers may not be eye-popping compared to the higher ranked center prospects. However, he is the kind of cerebral prospect that could make a low round pick (or undrafted contract) worthwhile for the team. Moderate value.
S – Chris Prosinski - Wyoming – Prosinksi is the kind of player in the late rounds who reminds me of getting value like Bullitt or Matt Giordano. Both players started their careers as backups and spent time filling in for injured teammates. Bullitt became a legit NFL starter, Giordano brought more value on special teams. In either case, a player like Prosinski shows the intelligence and athletic ability to compete at the next level. Moderate to high value.HIGHLIGHTS
S – Jeron Johnson - Boise State – Johnson is another player with good enough speed and athleticism to cover a lot of field. Additionally, he gained a reputation in college for putting punishing hits on his opponents. While he may need to learn a bit to not get hit with mountains of penalties in the NFL, he has the tools to develop into the kind of safety the Colts typically target. Moderate to high value.HIGHLIGHTS
CB – Justin Rogers - Richmond – Rogers was highly distinguished at Richmond for both his defensive performance and his ability as the team’s all-time leading kick returner. Late round guys tend to have a lot of value added or lost based upon how dynamic a skill set they offer. In this case, Rogers would compete to be the primary kick returner and could be good enough on defense to be an improvement over former Colts defensive back T.J. Rushing. Moderate to high value.
CB – Darrin Walls - Notre Dame – Walls never made as big of an impact at Notre Dame as he would have liked or as many would have projected. However, he is a very physical cornerback who plays aggressively toward the line in run support and is not afraid of putting big hits on ball carriers. His coverage skills and intelligence also make him a player who could develop well with proper NFL coaching. Moderate to high value.HIGHLIGHTS
CB – James Dockery - Oregon State – Dockery reads and reacts well to the ball in the air. He has the speed to stick with receiver down field and potential to be a cover corner. He also reads a quarterback’s eyes well in a zone to make plays on the ball. He may be a little raw but at 6-foot 1-inches tall and 185 pounds, he brings good value in the late rounds. Moderate to high value.HIGHLIGHTS
LB – Adrian Moten – Maryland – Moten is another late round high value player who should contribute immediately on special teams. Additionally, he has Larry Coyer’s coveted ability to blitz with the speed and length to affect the quarterback close to the line and the height and ball skills to do well in coverage. At 6-foot 2-inches tall and only 228 pounds, he will need to spend time in the weight room if he hopes to contribute regularly on defense. His 4.55 second 40-yard dash does make him an excellent athlete. High value.HIGHLIGHTS
DE – Ryan Winterswyk – Boise State – Winterswyk is the kind of hard working, high character player the Colts really like. What he lacks is some of the elite athleticism pass rushing defensive ends in the NFL require. In many ways, he projects to be some version of a Josh Thomas, assuming he can be as effective against the run as Thomas. At 6-foot 4-inches tall and 268 pounds, his size and work ethic could earn him a spot as a late round project pick. Moderate value.