Breaking Down The 2018 Indianapolis Colts Draft Class
The 2018 NFL Draft has concluded, and many NFL dreams have been realized after years of hard work. Eleven of those dreams have come about through picks made by the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts came into the draft with multiple needs, but with an excellent player to build around in Andrew Luck.
Round 1, Pick 6, Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
This was the most important need to address for the Colts, as the franchise traded down from third overall pick to the sixth in exchange for two second-round picks and a future second. The value of Nelson alone can’t be questioned, as offensive linemen have been a constant weakness for Indianapolis.
Nelson is capable of bullying defenders and can get to the second level well. In addition, he finished his college career as a unanimous All-American. There is no way to overvalue this pick, as the Colts got a bargain selection in the first round.
Round 2, Pick 36: Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina State
Indianapolis could have gone with a prospect with a higher profile here, but Leonard fits what they desire on defense. With the South Carolina State linebacker, the defense secured themselves an off-the-ball linebacker who can run and chase. Leonard brings speed and instinct, as well as versatility, which will be viewed as quite the asset.
In time, Leonard may be the best linebacker on the active roster for Indianapolis. In fact, Leonard posted 113 total tackles, 8.5 sacks, and 4 interceptions in his college career. In result, he was presented as the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year for two consecutive seasons.
Round 2, Pick 37: Braden Smith, OG, Auburn
With one of the picks acquired from the New York Jets, the Colts went with another offensive guard in Braden Smith. He is a very powerful lineman who uses his size and strength to dominate defensive linemen. The second round selection will join Nelson and veteran Ryan Kelly in an improved interior line.
To grab Smith after drafting Nelson is impressive, especially since Smith was recognized as an SEC first-team prospect in both 2016 and 2017. Both early selected linemen will have the chance to be anchors for Andrew Luck, which is what Indianapolis has desired.
Round 2, Pick 52: Kemoko Turay, EDGE, Rutgers
Kemoko Turay is what many would call a high risk, high reward selection. The Rutgers edge rusher is raw, but explodes off the edge using his freakish combination of length and speed. Through time, he could develop into an efficient player in the NFL. The Colts must be confident they can develop Turay properly, and if they can, he could cause nightmares for opposing quarterbacks.
Round 2, Pick 64: Tyquan Lewis, EDGE, Ohio State
The Colts went with another edge rusher here, as Lewis is seemingly the more polished player. He is already a solid pass rusher, but will need to improve against the run game. If both Lewis and Turay can translate smoothly into the NFL, Indianapolis could find themselves with a gold mine on their hands.
Round 4 Pick 104: Nyheim Hines, RB, NC State
Based on the numbers, Hines put up the fastest forty-yard dash time among running backs with an impressive 4.38 seconds. Originally selected as a wide receiver in college, Hines has been an efficient running back at the college level. He should be able to add value on special teams for the Colts.
Round 5, Pick 159: Daurice Fountain, WR, Northern Iowa
Daurice Fountain is a small school prospect with very impressive feats, somewhat similar to now teammate Darius Leonard. He put up a 42.5″ vertical and ran a 4.46 forty-yard dash. In addition, Fountain will provide more size to a receiving corps that struggles in that department. If he receives starting time, he could find himself as an easy red zone target for Andrew Luck.
Round 5, Pick, 169: Jordan Wilkins, RB, Ole Miss
After selecting another running back, Wilkins should add depth and competition to the depth chart. He is a strong outside runner who uses balance, agility, and vision. If Indianapolis can find a way to utilize their running backs, it could bring some relief to Andrew Luck in the home stretch of the season. With the way Marlon Mack has played so far, I was shocked that the Colts addressed their need at running back to this degree.
Round 6, Pick 185: Deon Cain, WR, Clemson
In my eyes, the selection of Deon Cain at this stage was a steal. He comes from a program which has yielded excellent receivers in Clemson, and holds professional attributes that a receiver needs. The only concern with Cain includes his inconsistent play and dropped ball rate, but he still has potential to become a starter.
Round 7, Pick 221: Matthew Adams, LB, Houston
Adams is an undersized linebacker, but has enough speed and the right style to fit in with the Colts. He should find himself fighting for a roster spot, but may slide into special teams. Viewed as undersized for his position, the future of Matthews Adams is unknown.
Round 7, Pick 235: Zaire Franklin, LB, Syracuse
Zaire Franklin was a highlight reel for Syracuse, but struggles to disengage from blockers. Much like Matthew Adams, he will be competing for a roster spot in Indianapolis. With improvement and development, Franklin could provide assistance for a Colts defense that desperately needs it.
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