2019 NFL Draft: Indianapolis Colts team needs, draft picks, prospects to watch
With their 2018 season over, it's time for Colts fans to turn their attention to the draft
The Colts are back, baby! First-year coach Frank Reich may not have been Indy's first choice but he was absolutely what this organization needed. And with Andrew Luck looking like his old self, and the emergence of a really good defense, the Colts have the makings of one of the AFC's best teams for years to come. They're just missing a few pieces to the puzzle.
Here's what you need to know about the Indianapolis Colts and the 2019 NFL Draft.
2019 draft picks
- Round 1: Indianapolis
- Round 2: Indianapolis, New York Jets
- Round 3: Indianapolis
- Round 4: Indianapolis
- Round 5: Indianapolis
- Round 6: Indianapolis
- Round 7: Indianapolis
The Colts have all their 2019 selections, in addition to the Jets' 2019 second-round pick, which was part of the trade that allowed New York to trade up in the 2018 NFL Draft and take quarterback Sam Darnold.
Biggest offseason needs
- Wide receiver
- Interior defensive line
- Pass rusher
- Tight end
The Colts were one of the most exciting teams over the second half of the season. They started 1-5 but won 10 of their last 11 before running into the buzzsaw that is the Chiefs' offense. But there's plenty to be excited about, starting with Andrew Luck, who was been sacked just 18 times during the regular season. He also played some of the best football of his career after missing the 2017 season with a shoulder injury. Rookie guard Quenton Nelson (the sixth-overall pick) anchored the revitalized offensive line, tight end Eric Ebron played like a Hall of Famer after a forgettable start to his career in Detroit, and T.Y. Hilton battled through injuries to remain one of the league's most dangerous wideouts.
But the Colts' defense was arguably more impressive. Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus had Indy playing as a top-10 unit, in large part because of rookie second-round pick Darius Leonard. There's more good news: general manager Chris Ballard, who nailed the '18 draft class, has more salary-cap space than any team in the league. Upgrade a few key areas and the Colts will not only be division favorites, but among the top teams to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Prospects to watch
N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Harry is a physically imposing wideout with big-play ability. He regularly wins at the line of scrimmage and even when he doesn't, he makes contested catches as well as anyone in this draft class. And it's not over once the ball is in his hands; Harry is a YAC machine -- he's incredibly difficult to get on the ground. He's part JuJu Smith-Schuster, part Anquan Boldin.
Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Baker may not be the athlete of Greedy Williams or Byron Murphy but he put up better college numbers. He shows good long speed, smooth hips, and the ability to change direction. He was rarely targeted during his senior season in part because his mirroring technique was superb. He's not great in run support but he may not need to be if his college success translates to the NFL.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
An instinctive player who had a huge final game for the Gators, logging two interceptions -- including a late-game pick-six -- against Michigan in the Peach Bowl. Gardner-Johnson was something of a liability as a tackler in 2017 but he was much more aggressive this season. He can play both safety positions as well as in the slot and his versatility will make him valuable to NFL teams looking to bolster their secondary.
Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
Simmons regularly requires double-teams and even then is hard to stop. He has non-stop motor and that, coupled with linebacker-like sideline-to-sideline mobility, means he's never out of a play. He routinely splits blockers on stretch plays to make tackles in backfield, and he has the ability to disengage from blocks to make tackles too. One of the best athletes in the draft, Simmons is adept against the run and the pass who is best described as a disruptive backfield presence.
Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
Sweat doesn't have Nick Bosa's athleticism and isn't nearly as dynamic, but he'll likely be on the board late in Round 1. And don't be fooled, Sweat can play; he had 11.5 sacks and 14.0 tackles for loss during his senior season. That was the encore to his junior campaign, which included 10.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss.
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
The most athletic tight end in this draft class, Fant was underutilized at Iowa; he had just 39 receptions for 518 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018, but he's a playmaker in the mold of Evan Engram or George Kittle, and would give the Colts a much-needed playmaker in the middle of the field.
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