The Colts’ 2019 season ended with the team facing uncertainty at quarterback, a dearth of firepower offensively, and a speedy yet inconsistent defense. Now that the 2020 draft is in the rearview mirror, it is safe to say that those issues have all been addressed. Chris Ballard entered the draft with seven picks. Through shrewd trading and a willingness to slide back, he ended up with nine.
Let’s take a look at the newest members of the team:
Round 2 (34th overall) – Michael Pittman Jr., USC WR
Many thought that the Colts would move into the first round for quarterback Jordan Love after he fell into the 20s. That didn’t happen. More thought that Ballard would trade back from this spot to accrue more picks in the second and third rounds. Instead, he added a big, pro-ready receiver for his new quarterback, Philip Rivers. Pittman will fit in swimmingly in Indianapolis. He should be in the market for at least 40 catches as a rookie.
Round 2 (41st overall) – Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin RB
While Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, and Jordan Wilkins already form a nice backfield, Taylor puts it over the top. The former Badger ran for over 6000 yards in three seasons in Madison, and he twice won the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation’s best running back. Taylor weighs 225 pounds and ran the fastest 40-yard dash among all running backs at the combine. He is bigger than Mack and as fast as Hines, which makes him a breakaway threat every time he runs behind Quenton Nelson and the gang.
Round 3 (85th overall) – Julian Blackmon, Utah DB
The Colts loved Blackmon‘s game so much that they told him they would draft him early. In one of his pre-draft meetings with team personnel, he was told not to be surprised if they drafted him before most people expected. They did. Blackmon started his Utah career as a cornerback before moving to safety, where he will play for the Colts. He is nursing a torn ACL, which will keep him off of the field for at least the first few months of the season. He will add speed, versatility, and hit power on defense whenever he returns to health.
Round 4 (122nd overall) – Jacob Eason, Washington QB
Eason was often rumored to be a Colts target, and that came to fruition. He is a huge quarterback with the strongest arm in this class. His flaws (turnovers and inconsistency) could be fixed with coaching and learning from Rivers. Eason carried a second round grade on many draft boards, so landing him in the fourth is a tremendous value. He will compete with Jacoby Brissett to be the primary backup. The hope, however, is that he takes over as a starter within a few years.
Round 5 (149th overall) – Danny Pinter, Ball State OL
Pinter stays in his home state and brings excellent athleticism to the Colts’ offensive line. No other NFL team started the same five linemen in every game, but depth up front was an issue. Pinter was recruited to Ball State as a tight end before finishing up at right tackle. He has short arms and will probably move in to guard, where he has quick enough feet to thrive. Barring injuries, Pinter will not be asked to start as a rookie. With further growth and development, he could become a starter in time.
Round 6 (193rd overall) – Rob Windsor, Penn State DL
Windsor kicked off the first of four sixth round picks by the Colts. He is a 6’4″ 290 pound prospect who survives more with effort than pure talent. In other words, DeForest Buckner, he is not. With that being said, he plays with nonstop relentlessness, and he is a great teammate. If he can add strength to his long frame, he will be in the mix at defensive tackle behind Buckner, Sheldon Day, Denico Autry, and Grover Stewart.
Round 6 (211th overall) – Isaiah Rodgers, Massachusetts CB/KR
Ballard acquired this pick from the Jets by trading Quincy Wilson. Rodgers is much smaller than Wilson, but he brings special teams experience and playmaking ability. He holds the UMass record for kick return yardage in a career. In Indianapolis, expect him to back up Kenny Moore at slot corner. He will also sub in for Hines and Parris Campbell as a return specialist.
Round 6 (212th overall) – Dezmon Patmon, Washington State WR
Patmon joins Pittman as another tall target with long strides and jump ball ability. Rivers has a history with big receivers, and T.Y. Hilton was the Colts’ only proven weapon. Ballard has provided both depth and size in the receiving room now. Patmon must improve his focus, but he could join a rotation at receiver immediately.
Round 6 (213th overall) – Jordan Glasgow, Michigan LB/SS
Glasgow, like Rodgers, seemingly has more value on special teams than defense. He is smaller than the other linebackers and slower than the other safeties. His defining trait, though, is his unending competitiveness. He refuses to give up on a play, which is often half the battle. With two older brothers already in the NFL, Glasgow is a safe bet to know what it takes to succeed at this level.
Undrafted free agents are still in the process of signing and being announced. When a full list is released, we will discuss the Colts’ haul there as well.