Indianapolis Colts 2020 Mock Draft
Russell S. Baxter
Indianapolis Colts 2020 Mock Draft
By Robert Voigt
Special to Pro Football Guru
The 2020 NFL draft will be Chris Ballard’s fourth as general manager of the Indianapolis Colts. His first order of business was to completely overhaul an older defense. He wanted to build a younger, faster defense that could grow as a unit together. Ballard traded the Colts’ 2020 first round pick, No. 13 overall, to the San Francisco 49ers for the three-technique defensive tackle that coordinator Matt Eberflus’ defense desperately needed. DeForest Buckner was then signed to a five-year contract extension. The Colts’ defensive building seems as complete as can be. Younger players in secondary will need to perform well for the Colts to have a Top 5 defense many are hoping for.
I am predicting the Colts will focus their attention to the offense during the last two drafts of Ballard’s original five-year GM contract. This off-season, Ballard has made it clear he wants playmakers in a recent interview with 1075 The Fan’s Dan Dakich (via Andrew Walker of Colts.com).
The playmaker-type player, whether it’s receiver, tight end, running back – it doesn’t matter to me. Just somebody that can make those game-changing plays in the big moments in games. And that's not just offensively, that’s defensively, too. I think it goes on both sides of it.
To confirm my beliefs in a player’s potential, I referenced Lance Zierlein's professionally-scouted prospect profiles and combine results. To confirm a player should be available at the Colts draft spot, I sorted ALL of the 2020 “experts” draft mocks using @benj_robinson data (click HERE).
The draft slotting availability also applies to players listed as “others to watch” in every round. And I always find all the college football statistics I want (click HERE). Note: Fastest results is to enter player’s name in search field.)
Last year’s mock draft results: 0 actual picks, 3 “others to watch” are current Colts: Ben Banogu, Marvell Tell and Ashton Dulin. When in doubt, mock the athletic, fast guy with long arms and big hands who played in the Senior Bowl.
It is time to build head coach Frank Reich’s offense with young playmakers that can grow together. Big time players from big time programs that made big plays in big games. You want playmakers, here you go.
Note: Player analysis from Lance Zierlein NFL.com.
Round 2, Pick No. 34
Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
If you haven’t seen Jalen Hurts making big plays in big games, you haven’t been watching college football. He is the ultimate team-first leader that players love to play with. He is a coaches’ dream who proved to be highly productive and efficient when given the chance. After three seasons at Alabama, Hurts transferred to Oklahoma to lead Lincoln Riley's offense. The same offense that has produced the last two No. 1 overall picks in quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Hurts ran more than both of those guys. He led the team with 1,298 yards, averaging 5.6 yards per carry and scored 20 rushing touchdowns rushing. Hurts completed 69.7 percent of his passes for 3,851 yards passing, 32 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. His passer efficiency was second to only Joe Burrow at 191.2. First team All-SEC as a freshman. First team All-Big 12 as Senior. Finalist for Heisman Trophy, Davey O’Brien Award and Maxwell Award. Hurts would be the backup to recently-signed Philip Rivers for the 2020 season and become starter in 2021.
Zierlein: Tremendous leadership qualities. Shows poise to make plays late in games. Has experience in a variety of schemes. Play extender who can make big plays on the move.
OTHERS TO WATCH: Trade up to 31st pick; Denzel Mims, WR; Ezra Cleveland, OT; Justin Madubuike, DT
Round 2, Pick No. 44
K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State
Hamler was Penn State’s only WR threat in 2019 and faced the opponent’s best coverage cornerback, typically with safety help. Hamler possesses the “get a step and he’s gone” type speed and athleticism similar to Tyreek Hill. He averaged 16.1 yards on his 59 catches in 2019. He had 904 yards and eight touchdowns receiving. Do not let Hamler’s 5’9”, 178-pound frame fool you. When Penn State needed to convert third-and-three to secure a win against Michigan, they ran it with Hamler. He will need to work with Colts’ wide receivers coach Reggie Wayne to clean up route running and the jugs machine to improve on concentration drops. Also returned kickoffs and punts. Paul Hornung Award finalist. Hamler would be T.Y. Hilton’s backup as WR4 until he earns more playing time.
Zierlein: Showed press shake against Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah. Separation burst to open the passing window. Deep speed to separate and stay separated. Run after catch is electrifying.
OTHERS TO WATCH: Chase Claypool, WR; Kyle Dugger, S; Jaylon Johnson, CB; Jacob Eason, QB
Round 3, Pick No. 75
Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
Another lightning fast, highly productive receiver. Devin was high school state champion in the 100 meters and ran a 4.39 forty at the combine. He is not small carrying 200 pounds on his 5’10” body. Duvernay averaged 13.1 yards on his 106 catches in 2019. He had 1,386 yards and nine touchdowns receiving. Also returned kickoffs and punts. First team All-Big 12 as Senior. He will need to work on route running but is not afraid to go over the middle. Duvernay would compete for the WR5 spot on roster.
Zierlein: Runs like he hates humanity as he blasts through tacklers. Can pluck throws in traffic or nestle them in traffic. Very reliable, soft hands. Thrives with catch and run.
OTHERS TO WATCH: Michael Pittman, WR; Jeremy Chinn, S; Neville Gallimore, DT; Zack Moss, RB; Jake Fromm, QB
Round 4, Pick No. 122
Colby Parkinson, TE, Stanford
Parkinson was a red zone threat in 2018 scoring seven touchdowns on his 29 catches. He averaged 16.7 yards per catch and totaled 485 yards. In 2019 double teams and issues at QB reduced his TD receptions to one. He did throw a TD pass though. Colby averaged 12.3 yards on his 48 catches for 589 yards. He will be the big receiver fans have been calling for. He has the size and athleticism any team would love. 6’7”, 252 pounds with 33-1/4” arms. He will need to improve his run blocking if he wants to be more than just a pass catching TE. Parkinson would compete to be the third active TE on game days.
Zierlein: Can release into routes from variety of alignments. Capable of attacking all three levels effectively. Plucks it away from body to protect it from hand rakes. Good focus to make the challenging catch.
OTHERS TO WATCH:
Anthony Gordon, QB; Reggie Robinson, CB; Jabari Zuniga, DE; Jason Strowbridge, DE
Round 5, Pick No. 160
Darrynton Evans, RB, Appalachian State
The first time I saw Darrynton he was returning a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown versus Penn State. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry rushing for 1,480 yards with 18 touchdowns. Evans also had 21 catches with 5 touchdowns last season. Named Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year last season. First team All-conference last two seasons. Evans would compete with Jordan Wilkins to be the third active RB on game days.
Zierlein: Patient runner who sets up open field tacklers, leaving their feet in mud. Sneaky leak out on screens with quick run after the catch. Rare ball security with no fumbles in 482 carries. Aggressive lead shoulder on blitz pickup and chip blocks.
OTHERS TO WATCH:
Joshua Kelley, RB; Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR; DJ Wonnum, DE; Cam Brown, LB
Round 6, Pick No. 193
Kindle Vildor, CB, Georgia Southern
The only player predicted I did not watch in a game until the Senior Bowl. Vildor intercepted a pass with a good return in the Senior Bowl. He has everything Ballard looks for in a defensive back. Speed, athleticism, long arms, big hands. First team All-conference last two seasons. Vildor would compete for roster spot at cornerback.
Zierlein: Athletic ability to play in a variety of coverages. Long arms and big hands for a CB. Flashes his burst to close and challenge throws from Cover 2. Man cover talent to stay near his target.
OTHERS TO WATCH: Jon Runyan, OL; Quez Watkins, WR; Jared Pinkney, TE; John Reid, CB
Round 6, Pick No. 197
Tanner Muse, S, Clemson
Tanner Muse’ production was overshadowed by bigger name players on the Clemson defense. He had 14 pass break-ups, seven interceptions, a forced fumble and a defensive TD in his career. First team All-conference last season. Muse would compete to be a backup at safety and special teams’ starter.
Zierlein: Had a history of finding the ball at Clemson. Ability to cover TEs. Excellent ball-tracking. Quick to diagnose and trigger downhill against the run. Should be a four-phase special teams’ player as a pro.
OTHERS TO WATCH: Trishton Jackson, WR; Robert Windsor, DT; Cole McDonald, QB; Nate Stanley, QB
Enjoy the draft, stay safe, wash your face and hands, and follow @pfgvibe!
Rob Voigt is a freelance football writer. Follow him on Twitter at @ColtsFnSnceBert.