With a new coaching staff and defensive scheme change, this was a big draft for the Colts who are looking to get back to the playoff contender we’ve been accustomed to seeing the past several years. Our Indianapolis Colts 2018 NFL Draft Review analyzes each of their picks looking at scheme fit and value.
Indianapolis Colts 2018 NFL Draft Review
1st Round, Pick #6: Quenton Nelson G Notre Dame
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) November 3, 2017
As soon as the Colts pick was on the clock they wasted no time turning in the card and drafting Quenton Nelson. Protecting Andrew Luck has been an issue for the Colts for years but now they are able to get an elite level guard who can step in and contend for All Pro status. Look for the Colts to insert Nelson in at left guard and move Jack Mewhort outside to right tackle where he has played in the past.
2nd Round, Pick #4: Darius Leonard LB South Carolina State
Moving to a fast 4-3 defense the Colts need to get more athletic at linebacker and that is exactly what Leonard brings to the table. Leonard can really fly to the ball using his speed to close the gap and make tackles on the edge. There may be a bit of a learning curve coming from FCS, but Leonard was tackling machine at the Senior Bowl finishing with 14 during the game.
2nd Round, Pick #5: Braden Smith G Auburn
General Manager Chris Ballard knew he needs to protect Andrew Luck and after taking Quenton Nelson with their first pick they doubled up adding Smith who has played both right guard and tackle during his tenure at Auburn. Smith has height and length but uses his athleticism well to get out in space and make plays. Smith could compete at both guard or tackle on the right side but at a minimum he could be a super sub early in his career.
2nd Round, Pick #20: Kemoko Turay DE Rutgers
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) October 22, 2017
Indianapolis wasn’t able to get Bradley Chubb so had to wait till day two to find some pass rushing help. Turay looked like a potential top 10 pick after his freshman year but disappeared his sophomore and junior year before being used as a run defender this past year. Turay still shows some explosiveness and bend needed to be a good pass rusher and the Colts are hoping they can get his full potential out.
2nd Round, Pick #32: Tyquan Lewis DE Ohio State
Needing pass rushers badly the Colts reached a bit taking Lewis who was just an average pass rusher at Ohio State. Lewis lacks the bend and explosiveness to be a consistent pass rusher and is better used inside where he can use his quickness and motor against offensive guards.
4th Round, Pick #4: Nyheim Hines RB North Carolina State
Hines is a former wide receiver who had success moving to running back mainly rushing off the edge and being used as a receiver out of the backfield. With Marlon Mack looked to be the feature back Hines will be counted on to be a compliment and another weapon for Andrew Luck.
5th Round, Pick #22: Daurice Fountain WR Northern Iowa
Fountain has size, speed and explosiveness to go along with long arms and big hands. With all the traits to be successful the Colts need to develop him as a route runner to get the full potential. Indianapolis has a potential diamond in the rough here.
5th Round, Pick #32: Jordan Wilkins RB Mississippi
With Frank Gore signing with the Dolphins the Colts need to add more backs to fill his role. Marlon Mack will be the feature back and Wilkins will be looked to be the backup between the tackles runner. Wilkins may lack the burst or top end speed to hit home runs he does have good patience and the lateral agility to navigate through the hole.
6th Round, Pick #11: Deon Cain WR Clemson
Alongside Mike Williams, Deon Cain gave Deshaun Watson a big play threat down the field. As the lead back he struggled to be the feature weapon and was exposed as a deep threat only. The Colts are thin at receiver so if Cain can use his size and above average speed to make plays down the field he’ll have a spot on the roster.
7th Round, Pick #3: Matthew Adams LB Houston
Continuing to add new linebackers to the roster the Colts get a downhill thumper as a middle linebacker to control the middle of the field. Adams profiles best as a backup middle linebacker who’ll have to make his hay on special teams.
7th Round, Pick #17: Zaire Franklin LB Syracuse
Another effort to add a different type of linebacker the Colts used their final pick on Franklin who is a run and chase linebacker with good speed. Franklin will be another player to likely compete for a role on special teams and hope to carve out a niche as an outside linebacker.
Draft Grade: B+
Best Pick: Quenton Nelson
Biggest Reach: Tyquan Lewis