Some years of bad moves by former general manager Ryan Grigson, like trading a first-round pick for Trent Richardson and blowing one on Bjoern Werner, are coming back to bite Indianapolis. The Colts have a ton of needs on their talent-deficient roster, including edge rusher, running back, cornerback, defensive line, linebacker, and more offensive line talent. The defense is in horrible shape, so Indianapolis could take the best defensive player available regardless of position. McKinley isn't the best player available, as I know some teams that graded him in the mid-rounds, but the Colts have shown a ton of interest in him, including general manager Chris Ballard spending a lot of time with McKinley.
McKinley is a pass-rushing specialist who enjoyed a breakout senior season. In 2016, he racked up 61 tackles with 18 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, three forced fumbles and six passes batted. It was a big improvement over his junior year when he recorded 35 tackles with 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and four passes broken up. McKinley was a backup as a sophomore, but had 2.5 sacks.
For the NFL, the 6-foot-2, 250-pounder's body type would fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He could play right defensive end in 4-3 scheme, but would have to be rotated regularly and could struggle to defend against the run. In college, McKinley had a high motor, but he would get destroyed against the run regularly. He also lacks pass-rushing moves, is very tight, and is a one-trick pony speed rusher. Thus, I think he has some bust potential.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Malik McDowell, DT/3-4DE, Michigan State
The Colts continue to build up the talent on their defensive line. They need a disruptor at the point of attack, and McDowell could make a significant impact at five-technique. Indianapolis has hosted him on a visit, and I think this could be a great value for the Colts in the second round.
McDowell totaled 34 tackles with seven for a loss and just 1.5 sacks in 2016, but was very disruptive with pressure on the quarterback. He was a backup in 2014, but broke out in 2015. At times during that season, McDowell was the Spartans' most disruptive defensive lineman. He totaled 41 tackles with 13 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a pick-six on the year.
The 6-foot-6, 295-pounder has a lot of upside to develop. Teams love his skill set, but have concerns about his work ethic in the weight room and motor. They also feel that McDowell seemed to be protecting himself in his final games. They question his desire to be great and love of football. Still, he would be a perfect fit as a five-technique in a 3-4 defense. Sources from multiple teams have McDowell as a high first-round talent and like him more than Arik Armstead and similarly to DeForest Buckner.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
D'Onta Foreman, RB, Texas
The Colts could use a running back to eventually replace Frank Gore.
Foreman was a beast in 2016, rolling over defenders while averaging 6.3 yards per carry for 2,028 yards with 15 touchdowns. He wasn't much of a receiver with seven receptions for 75 yards, but Foreman is a load as a runner who can run over the opposition. The 6-foot, 233-pounder is a power back for the NFL, and sources have said that Foreman really impressed them in 2016.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Howard Wilson, CB, Houston
The Colts could use more talent at corner, plus they have Vontae Davis in a contract year.
Wilson (6-1, 184) was a surprise early entry in the 2017 NFL Draft as he was not expected to skip his final two seasons of college football. The NFL Draft Advisory recommended that Wilson go back to school. He probably will be a mid-round pick, but he has a good skill set. In 2016, Wilson notched 54 tackles with 10 passes broken up and five interceptions. He could be a sleeper corner who ends up being a nice value pick.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Anthony Walker, OLB/ILB, Northwestern
The Colts need to improve their roster all over the place. Here is some linebacker help.
In 2016, Walker recorded 105 tackles with 10 for a loss, four forced fumbles, two sacks, five passes broken up and one interception. Sources say they liked Walker (6-1, 238) more as a player in 2015. He was 20 pounds heavier in 2016, and sources feel that the extra weight severely degraded his speed and explosion.
Prior to his weight gain, Walker was a fast sideline-to-sideline defender. He functioned well in man coverage and was very dangerous in zone. Walker had a great 2015 season as he totaled 122 tackles with 20.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, four passes batted, one forced fumble and one interception.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama
The Colts continue to build up their defense with a free safety upgrade.
Jackson recorded 24 tackles with two passes broken up, one interception that was returned 55 yards for a touchdown, and two punts returned for touchdowns in 2016 before a broken leg ended his season after eight games. The 6-foot, 194-pounder massively improved after a move to safety from cornerback for 2015. He had six interceptions, 46 tackles and two passes broken up there at the former that season. Jackson looked more natural in coverage as a safety. As a sophomore corner, Jackson totaled 41 tackles with six passes broken up and one interception. He had 19 tackles with two passes broken up and a pick in 2013. Jackson needs to continue to add weight to play in the box and tackle in the NFL.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
De'Veon Smith, RB, Michigan
The Colts could use multiple running back upgrades. Smith is a good fit and will help protect Andrew Luck.
I think Indianapolis will likely trade down. If they are stuck at No. 3, then I think Saquon Barkley would be their top target with Chubb as a lovely plan B. The Colts need an edge defender who can be the building block for their defense and a potential franchise defensive player. Chubb could fit that for Indianapolis. <br> <br>
Chubb totaled 73 tackles with 25 for a loss, 10 sacks, three forced fumbles and two passes batted in 2017. He was awesome against Florida State, making some huge plays to lead N.C. State to a road upset with two sacks, a forced fumble and seven tackles. Chubb dominated the competition in 2017, playing like a top-10 pick. <br> <br>
The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Chubb has scheme flexibility and has been a tough defender for the Wolfpack. He has good quickness for a big defensive end and has shown the ability to get off blocks with his strength and hand usage. Chubb has developed some variety in pass-rushing moves and looks like an asset as a future three-down starter in the NFL. In 2016, he totaled 58 tackles with 22 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and one pass batted. As a sophomore in 2015, Chubb collected 5.5 sacks.
The Colts grab the best player in the draft, adding a running back who could transform their team. Indianapolis needs a running back of the future, and having a dynamic runner would help protect Andrew Luck. <br> <br>
Barkley is a tough runner with an amazing burst. The 5-foot-11, 223-pounder has devastating first-step quickness to hit the hole and accelerate downfield. Along with great speed, Barkley has tremendous balance, vision, cutting ability, elusiveness and power. He also is a receiving threat who presents mismatch problems for a defense in the passing attack. Barkley is an elite running back prospect in the same mold of Leonard Fournette and Todd Gurley, and better than Ezekiel Elliott. Unless Barkley has an injury or off-the-field issue, he's a lock to be a top-10 pick next April. <br> <br>
In 2017, Barkley is averaging 5.7 yards per carry for 1,134 yards with 16 touchdowns. The junior has 47 receptions for 594 yards and three touchdowns as a receiver. Barkley averaged 5.5 yards per carry in 2016 for 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also made 28 catches for 402 yards and four touchdowns as a receiver. Barkley was very impressive as a freshman in 2015 when he averaged 5.9 yards per carry for 1,076 yards with seven touchdowns. He also caught 20 passes for 161 yards and a score. Barkley was very impressive, running for 194 yards on 26 carries against an Ohio State defense loaded with NFL talent.
The Colts grab the an edge defender who can be the building block for their defense and a potential franchise defensive player. <br> <br>
Key is a fast edge rusher with a ton of upside to develop. Sources have told me that the 6-foot-6, 260-pounder loves football and is a hard-worker who strives to improve in the offseason. They said he has worked with pass-rushing-moves guru Chuck Smith, and that is impressive dedication for a collegiate player. Key missed the first two games of 2017 and was eased back into action in Week 3 against Mississippi State. He had three tackles and a half-sack against the Bulldogs. Key also had a game-clinching sack against Auburn. He played well taking on Alabama, having his way with both offensive tackles. For 2017, Key totaled 33 tackles with four sacks and a forced fumble. <br> <br>
In 2016, Key was one of the best players in college football. He recorded 56 tackles with 14.5 for a loss, 12 sacks, three forced fumbles and three passes broken up on the year. Key is a dangerous pass-rusher with excellent speed and the ability to bend around the corner. He flashed a ton of potential as a freshman for LSU, totaling 41 tackles with 6.5 for a loss, five sacks and one pass broken up.
There is no secret that the Colts need some blocking help in front of Andrew Luck if he ever plays again. If he turns out to be healthy again they could trade Jacoby Brissett for a few picks as well. That will allow them to take a guy like Nelson who is kind of an out of the box pick and land a defender later. Nelson is a plug and play guard who will be a Pro Bowler from day one like another former Irish Zach Martin. There are only two blockers worth keeping on the Colts roster Ryan Kelly and Anthony Castonzo so I am sure they will find a spot for Nelson.
Last Mock's Pick: Bradley Chubb DE N.C. State
After the depth acquired and moves made this offseason it looks like something happened to Andrew Luck for the Colts to selecting this early. This is a result of the offense being 100% dependent of him for success and thats not the way an offense should operate. The Colts need to give Luck the running game he hasn't had in his career, his starting running backs have ranged from Vick Ballard to the bust Trent Richardson to the very much aging Frank Gore, who just cannot preform at a top level anymore. They drafted Marlon Mack who will steal carries from Gore, but can't carry the load by himself. After the 2017-18 season Gore is a free agent and will likely retire unless another poor soul signs him to be their running back, and now makes an even bigger hole at running back. Guice has shown great running skills when he's played, but now with Leonard Fournette gone he can show he full ability and could challenge Saquon Barkley for the spot at best running back in the class. Guise can take pressure off of Luck and create a more balanced offense in Indianapolis.