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  1. I could see it. On the other hand, the fifth year option isn’t as valuable for teams in the new cba — especially for teams trading up late to snag a QB. It’s now tied to positional value instead of draft slot and fully guaranteed when exercised. The option will now be the same as the transition tag. For QBs in 2020, that was a little over $24 million, only a couple million less than the franchise tag. The value also becomes equal to the franchise tag if a player makes the pro bowl twice in his first three years. There are still benefits — teams still get an extra year of control but the monetary difference is pretty small now. I wonder if they might actually be targeting a tackle. Receiver is deep throughout the draft. But there’s a big drop off from the Josh Jones/Ezra Cleveland/Austin Jackson tier slotted for the late first to the Lucas Niang/Prince Tega Wonogho/Matt Peart group. Moving up a few picks wouldn’t cost much.
  2. It’s pretty clear the Ballard regime puts a heavy emphasis on leadership and football character. About 75% of the Colts draft picks over the last two years were team captains. With that in mind, here’s a list of 2020 draft prospects that are also team captains that I thought might be worth sharing. A couple of quick points: in addition to captaincy (C), I’ve also noted Senior Bowl players (SB), the position-adjusted SPARQ percentile of players that worked out at the combine, and arm length for positions that the Colts probably have a threshold for (OL, DL, and CB). I left out probable first rounders, since the Colts aren’t scheduled to pick until #34, and limited my focus to combine invitees. Also, this list isn’t meant to be comprehensive. Tracking down team captains isn’t as easy as it might seem — particularly for schools that nominate individual game captains. QB Jalen Hurts (C, SB) Jake Fromm (C) Cole McDonald (C) James Morgan (C) Steven Montez (C, SB) Nate Stanley (C) Jake Luton (C) Brian Lewerke (C) Tyler Huntley (C) RB Jonathan Taylor (C, 96%) D’Andre Swift (C, 63%) JK Dobbins (C) Eno Benjamin (C, SB, 62%) Antonio Gibson (C, SB, 89%) WR Michael Pittman Jr. (C, SB, 85%) Devin Duvernay (C, SB, 93%) Bryan Edwards (C) KJ Osborne (C, 79%) Jauan Jennings (C, SB, 13%) Marquez Calloway (C, 58%) Aaron Parker (C, 4%) KJ Hill (C, SB, 32%) Tyler Johnson (C) Antonio Gandy-Golden (C, SB, 67%) Chris Finke (C, 17%) Freddie Swain (C, 53%) Lynn Bowden (C) Collin Johnson (C) James Proche (C) IOL John Simpson (C, SB, 45%, 34 1/8) Matt Hennessy (C, SB, 70%, 32 1/4) Tyler Biadasz (C, SB, 32 1/4) Nick Harris (C, SB, 83%, 32 1/8) Lloyd Cushenberry (C, SB, 59%, 34 1/8) Hakeem Adeniji (C, SB, 54%, 33 3/4) Danny Pinter (C, 94%, 31 7/8) Ben Bredeson (C, SB, 31 1/8) Shane Lemieux (C, SB, 52%, 32 1/4) Cohl Cabral (C, 32 1/4) Kevin Dotson (C) Logan Stenberg (C, SB, 18%, 32 1/2) Cameron Clark (C, 34 1/8) Jonah Jackson (C - Rutgers, SB, 12%, 33 1/2) Kyle Murphy (C, 33 7/8) Calvin Throckmorton (C, 32 1/2) Simon Stepaniak (C, 32) Colton McKivitz (C, SB, 27%, 33 3/4) OT Prince Tega Wanogho (C, 33 1/2) Josh Jones (C, SB, 60%, 33 7/8) Ben Bartch (C, SB, 32 7/8) Matt Peart (C, SB, 96%, 36 5/8) Lucas Niang (C, SB, 34 1/4) Terence Steele (C, SB, 82%, 35 1/8) Charlie Heck (C, SB, 80%, 34 1/8) TE Adam Trautman (C, SB, 73%) Colby Parkinson (C, 70%) Brycen Hopkins (C, SB, 36%) Dalton Keene (C, 54%) Josiah Deguara (C, SB, 20%) Charlie Taumoepeau (C, SB, 65%) EDGE Josh Uche (C, SB, 33 5/8) Zack Baun (C, SB, 60%, 32 3/4) Bradlee Anae (C, SB, 13%, 32 1/8) Darrell Taylor (C, 33) DJ Wonnum (C, SB, 69%, 33 1/8) Curtis Weaver (C, 68%, 32 3/8) Casey Toohill (C, 89%, 33 1/2) Alex Highsmith (C, 68%, 33 1/8) Derek Tuzuka (C, 71%, 31 3/8) James Smith WIlliams (C, 83%, 33 3/4) Kenny Willekes (C, SB, 33%, 31 1/4) Anfernee Jennings (C, SB, 32 7/8) Jonathan Greenard (C - Louisville, SB, 32%, 34 7/8) Khalid Kareem (C, 34 3/8) Tipa Galaei (C, 33 5/8) LaDarius Hamilton (C, 9%, 32 1/8) Kendall Coleman (C, 7%, 31 3/4) Cam Gill (C) DT Leki Fotu (C, SB, 93%, 34 1/4) Ross Blacklock (C, 21%, 32 3/8) Jordan Elliott (C, 65%, 32 3/8, 63%) Rashard Lawrence (C, 32%, 34 1/8) Jason Strowbridge (C, SB, 20%, 32 3/8) Neville Gallimore (C, SB, 69%, 32 3/4) Marlon Davidson (C, SB, 33%, 33) Broderick Washington (C, 32 1/2) McTelvin Agim (C, SB, 89%, 33 1/2) Raequan Williams (C, 31%, 33 3/8) Teair Tart (C) Malcolm Roach (C, 93%, 31 7/8) Darrion Daniels (C, 51%, 33 1/4) S Jeremy Chinn (C, SB, 99%) Kyle Dugger (C, SB, 99%) Tanner Muse (C, 94%) Brandon Jones (C) K’Von Wallace (C, SB, 97%) Daniel Thomas (C, 91%) L’Jarius Snead (C, 98%, 31 3/8) Alohi Gilman (C, SB, 34%) JR Reed (C, 66) Geno Stone (C, 26%) Xavier McKinney (C, 20%) Jalen Elliot (C, SB, 28%) CB Bryce Hall (C, 32 1/4) Dane Jackson (C, SB, 7%, 30 3/8) Kindle Vildor (C, SB, 60%, 32 1/4) Brian Cole (C, SB, 87%, 31 3/8) Michael Ojemuda (C, SB, 66%, 32 1/4) Jeff Gladney (C, 27%, 31 7/8) AJ Green (C, SB, 43%, 30 7/8) Essang Bassey (C, SB, 56%, 31) Demarkus Acy (C, 31 1/8) Bopete Keyes (C, 32 5/8)
  3. Yeah, there’s a pretty small group of CBs that meet the 32” threshold in this year’s class. I do wonder how dogmatic Ballard is about arm length — is it like in Seattle where guys with sub-32” arms aren’t even on the board, or a bit more nuanced? Because there are a lot of good prospects in this class that hit above 31 inches. Here are the CBs with 32” arm length I’ve identified this year for anyone that’s interested. Jeff Okudah - 32 5/8 Trevon Diggs - 32 3/8 Bryce Hall - 32 1/4 Michael Ojemuda - 32 1/4 Kindle Vildor - 32 1/4 Bopete Keys - 32 5/8 Lamar Jackson - 32 1/4 Madre Jackson - 33 7/8 Hall, Vildor, Ojemuda, and Keys were either permanent or game captains in 2019. Vildor, Ojemuda, and Lamar Jackson all participated in the Senior Bowl. Madre Jackson was dismissed from Oklahoma State prior to landing at Southern Illinois and might have some “football character” concerns to overcome to make it on the Colts’ board.
  4. Good discussion. It’s kind of fun to play around with the different scenarios. The ideal move down for me would be something like: Indianapolis receives #58, #89, #108, #155 = 577.2 points Minnesota receives #34, #193 = 573 points Obviously that’s unlikely to happen due to the sheer number of picks Minnesota would be giving up. But the strength of this draft (and pretty much any draft) is in the second and third round. If I’m a GM, I want as many bites at the apple in that range as possible. A trade like the one above would give us two seconds and three thirds. That’s a ton of draft capital in a key portion of the draft.
  5. I’d think a team at the end of round one like the 49ers would make sense. The Colts get the the fifth year option and SF gets to recoup more draft capital — I think they’re missing all of their day two picks.
  6. This is what I was thinking. If you’re going to prioritize the lines at the expense of skill positions, you have to have better depth at RB. Mack is a free agent in 2021 and hasn’t shown the ability to stay healthy for a full season. Hines is a good receiving back and should flourish with Rivers at QB, but Jordan Wilkins isn’t anything special and Johnathan Williams might not be resigned. JK Dobbins is a guy that ticks all the Ballard boxes. Big, productive, team captain, unique athlete (top SPARQ in the country among all players at Nike events as a high school senior). I could see the Colts grabbing him in round two.
  7. I’d like to see a trade down at #34. There will likely be interest in that pick coming at the top of the round so it could generate a good return. I’d group those WRs in to the same general tier with guys like Shenault, Pittman Jr., Claypool, and Hamler. I like some better than others but would rather trade down and pick up an extra third so we can potentially grab two from that pool — or fill another need at OL, CB, etc. The total lack of activity in free agency with the receiving group makes me think Ballard might want to double dip the position early in the draft. Something like Aiyuk/Shenault and Pittman Jr would be ideal to me.
  8. This is pretty much what I’m thinking. I don’t think Reich wants to limit Campbell to a slot-only option. For all his struggles last year, Agholor had a really nice year in 2017 under Reich and Groh working primarily out of the slot. For the draft, Michael Pittman Jr. is a guy that checks pretty much all of Ballard’s boxes. Team captain, good production (100+ catches, 1275 yards, and 11 TDs as a senior), solid athlete (85th percentile SPARQ), Senior Bowl attendee, and NFL bloodlines. He also has added value as a gunner on special teams. Not sure why it seems like he’s flying under the radar a bit but I can’t help but think he’s going to be a target.
  9. Exactly. This might be the first offseason I can recall where the supply of available QBs might actually outstrip demand. In free agency, you have Brady, Rivers, Winston, Bridgewater, Tannehill, and Mariota. Andy Dalton is available via trade, and Cam Newton and Derek Carr might be. With the draft you have Burrows, Tua, Herbert, and Love as first round type guys. It’s pretty clear that Cincinnati, San Diego, Tampa, and Indy will be in the market for new QB starters. New England, Las Vegas, Tennessee, and Carolina might be. Chicago and New Orleans are probably looking for high-upside backups that could step in as long-term starters this year (Chicago)or next (New Orleans). If Tampa moves on Bridgewater early in free agency as rumored, I’m not sure there’s another good fit for Rivers outside of Indy. Maybe New England if Brady moves on?
  10. I could see that. Spanos needs to fill seats in their new stadium and Brady would do that and give them a shot to be competitive — assuming they shore up the OL in free agency and the draft and their defense stays healthier next season. In that case someone like Hurts could develop at a reasonable pace without having the expectations of a first round pick or the fans clamoring for him to take over for a lame duck starter at QB. I could also see them tailoring their offensive to a running QB, similar to the Ravens. Word is that Lynn prefers athletic QBs, and they already have the right placeholder QB to make that transition in the near term with Tyrod Taylor on the roster. Hurts would obviously be a good fit to run that kind of system in the future as well.
  11. Claypool was also one of best gunners in college football last season — which isn’t surprising given his size/speed. Obviously you’re not drafting him in the second or third round based on his teams ability, but it’s definitely an added benefit that boosts his floor.
  12. Analytics departments absolutely will. I don’t know the extent to which analytics informs the scouting process for the Colts, or if they even have a seat at the table at all, but college strength of schedule does seem to be a predictive factor when modeling QB success at the NFL level. Here‘s a good overview of this year’s class from a purely statistical standpoint — and which factors tend to be statistically significant— for anyone that’s interested: https://www.rotoworld.com/article/nfl-draft-preview/early-nfl-draft-qb-rankings-analytics
  13. I don’t put much credence in something like this and Love is still my favorite (realistic) choice but I’ve been wondering if Love will actually have grades closer to the mid second than early first for most teams. I mean is he really a better prospect than Drew Lock? Similar size and both are good athletes for the position — Love will probably test better but Lock was no slouch, with a 4.69 40 at 228 pounds. Both have big arms and were known for a similar gunslinger mentality in college. But Lock had better stats than Love (165 QBR vs 158 as a junior; 148 vs 129 as a senior) against much better competition in the SEC. And Lock went #42 overall in what might be a weaker overall draft. On the other hand, Love had better stats against better competition than Josh Allen —and will likely have a similar physical profile — and Allen went #7 overall.
  14. This is a loaded OT class. I’d be happy if Ballard chose to double up on both WR and tackle this year.
  15. Not necessarily my choices — or particularly under the radar — but here’s who I think Ballard might be interested in: - Maliek Collins: Young, good pass rusher (top five in pass rush win rate according to Next Gen Stats), can play 1 or 3T, played in pretty much the same system Eberflus runs while in Dallas, shouldn’t be unaffordable. -Shelby Harris: Productive, good pass rusher, can play 1 or 3T, shouldn’t be unaffordable, seems like a Ballard guy (7th rounder who was cut by multiple teams but worked his way up to a starter for Denver). -Derek Wolfe -Nelson Agholor - Had his best season under Reich and Groh in Philadelphia, by all accounts is a good locker room guy, should be pretty cheap. Other than those guys, maybe a veteran TE like Tyler Eifert or Vance McDonald for depth (I think Hunter Henry gets franchised and Austin Hooper probably ends up way overpaid). I could also see a vet NT with a little more pass rush talent/potential (Mike Daniels?) to rotate with Stewart and/or a base end (Carl Nassib, Quinton Jefferson?) if they want to move on from Sheard. Just my two cents.
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