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2021 Colts Draft Grade Thread - You Know You Want To


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You know you want to.  Yeah, it's too early.  But you know you want to.

 

Here is my review of our draft, as of 8:00pm Saturday night

1/21 - Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan  I LOVE this pick!  High athleticism, high technique, high character, highly coachable.  Can start on 1-2 downs right now.  Still needs coaching on pass rush.

2/54 - Dayo Odayingbo, DE, Vanderbilt  Concerned about the achilles injury.  I HOPE he comes through it as the potential first rounder they say.  Still a little miffed we didn't pick Freiermuth.

4/127 - Kylen Granson, TE, SMU  This pick is growing on me.  I prefer production over projection.  And he was productive in college.  His stats rival that of Freiermuth's.  I'm ok with that.

5/165 - Shawn Davis, S, Florida  Hard hitting free safety, with issues at playing single high.  Should contribute immediately on special teams.

6/218 - Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas  Why?  Why oh why?  There was no reason to draft a third QB.  Wasted pick, IMO.

7/299 - Michael Strachan, WR, Charleston  CB sure likes combing through the lesser colleges for talent.  Interesting fact:  his production rivals that of My Guy Simi Fehoko.  Except his 40 time was slower.

7/248 - Will Fries, G, Penn St  Yes, he is a guard, not a tackle.  And a right guard at that.  Adds depth.  Strength could add to goal line offense.  Could he compete for a starting spot?  We'll see.

 

Final Draft Grade:  B- to C+

We never addressed LT in the draft.  Not once.  Not even as a backup.  Lots of projects on this squad.  If they pan out, Ballard is a genius.  If they don't, well, poo.

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Love the Paye pick, and I hope the Dayo pick works out well like the Blackmon pick did. 

 

I don't get paid to draft NFL players, so reserving judgement til I see them on the field is what I have to do. 

 

In Ballard we Trust!! 

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Phew very uninspiring IMO. Hope ballard has a plan for left tackle. I’m tired of using draft capital on DE’s. Hopefully he’s finally figured it out cause he’s used a bunch of SWINGS trying to do so. 

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C-

Paye was a good pick, Dayo was a confusing one although loads of Tackles were taken off the board right before so I'm not mad that we didnt select one just to fill the need although I do think we could've traded back or picked someone else in a different position before getting Dayo. Didn't have a clue about Granson but his tape seems somewhat intriguing - not exactly a sure thing though to say the least. Davis will just be a depth guy I guess, Ehlinger was a surprising pick but allows for some good QB2 competition. The other 2 probably wont make the active roster..

 

For me the only thing that gets me excited about the draft is of course that our pass rush was addressed and I have high hopes for both of them to make a big impact.

 

 

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I'll give this draft a C- honestly.

Loved Paye. As I said, only issue with him was that Darrisaw was on the board, and I'll double down on that assertion now that Ballard never took a LT in the draft.

Still not a fan of Dayo. The torn achilles is a big deal and without a 3rd round pick, this was a pretty big risk and a double down on a position where we already got a really good EDGE in round 1.

I like Granson quite a lot and believe he can start for us right away with a solid training camp and preseason. Very athletic and fast, can produce, and it seemed his catch problems were in one game. Can't wait to see him play!

Hate the Shawn Davis pick. I heard before the draft that Darrick Forest was interviewed by Ballard and him and one other S went right before us in the 5th. This could almost be a reach and panic move to get a S in my opinion. He's also a zone S as well.

I'm up and down on taking Ehlinger here, but it's proper value, and we needed a 3rd QB. I'm ok in the end with it because of the trade back to acquire an extra pick.

Strachan is a fun pick in the top of the 7th. 6'5 225 receiver that can run a 4'4 and from a smaller school? I'll take that here. Lets see if he can become the 5th receiver for us.

I'm honestly fine with Fries here. Pretty good depth Guard that will probably make the team honestly. Just wanted more from the O-Line category and probably a LT at some point in the draft.

 

I thought the UDFAs were good as well. The WRs and LBers will have some competition so it should get interesting. 

 

The reason I gave it a C- was 1.) The Dayo pick, 2.) Shawn Davis, 3.) I thought Ballard completely leaned on athletes instead of football players besides Paye and sometimes he's just being too risky. Finally 4.) We didn't fix the LT position. Ehlinger was also borderline as well as only one extra pick in the top of the 7th.

 

I'm intruiged but not really excited if that makes sense as I think all these guys can be considered projects except Paye and that's not what I want from an entire draft.

 

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I don't want to give it a great per deal, I think they're pretty useless straight away.

 

But I liked the doubling down on the D line men early - I was just pretty confused by the next 3 picks. We seemed to go for people with unremarkable talent and also unremarkable traits, like were specifically trying to get run of the mill players or special team contributers.

 

That's not to say they're wrong - any of those guys could have a Blackman type season - but from the outside looking in there's not really much to get excited about in terms of potential. 

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I've been higher on some of Ballard's previous drafts but I wouldn't be as down on it as some here around a B-. I would say though that a lot of people seem to like the Paye pick but dislike we didn't do anything with LT but I think as soon as they picked Paye first they dramatically reduced the chances of doing anything at LT anyway. If you look at were we were when the round 2 pick came and put aside who we picked I'm not sure anyone jumped out as being a fit to sort out LT, for me in round 1 it was either attempt to sort out edge or LT but we weren't doing both and tbh I've waited for years for the Colts to select a potential difference maker at edge in round 1.

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As of one day after the draft, here's mine (all subject to change tomorrow and beyond). 

 

Overall:  B (one of the lowest grades of Ballard's tenure for me)

 

Paye:  B........Nice player, great person, but given the alternatives of Darrisaw or a trade down, Paye would have been my third choice here

 

Dayo:  B+....I liked him early in the process, then forgot about him after the injury.  Great fit and high floor, IMO, but the injury keeps this from being and A.  I'd rather take a guy who is complete but needs recovery time, than an athlete who is a project.  See Blackmon vs. Lewis, Turay, and Benagu.

 

Gransen:  B.....Fills a need.  Looks athletic.  At only 6'1", might lose some battles with LBs and SSs.  Hope he has consistent hands.

 

Davis:   A....My favorite pick.  Sounds like a single high safety for our zone scheme, and surely a target of Ballard's.  Round 5 is a good value.  From draftnetwork:   Shawn Davis is a rangy, scheme-versatile safety that’s shown to have value as both a single- and two-high safety. Although he’s shown the capability of being a true single-high type of safety, he wasn't allowed to play much of it in 2019. A quick-twitched option that covers a lot of ground during ball pursuit, he can flat-out run when given free paths to the ball. Prior to his sophomore year, Davis spent a lot of time on special teams, which will expand his draft stock because of the multitude of areas that he possibly could come in and provide value. A fluid mover, Davis’ smarts and awareness show up often no matter the coverage at hand. 

 

Ehlinger:  B....4 year starter with leadership, toughness, and High football IQ.  Might be a role model for Eason in those aspects.  At only 6'1.5, he's going to struggle to be thought of as a developmental player or much of a backup, but the rosters are expanding to 57.  He's athletic and could learn to be used in gadget roles.

 

Strachan:  A......Tall and athletic. Pure developmental.  A grades this low have little weighting towards the overall grade.

 

Fries: A.....Nice swing G/T.  At LT, played well against some of the bigger named edges in the Big 10

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8 hours ago, Jared Cisneros said:

I'll give this draft a C- honestly.

Loved Paye. As I said, only issue with him was that Darrisaw was on the board, and I'll double down on that assertion now that Ballard never took a LT in the draft.

 

 

I didn't love Paye, and definitely not with Darrisaw on the board. 

 

There was a lot of confidence here that a tackle would  be there at 54, that died at 53 when Radunz got picked. Tevi isn't the answer in long or short term.

 

I'm fine with the rest. Dayo might have been a little early, but had some great measurable and I expect him to be available by week 6. Granson, Ehlinger, and Strachan all fit needs.

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16 minutes ago, ColtV said:

I didn't love Paye, and definitely not with Darrisaw on the board. 

 

There was a lot of confidence here that a tackle would  be there at 54, that died at 53 when Radunz got picked. Tevi isn't the answer in long or short term.

 

I'm fine with the rest. Dayo might have been a little early, but had some great measurable and I expect him to be available by week 6. Granson, Ehlinger, and Strachan all fit needs.

I wanted Darrisaw, but I was fine with Paye because he's probably a solid player that's a scheme fit and I figured there would be a T or two available in round 2. When that didn't happen, I wished we would of taken Darrisaw. 

 

The day 3 picks are good for the most part and fill needs. I just don't like Dayo and Davis. 

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The first was OK, I would have preferred Darrisaw and grab a DE in round two, but I can live with Paye. It's after that! OT the most glaring weakness, not address to the bottom of the 7th. TE, a pick that is a reach, undersized and stone hands. No CB help at all.

This is the first time I feel like we completely bombed in the draft.

Grade "D"

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Sorry I haven't been around much.  Didn't even get a mock out this year.  So this will be long.

 

As for the draft, I'm giving it a B.  I don't hate it, but I don't think it looks like his best draft either.  Of course we will see.  I LOVE the first two picks of Paye and O.  Think his achilles is coming along from what I've heard and he may be available by mid-season.  Hopefully, he's a fast healer a la Blackmon.  But it looks like he can play inside or outside, and versatility is a good thing. 

 

Edge was, IMHO, our top need (although I realize many will say OT, but with what else we have on the OL and the way we were able to play without Castonzo in the playoff game, I'm not convinced).  It was no more evident than the playoff game where we let Josh Allen have his way back there and it cost us.  I'm still hoping we come to terms with Houston because he is at least a solid vet.  But I LOVE the two prospects we got here. 

 

Paye was arguably the best edge rusher in this draft, which I believe is an overall weak edge draft compared to recent years, but he was arguably the best there was.  Now if you want to say Ballard should have obtained one in FA rather than spending a pick on a weak draft, I'll listen.  But as far as the draft, this was the best they could've gotten at 21.  I don't know if he's a 3-down player right away, but he's at the very least a pass rush specialist at the start.  Grade: A

 

O. was highly coveted and could have come out last year.  According to our head of personnel, he would have been a 1st rounder had he done so.  Then the injury hit and he slid down many teams' boards in a world where instant impact is nearly paramount to save your job.  I highly doubt Ballard selects him if he wouldn't have already gotten Paye.  It would have been too much of a gamble.  But by getting Paye already Ballard was able to pull it off, and it just may pay large dividends down the road.  The scout also said the Rams were ready to pounce on him 3 picks later.  Two impressive prospects to improve one of the top two needs in the draft.  Grade: B+

 

I believe the 4th is where the Colts wanted to select on the of the OT's but as you know there were 2 or 3 good ones that went just before they picked, so IMHO they didn't feel anybody left was worth the selection there.  So they go Granson at TE, who was highly productive (and a good story).  I guess he's not much of a blocker, but that has never bothered Reich in his system as that isn't what they ask TE's to do.  He had a really bad game with drops, but otherwise that whole narrative was highly overblown.  He's a good player and should help the Colts TE room immediately.  Grade A-

 

Next, we got Davis at safety.  I thought for sure the Colts would be looking at CB rather than safety, but nonetheless Davis was productive and has range.  He's also not shy about making contact.  Tackling needs to improve however.  Sounds to me like a more physical Hooker.  Not a position of need in terms of a starter, but depth is always good.  Grade: B

 

The next round is sort of the head-scratcher for most, and I'm no different.  Yes, you generally need at least 3 QB's heading into the season, but with the addition of Wentz and already having Eason on the roster, this pick seemed more luxury than need at this spot.  The only reason I could possibly see for this pick here is that perhaps the front office doesn't see a future for Eason here?  Maybe he is Eason's replacement?  IDK.  Nobody has seen him take a pro snap yet due to the pandemic, so it's tough to evaluate him.  But in any case you certainly would have liked to see the best OT or CB available taken here instead, and left your 3rd QB spot to a UFA to fill (Jamie Newman anybody?).  But he is certainly athletic and can do more than just throw a football.  The only reason I won't give it an F is because we have no idea what his plans are for him.  Taysom Hill maybe?  Grade: D

 

I love Strachan's size and speed and his hands and wingspan are HUGE.  My only question is if he's "all that" why wasn't he higher up on everyone's board?  Is it because he played at Div. II?  Is it something else like injury history?  Is it a combo of all that?  In either case, he's undoubtedly an intriguing prospect and the last 2 rounds are where you take your gambles and nobody can fault you for it.  This is no doubt a gamble, but it sure looks like an intriguing one.  If it works out, Ballard is a genius.  If not, nobody remembers it.  My bet is on Ballard here.  Grade: A-

 

Fries is an enigma to me.  When you watch tape he acquitted himself quite well against top-level competition in the Big Ten like our own Paye and last year's DROY Young.  And he has played all but center so he is versatile.  So then why was he not a top half of the draft prospect?  I think some of drafting is "future prospect" and I get the feeling that many think he's already near the top of his ceiling, which is solid but not elite.  He's not going to get your QB killed but he's not going to keep him clean either and that's probably not going to get much better at the next level.  I don't think the Colts are expecting him to win the starting job, but depth is never a bad thing and, again, he's versatile so.....This has the feel of a "break glass in case of injury at guard or tackle" pick to me.  Grade: B-

 

So again, solid B to me.  I think we've got 2 - 3 potential starters here.  The only pick I don't love is Ehlinger and I'm sure I'm not alone in that.  Nothing against the player, just in terms of need and draft position.  I'm on board with everything else, even though I think they could have taken a CB somewhere.  They are putting an AWFUL lot of confidence in Ya Sin again.  As always, we shall see, but Ballard has proven often that he's pretty good at this.

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8 hours ago, DoubleE Colt said:

I've been higher on some of Ballard's previous drafts but I wouldn't be as down on it as some here around a B-. I would say though that a lot of people seem to like the Paye pick but dislike we didn't do anything with LT but I think as soon as they picked Paye first they dramatically reduced the chances of doing anything at LT anyway. If you look at were we were when the round 2 pick came and put aside who we picked I'm not sure anyone jumped out as being a fit to sort out LT, for me in round 1 it was either attempt to sort out edge or LT but we weren't doing both and tbh I've waited for years for the Colts to select a potential difference maker at edge in round 1.

There's some validity to that.  I think those who wanted Edge first (myself included) would have been upset they went LT first and not been able to get anybody of notice to address the pass rush problem, and then there's others who are upset we addressed the pass-rush problem but were then unable to get a premier guy at LT.  We didn't have two 1st rounders so somebody is going to be upset no matter what he does.  Even if he takes the best LT in the 2nd round people are going to say he should have taken XYZ in the 1st and taken ZYX in the 2nd instead.  Bottom line, not enough high picks to address everything you want to address at once.  My guess was he felt the value at DE was higher at that point than it was at LT.  Period.

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22 minutes ago, AZColt11 said:

There's some validity to that.  I think those who wanted Edge first (myself included) would have been upset they went LT first and not been able to get anybody of notice to address the pass rush problem, and then there's others who are upset we addressed the pass-rush problem but were then unable to get a premier guy at LT.  We didn't have two 1st rounders so somebody is going to be upset no matter what he does.  Even if he takes the best LT in the 2nd round people are going to say he should have taken XYZ in the 1st and taken ZYX in the 2nd instead.  Bottom line, not enough high picks to address everything you want to address at once.  My guess was he felt the value at DE was higher at that point than it was at LT.  Period.

Personally outside of Darrisaw I didn't really see anyone who could potentially come in and make a difference at LT straight away and once we went edge that really passed on that one. Even the names that were mentioned on here pre draft Jenkins, Eichenberg and Cosmi are all looked at as RT projections or even moving to guard so probably wouldn't have provided a solution really. 

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1 minute ago, DoubleE Colt said:

Personally outside of Darrisaw I didn't really see anyone who could potentially come in and make a difference at LT straight away and once we went edge that really passed on that one. Even the names that were mentioned on here pre draft Jenkins, Eichenberg and Cosmi are all looked at as RT projections or even moving to guard so probably wouldn't have provided a solution really. 

Not only that, but if you look at just overall best player available, most had Paye ranked higher than Darrisaw, so he was just doing what he should, take the BPA that fills a need.

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