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Off-Season Eve Mock Draft

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Originally, this mock was going to include Wentz as the QB for 2022, but I started working on this mock about an hour before the Wentz trade news. Even after a few days, I still do not know what QB move is realistic or in the best interest of the Colts moving forward. There's three main ways the Colts can go about this: trade for a veteran, sign a bridge QB, or draft the future starter. Given our draft position and the QB prospects this year, I'm not big on drafting a QB at #42 or moving up. Carson Strong and Matt Corral are somewhat intriguing, but I think I'd rather go with a more proven QB at this juncture. If we sign a bridge QB, it would probably be Mariota or Bridgewater, but I can't say either one particularly excites me. While it may not be in their best interest, I am going forward with trading for a veteran QB in this mock to see what it could look like for the Colts. With JT in his prime years, the Colts might be tempted to continue to go the veteran route to stay in contention. A lot of RBs (Gurley, CMC, Barkley, etc.) have fallen off the map in recent years due to injuries and overuse, so the Colts may not want to wait for a rookie in 2022 or 2023 to develop.  


For contracts and to keep track of cap space, I used Overthecap. For lists of free agents, I used Spotrac. For the draft, I used the Draft Network's Mock Draft Machine.  


2022 Cap Space (per Overthecap): $69,996,446 | Cap Space in 2023: $103,075,266




DT DeForest Buckner - Saves $6,643,333 in 2022, Adds $3,321,666 in 2023

CB Kenny Moore - Saves $2,732,500 in 2022, Adds $2,008,750 in 2023 


2022 Cap Space after Restructures: $79,497,280 | 2023 Cap Space after Restructures: $96,896,100




G Quenton Nelson - 5 Years/$92M (Includes $50M Guaranteed and $18M in Signing Bonus) - 2022 Cap Hit - $11.6M | 2023 Cap Hit: $16.1


2022 Cap Space after Nelson Extension: $81,651,280 | 2023 Cap Space with Nelson Extension: $80,796,100




DE Ben Banogu - Saves $1,305,615


2022 Cap Space after Banogu Release: $82,956,895 




Unrestricted Free Agents

T Eric Fisher

WR T.Y. Hilton 

G Mark Glowinski

CB Xavier Rhodes 

TE Mo Alie-Cox - 2 Years/$8.5M (2022 Cap Hit - $3.75M) 

WR Zach Pascal 

DE Al-Quadin Muhammad - 1 Year/$3M 

T Sam Tevi 

DL Isaac Rochell 

S George Odum - 1 Year/$2.5M

CB T.J. Carrie 

RB Marlon Mack 

DE Kemoko Turay 

T Julien Davenport 

G Chris Reed - 2 Years/$6.5M (2022 Cap Hit - $2.5M)

DL Tyquan Lewis - 1 Year/$2.25M

S Andrew Sendejo

DT Antwuan Woods

K Michael Badgley 

LB Matthew Adams

LB Zaire Franklin - 1 Year/$2M

T Matt Pryor - 1 Year/$3.25M 

S Jahleel Addae 


Restricted Free Agents 

WR Ashton Dulin - Original Round Tender ($2,433,000)

DT Taylor Stallworth - Original Round Tender ($2,433,000)


Exclusive Rights Free Agents 

WR Quartney Davis 

DT Robert Windsor - ERFA Tender ($825,000)

CB Nick Nelson 

LB Skai Moore - ERFA Tender ($825,000)


2022 Cap Space Remaining: $68,040,895  | 2023 Cap Space: $76,796,100




Colts receive: Derek Carr, 2023 4th  

Raiders receive: C Ryan Kelly, 2022 2nd, 2023 1st, 2023 3rd  


In this trade scenario, the Raiders realize that they cannot compete in a loaded AFC West and decide to move Carr. Josh McDaniels and the Raiders reportedly said they want to keep Carr as their QB, but Pete Carroll said the same of Russell Wilson shortly before he was traded to Denver. While the stats (23 TDs & 14 INTs) may look like a downgrade from Wentz (27 TDs and 7 INTs), Carr is one of the more accurate QBs in the NFL (68.4% completion percentage, which ranked 5th, compared to Wentz ranked 25th at 62.4%) and has developed into a better deep ball passer over the years. Despite all the turmoil the Raiders dealt with last year, Carr was able to win 10 games and get the Raiders into the playoffs with wins over the Colts and the Herbert-led Chargers in the final two weeks of the season.  


With the Nelson extension coming, it will be tough for the Colts to continue to balance the budget with three offensive lineman making over $10M+. Due to his age (29) and recent production, the Colts move Kelly to the Raiders, who are in need of quality interior offensive lineman (the only C on the Raiders roster currently is Andre James). Trading Kelly does not save much money this year ($3 M) but would result in much more cap space next year ($12.375M in savings in 2023). I like Kelly a lot as a player and I understand the personal circumstances and injuries he went through last year. For the sake of this mock, I had to include him in a trade package to try to make it as realistic as possible. Even looking at the trade, I am not even sure if it is realistic for either side or if I would 100% want the Colts to do it. But, because the offseason starts tomorrow, I am going through with this trade scenario to try to depict what a Derek Carr offseason could look like for the Colts. 


2022 Cap Space after Trade: $51,988,376 | 2023 Cap Space: $89,171,100


Free Agents


WR Christian Kirk - 3 Years/$35M ($15M Guaranteed | $9M Signing Bonus | 2022 Cap Hit - $9.8M | 2023 & 2024 Cap Hits - $10.8M | Voidable Years of $1.8M in 2025 and 2026)

It is quite apparent that the Colts lack pass-catching playmakers. With Pittman Jr as the only WR option the Colts can consistently trust, they need to find another WR to pair next to him. At 25 years old, Kirk provides an instant upgrade to the Colts downfield and intermediate passing attack. In 2021, Kirk had a career year with 77 Rec, 982 Yards, and 5 TDs. Kirk would be a vertical slot in the Colts lineup, as Kirk lined up in the slot on 79% of his snaps in 2021. I don't see the Colts getting into a bidding war for Kirk, but he would bring much-needed help for the WR corps that lacks anyone outside of Pittman Jr.   


DE Emmanuel Ogbah - 3 Years/$33M ($13M Guaranteed | $9 M Signing Bonus | 2022 Cap Hit - $10.5M | 2023 Cap Hit - $11.5M)

Pass rush has been a consistent problem for the Colts in recent years. In 2021, the Colts were tied for 25th in sacks (33) and 24th in pressures (157). Ogbah is coming off his two best years in the NFL and has found his groove during his time in Miami. In 2021, he had 9 Sacks, 9 tackles for loss, 24 quarterback hits, and 12 pass deflections. More importantly, Ogbah is among the leaders in pressures, with 39 last season. For comparison, Buckner led the Colts with 27 pressures as a DT. The leader among DEs was Muhammad with 19. Ogbah would slot in nicely as the "big end" in Bradley's defense.  


CB Casey Hayward Jr - 1 Year/$6.5M (Fully Guaranteed | $4M Base | $2.5M Signing Bonus) 

The idea of bringing Casey Hayward Jr in is a popular topic on this forum since it makes a lot of sense with the hiring of Gus Bradley. Despite being 33 years old, Hayward had a bounce back season with Las Vegas and is still one of the better zone corners in the NFL. I think he still has another year of solid CB play and can replace the veteran presence left behind by Xavier Rhodes. 


T Joseph Notebloom - 2 Years/$12M ($4M Base Salary in 2022 and 2023 | $4 M Signing Bonus)

Coming out as a project player in the 3rd round for the Rams, Noteboom is still quite inexperienced, but while filling in for Andrew Whitworth last season, he showed he has starting tackle potential. With the report that the Colts will not bring back Eric Fisher, they will be in search of a new left tackle. With tackles like Terron Armstead on the market commanding close to $20M, Noteboom would be a cheaper option for the Colts that has a good amount of potential to fill next to Nelson on the line.  


S Kareem Jackson - 1 Year/$3.5M ($3 Base | $1.5M Signing Bonus) 

Blackmon is coming off an a season-ending Achilles injury and Willis has yet to play a full season. As we saw last season where the Colts had to rely on Sendejo and Odum on the back end, the Colts need a reliable veteran presence at safety. Jackson's man coverage skills have declined over the past few seasons, one of the contributing reasons for him to switch to safety in Denver after being a CB in Houston. Still, he's a solid veteran safety that can play both safety spots and has the football IQ to learn any scheme.   


DE/DT Jordan Willis - 1 Year/$2.25M 

While he hasn't done much as a former 3rd round pick, he did have a career high in sacks last year with 3. Willis adds depth along the DL and replace Rochell's spot from last season. 


QB Colt McCoy - 1 Year/$2M (Fully Guaranteed)

Last season, the Colts had to rush Wentz back into action after his foot injury and COVID because they did not have a viable option behind him. McCoy is a serviceable emergency starter and is a decent backup at his pricetag. 


C Austin Blythe - 1 Year/$1.25M 

The former 2016 6th round pick makes his return to the Colts. After being a 16-game starter for the Rams in 2020, Blythe only played in 4 games (started none) with the Chiefs in 2021 and dealt with a sports hernia injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season. Blythe adds depth to the interior OL and could be a potential starter if Pinter does not work out at center.  


2022 Cap Space Remaining: $17,011,104 | 2023 Cap Space: $60,871,100


Derek Carr would most likely get an extension if he comes to the Colts, which would still give the Colts around $30M in cap space at the start of the offseason in 2023. 


NFL Draft


Round 3 Pick 73: WR Jalen Tolbert - South Alabama  

Was initially leaning towards Wan'Dale Robinson in the 3rd round, but with a Slot WR already on the roster with Kirk, I felt it was better to get an X receiver that can complement Pittman Jr. Tolbert has good size and speed at 6'3" with a 4.49 40 time, which gives him the athletic traits to be a good YAC receiver. Best suited as an X but can be a big slot in certain formations. Has a lot of upside as a prospect and can be a really good WR in the NFL if he continues to develop his route tree.   


Round 3 Pick 82: TE Greg Dulcich - UCLA

Much more of a pass-catching and playmaking TE than he is as a run blocker. Dulcich is a good route runner, with a decent catch radius and solid hands. Possesses the big-play capability that we haven't seen from a TE in awhile (probably not since Dallas Clark unless you count the year Ebron had with Luck in 2018).    


Round 4 Pick 121: CB Joshua Williams - Fayetteville State 

At 6'3", Williams is a big corner out of a small school. Williams has excellent length, athleticism, ball skills, physicality, and coverage instincts that make him an enticing developmental outside corner that excels in zone schemes. Even with the Hayward Jr signing, Colts need to add more depth to their CB group (I do think Rodgers has potential and I like what I saw from Ya-Sin last year, but injuries are inevitable so CB depth is a must). 


Round 5 Pick 159: IDL Otito Ogbonnia - UCLA 

Colts are not in desperate need of IDL with guys like Buckner and Stewart on the roster, but the Colts could use another rotational 1-Tech. Does not offer much as a pass rusher but is a more than capable run stopper. Not particularly explosive but displays a good amount of strength. 


Round 5 Pick 178 (Projected Comp Pick): EDGE Cade Hall - San Jose State  

Best suited as a sub-package 4-3 DE. Not particularly athletic but has a high motor and good technique. 


Round 6 Pick 218 (Projected Comp Pick): T Vederian Lowe - Illinois 

Lowe is a developmental left tackle with the potential of being a starter down the road if an offensive line coach can get the most out of him.  


Round 7 Pick 238: IOL Ben Brown - Ole Miss 

Played right guard for Ole Miss but has the versatility to play various spots along the line. Had snaps at tackle and center.  


Cap Space Remaining After Draft: Approximately $10M (Probably a little more since late Day 2 and Day 3 contracts are not as expensive. Either way, $17M going into the draft offers the Colts a lot of cap flexibility)




Bold = Free Agent/Trade Acquisition 

Italics = Rookie 


QB: Derek Carr, Colt McCoy, Sam Ehlinger
RB: Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines, Deon Jackson 
WR: Michael Pittman Jr., Ashton Dulin, Mike Strachan
WR: Jalen Tolbert, Dezmon Patmon
Slot: Christian Kirk, Parris Campbell
TE: Mo Alie-Cox, Greg Dulcich, Kylen Granson 
LT: Joseph Noteboom, Vederian Lowe

LG: Quenton Nelson, Will Fries
C: Danny Pinter, Austin Blythe 
RG: Chris Reed, Ben Brown 
RT: Braden Smith, Matt Pryor

DE: Emmanuel Ogbah, Dayo Odeyingbo, Al-Quadin Muhammad

DT: DeForest Buckner, Tyquan Lewis, R.J. McIntosh, Rob Windsor
DT: Grover Stewart, Otito Ogbonnia, Taylor Stallworth
DE: Kwity Paye, Cade Hall, Jordan Willis  
OLB: Darius Leonard, E.J. Speed
MLB: Bobby Okereke, Skai Moore
OLB: Zaire Franklin, Jordan Glasgow

CB: Casey Hayward Jr. Isaiah Rodgers 

CB: Rock Ya-Sin, Joshua Williams, Marvell Tell III 

Nickel CB: Kenny Moore II
FS: Julian Blackmon, George Odum
SS: Khari Willis, Kareem Jackson 

Special teams
K: Rodrigo Blankenship

P: Rigoberto Sanchez

LS: Luke Rhodes

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Interesting take on the Carr trade.  I think I might do that at that price, depending on how many years he’s under contract for.  I totally agree 100% with your inside FA analysis - those are the exact FAs I think we should re-sign.   Well done!

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2 hours ago, danlhart87 said:

Kirk will most likely get 15+ per


No, he won't. His production tapered down as the season went on. Everyone knows his numbers in the slot are far better than the numbers outside. Gallup as a No.2 WR, which Kirk at best will be got 5 years $62 mil. and he plays outside. Folks that play the slot, unless they are Cooper Kupp, rarely get paid $10 mil. per year. I am thinking more along the lines of 3 years $24-27 mil. for Kirk.

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53 minutes ago, chad72 said:


No, he won't. His production tapered down as the season went on. Everyone knows his numbers in the slot are far better than the numbers outside. Gallup as a No.2 WR, which Kirk at best will be got 5 years $62 mil. and he plays outside. Folks that play the slot, unless they are Cooper Kupp, rarely get paid $10 mil. per year. I am thinking more along the lines of 3 years $24-27 mil. for Kirk.


48 minutes ago, danlhart87 said:

Somebody will overpay for Kirk

For what it's worth, PFF has his projected contract at $13M/year and Spotrac has it at $11.8M/year. I guess it really depends on how many teams are going after him. Robinson is probably the #1 WR in Free Agency right now, but Kirk is probably close behind him, depending on how teams feel about JuJu, Chark, and OBJ. I feel like $12M/year is a good number for him, but I can't say I would be totally surprised either that his price gets raised in a bidding war.   

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3 minutes ago, Caleb3502 said:


For what it's worth, PFF has his projected contract at $13M/year and Spotrac has it at $11.8M/year. I guess it really depends on how many teams are going after him. Robinson is probably the #1 WR in Free Agency right now, but Kirk is probably close behind him, depending on how teams feel about JuJu, Chark, and OBJ. I feel like $12M/year is a good number for him, but I can't say I would be totally surprised either that his price gets raised in a bidding war.   


I guess, it just takes 1 team to overpay him. :) My numbers were more along how Kirk is used and how much Ballard would be typically willing to pay. Ballard did pay Ebron 2 years $13 mil. with the potential to be $15 mil. in 2018-2019, so if Kirk deserves double figures for a few years, I am hoping Ballard makes it happen.


However, I do not see Ballard paying for more than 1 skill position player in free agency and the likelihood that he would pay more for the trenches and secondary is greater for free agency than skill position. 

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Seems like a lot for 17 career starts but he showed potential of being a very good LT. They needed to replace Whitworth so it makes sense, though they'll have a lot of restructuring to do. 

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1 minute ago, Caleb3502 said:

Seems like a lot for 17 career starts but he showed potential of being a very good LT. They needed to replace Whitworth so it makes sense, though they'll have a lot of restructuring to do. 


  A bit of a WOW!!!  They paid FULL retail.
   The price to land a stud is going way up.

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