The Indianapolis Colts went for broke last season by signing QB Philip Rivers and finished 11-5 in the National Football League (NFL) regular season. However, they lost in their American Football Conference (AFC) Wild Card game to the Buffalo Bills. Now, the Colts decided to press their luck once again after trading for QB Carson Wentz after Rivers retired.
Nevertheless, Indianapolis is not too far from taking their team to the next level if they make a few minor adjustments. Let us take a look at if they were able to address their weakness in this year's NFL Draft.
Round 1, Pick 21: Kwity Paye - DE - Michigan (6' 2 1/2", 261 lbs). Paye is an explosive pass rusher along the edge. He only played four games last season due to injury, but finished with four tackles for loss and two sacks. He moved up on the draft boards based upon his Pro Day, but he must begin to turn all of that potential into production. He should see some time along the defensive line on the edge or in the middle on passing downs.
Round 2, Pick 22: Dayo Odeyingbo - DE - Vanderbilt (6'5", 285 lbs). Odeyingbo dropped in this draft to the second due to an Achilles tear during the offseason, but he had a nice season as a disruptor along the edge (8 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks). Depending on how much he has recovered, Odeyingbo should see some time as a part of the defensive end rotation.
Round 4, Pick 22: Kylen Granson - TE - Southern Methodist (6' 1 1/2", 241 lbs). Granson is a receiving tight end that should see a lot of passes at the position (35 receptions, 536 yds, 5 TD). The Colts will probably be losing one or two TE's due to free agency, but picking Granson will keep Indianapolis deep at this position.
Round 5, Pick 21: Shawn Davis - S - Florida (5'11", 202 lbs). Nobody on Florida's defense had a good 2020 season, but Davis was picked based upon his 2019 season (three interceptions, 6 pass break-ups). He will be competing to make this roster as a backup safety and on special teams.
Round 6, Pick 34: Sam Ehlinger - QB - Texas (6'1", 220 lbs). Ehlinger almost single-handedly put Texas football back on the map with his tough-nosed play after being the starter at the Longhorns for three and a half seasons. He was more accurate this past season (2,566 passing yards, 26 TD's) as his interceptions went down from ten to five. He is also a running threat, especially in short-yardage situations (377 rushing yards, 8 rushing TD's). He should end up being the back-up quarterback because the Colts drafted a QB last season, but that did not work out.
Round 7, Pick 1: Mike Strachan - WR - Charleston (WV) (6'5", 226 lbs). The Colts went deep into their research archives and selected Strachan in the seventh round. Division II teams did not play in 2020 due to the pandemic, but Strachan was one of the best wide receivers in Division II in 2019 (78 receptions, 1,319 yards, 19 TD). His size makes him an intriguing prospect who should see some time whenever the Colts offense is in the red zone.
Round 7, Pick 21: Will Fries - G - Penn State (6'6", 309 lbs). Fries started at guard and at tackle last season for the Nittany Lions. His versatility will add some more depth to an already formidable offensive line rotation.
Grade: The Colts really needed to add pass rushers from the outside, so Paye and Odeyingbo should help in that regard. Ehlinger is the most intringuing pick because he may see some playing time based upon the previous injury history of Carson Wentz. Nevertheless, it seems like Colts owner Jim Irsay made most of these picks. I give a grade of D+.
All stats are from NFL.com.