Perhaps no team shocked the NFL landscape more than the 2018 Indianapolis Colts. Another solid showing in the NFL Draft could have them thinking Super Bowl.
There was skepticism surrounding the Indianapolis Colts entering the 2018 NFL season. Quarterback Andrew Luck had been an enigma for two years dealing with a shoulder injury. Their general manager, Chris Ballard, was tasked with rebuilding a roster that was left in shambles by the previous administration. Hopes were low that Indianapolis could make a major step forward.
Almost overnight that outlook changed. The first step was Ballard and company nailing the draft. Picking guard Quenton Nelson at sixth overall, perhaps the best football player in the class was a culture changer. Acquiring multiple picks, including high-end second rounders, for moving down to that sixth spot was masterful work.
When it was all said and done Ballard drafted three starters with his first three picks, including Defensive Rookie of the Year, linebacker Darius Leonard. The other two, Nelson and offensive lienman Braden Smith were an enormous reason why the unit up front went from a concern to a strength. The Colts got more out of their draft class than almost anyone. Running backs Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines were integral in their offense. Defensive lineman Kemeko Turay and Tyquan Lewis are contributors up front. Even wide receiver Deon Cain looked poised to be a contributor before injuring himself.
The arrow is pointing up in Indianapolis and that is before mentioning that they hold the second most cap space in the NFL according to Over The Cap. The Colts sit around $107 million in space. Their pending free agents include very little impact players. Of the bunch Pierre Desir, Matt Slausson,Margus Hunt, Clayton Geathers and Chester Rodgers were meaningful players for last year’s team. Not a single one of those are bank breaking players. Expect Indianapolis to throw their name in the ring for a lot of big name free agents.
Without knowing what they will do in free agency, here is how Ballard can use his litany of picks to improve this roster. This mock draft was done using Fanspeak’s On the Clock tool.