Colts’ draft projection: Unexpected selection headlines ideal outcome for Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS — Regardless of what NFL teams might proclaim post-draft, perfection is never achieved in any draft.

Players targeted by the team often get selected 10 to 15 picks before their next turn. Certain positions of need remain unaddressed due to a mismatch between value and draft position.

The Colts currently have 19 to 21 players graded as first-round talent on their draft board this week. Despite holding the No. 15 pick, it’s challenging to envision the rest of the league passing up on all those players by the time Indianapolis is back on the clock in the middle of the second round.

Except in this scenario. In this mock draft, everything aligns for the Indianapolis Colts, exceeding the immediate impact of the 2018 draft and finally allowing the team to take the next step towards the balanced squad General Manager Chris Ballard has long envisioned but never fully realized, a team capable of outplaying opponents on both offense and defense, thereby relieving pressure off Anthony Richardson as he progresses.

Colts’ Ideal 2024 NFL Draft Scenario

Ballard anticipates offensive talent dominating the early rounds of the draft. While many Indianapolis fans desire a wide receiver, the clear talent in players like Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, and Rome Odunze draws attention. As those prospects, along with tight end Brock Bowers, five quarterbacks, and three offensive tackles are selected, Ballard sees an opportunity to secure a crucial position he’s been seeking to fill throughout his tenure.

Round 1, Pick 15: Dallas Turner, DE, Alabama

Despite setting an Indianapolis-era record with 51 sacks last season, the Colts still lack a standout edge rusher akin to Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. Missing out on Danielle Hunter in free agency, they manage to land Turner in this scenario, a player with exceptional speed and long arms, providing a long-term solution and giving Richardson a formidable defensive counterpart.

Round 2, Pick 40 (from Washington): Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

In an unexpected turn, DeJean falls in the draft, allowing the Colts to acquire him with just a fifth-round pick in exchange. Meeting Ballard’s athletic criteria and possessing playmaking ability, DeJean’s versatility addresses multiple roster needs, including depth at cornerback and a dynamic return game.

Round 3, Pick 82: Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon

Despite aiming to regain the pick lost in the DeJean trade, Ballard is compelled to select Franklin, who offers both deep threat capability and yards-after-catch ability, complementing Richardson and bolstering the receiving corps.

Round 4, Pick 131 (from Chiefs): Beaux Limmer, C/G, Arkansas

After trading down, the Colts select Limmer to enhance offensive line depth and provide insurance in case of potential departures in free agency.

Round 5, Pick 173 (from Chiefs): Khyree Jackson, CB, Oregon

Completing the cornerback overhaul, Jackson’s size and potential offer stability and depth to the position.

Other selections

Ballard secures additional picks by trading down, selecting Jaylon Carlies, Ryan Flournoy, and Kimani Vidal to address various needs and bolster the roster’s depth.


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