If I Hear One More Question About Carson Wentz, I will Scream: A Colts Draft and Combine Primer

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Ballard’s Dangerous Dance

Day one of the Coaches and General Manager press conferences went off without a hitch, unless you are Colts GM Chris Ballard or Colts Coach Frank Reich. I attended these press conferences live and after each of them, there are only more questions, specifically about Carson Wentz. Neither were willing to let anything slip about the future Wentz has in Indy, and neither got any other questions besides those.

Let’s start with Ballard. After giving up a third round pick in last year’s NFL Draft and a First round pick in this year’s, Ballard and Colts Owner Jim Irsay were all in on this past season. 

“This pick was supposed to be at best 24, and should’ve been much later,” a Colts media personnel said on Tuesday while waiting on Ballard to take the podium.

Immediately when Ballard stepped up his smile and southern charm shined through, the questions began firing from all angles. 

“...We’re still working through it, and I know I will get a lot of questions about Carson right now, and I don’t have a direct answer for you. We’re working through it. Jim, Mr. Irsay, Frank and I will sit down over the next ten days to try to figure out where it’s going. We are going to do the best thing for the Colts, both in the Short term and the long term.”

IMG_20220301_134152250-225x300


“...There’s good discussion. You can have a great relationship and disagree. Frank Jim and I are all trying to do what is best for the team and for the city by and large, and the discussions are happening.”

Ballard continued to “dance with the devil” and tiptoed around the answer to Carson Wentz’s future. There were some damning moments that I think highlight the negative vibes in the locker room over the last few games of the season, and overall everyone involved is very disappointed with how the season ended. That being said, he said multiple times that discussions would continue and only time will tell about the Carson Wentz decision, which needs to be made by March 18th, 2022, when the second half of his $30 million contract is Guaranteed. 

Reich’s Neck Wrung

While this press conference was going on, Frank Reich was at the Colts practice facility trying to disseminate information from practice with Wentz and his wide receivers. He was working on making sure the team makes an informed and correct decision for the future of the team. After “sticking his neck out” for Carson, there are lots of questions that Reich and the Colts need answers to. 

“... Carson did a lot of good, our team did a lot of good, and I think Carson will continue to do good,” Reich said during his 4 PM presser. He later added “ I believe we have a lot of cards for the league, and our draw is going to be important to see if we can get a few extra cards.”

“... Continuity is ideal. You can grow together. Is there a side for the long term of that? That’s just the hand we’ve been dealt.”

“... Carson and I went back a couple of days ago just to watch a ton of film and it’s up to me Chris and Mr. Irsay to make our decisions and have good dialogue, and at the end of the day we believe in each other and come together in support of whatever decision is made…”

Reich added that he “stuck his neck” out for Carson, and he still believes in him. He thinks he will still have success in the NFL.

“...You play good football and nobody questions you anymore. You instill confidence in you, confidence in the coach, confidence in the team.” 

Overall, Reich definitely seemed to speak more highly of Carson than Ballard, and especially more than Jim Irsay who has been irked with Carson since he went out with covid-19, after choosing not to be vaccinated. His expressed frustration, paired with two losses in must-win games, has really driven a nail in Wentz’s coffin in Indianapolis. 

If I Am Ballard For The Day, This is What I do

I don’t see a path forward where getting rid of Carson Wentz is a net positive for the Indianapolis Colts. I think Wentz is a slightly above average quarterback, but on a decent deal, just 10th overall for a quarterback cap hit, and $15 million is his dead cap, the figure the team would be required to pay him. So unless the Colts can get Russell Wilson, then Wentz should continue being the guy going forward. Many people in the NFL media group take shots at Wentz constantly, while forgetting that he had a 3.75 touchdown to interception ratio at 27 to7. Giving him another year, when his cap hit would be zero, is huge. 

So assuming that I keep Carson Wentz, what do we do in the draft? I think the Colts have some major holes, starting at playmaker. Boasting one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL, behind stud Jonothan Taylor and perimeter playmaker Nyheim Hines, the Colts contrast with one of the league’s worst passing attacks. Being 26th in the NFL in passing is not a recipe for success as the teams in the AFC and NFC Championships were all top 12 in total passing. That is why I look at a lot of Wide receivers in this draft. There is a lot of speed and talent in this wide receiver class, and that is one aspect the team is missing, a player who can torch a defense for 70 yards and be a deep threat. In addition to wide receiver, the team has a few holes in depth positions for Offensive line, Safety, Tight End and Edge Rusher. If the Colts drafted a Quarterback or Running Back in the later part of the draft, I wouldn’t be shocked, but with the way the roster is currently set up with Sam Ellinger and a copious amount of backup Running Backs, I didn’t predict any of those positions taken. 

The Colts will have 8 draft picks in this upcoming NFL draft, Including the 47th overall pick. With so many holes, and few picks to use, here is my Indianapolis Colts Mock Draft 1.0:

PICK 47 TRADED To Atlanta for Picks 58 and 112

Chris Ballard has always loved draft day trades to get extra compensation, and this draft has a lot of mid-to-late round potential, the perfect draft for Ballard and the Colts to flex their scouting muscles and make educated moves for more picks. 

Bernard-Raimann
PICK 58 Bernard Raimann, Offensive Tackle, Central Michigan


Raimann has been climbing up draft boards all season long, and for a non-power school, Central Michigan had a great Offensive Line. Raimann is explosive, strong and projects to be a 10 year starter in the NFL if he can get a couple of years watching. He is the best projected offensive lineman available, and will definitely be worth a second round pick in a year and a half when he is shutting down defensive ends, and protecting the blindside of the quarterback on the left side of the line. 
























Height Weight Age Position Rank 40-Yd Dash Bench Press Vertical Broad
6’6” 303 lbs 24 6 OT, 56 Ovr 5.68 sec 30  33.2” 117.5”

Pick 71 Traded To Indianapolis from Chicago for Picks 112 and 120

Chris Ballard has always loved draft day trades to get his guys too. He traded up for Jonathan Taylor, and this time he is trading up to get his receiver, his vertical threat. 

Jon-Metchie-III
PICK 71 John Metchie III, Wide Receiver, Alabama


If Metchie doesn’t get hurt, Alabama wins the College Football National Championship. His draft stock has tanked since his injury, but he has such high potential and is one of those guys who can flat out fly. He has been an absolute deep ball threat for Alabama, and will be a huge upgrade to the Indy receiving core. His injury, while significant, should be fully healed come August, and he will be a burner next to Michael Pittman Jr. 

Due to injury, not all workouts are reported.























Height Weight Age Position Rank 40-Yd Dash Bench Press Vertical Broad
5’11” 187 lbs 21 9 WR, 59 Ovr 4.36 sec N/A N/A N/A

 

george-pickens
PICK 82 George Pickens, Wide Receiver, Georgia


The Colts definitely need a lot of help on the outside, so having them take back-to-back wide receivers makes sense. Ballard, however, is not  a GM who usually takes weapons back to back, but in this case, it’s obvious: take the best player available. Another exceptional route runner, with stellar possession and hands. He struggles burning by players, but his route running will get him on the field and keep him as one of the best players in the deep wide receiver class. 























Height Weight Age Position Rank 40-Yd Dash Bench Press Vertical Broad
6’3” 196 lbs 21 10 WR, 78 Ovr 4.47 sec N/A 33” 125”

Qwuantrezz-Knight
PICK 158 Qwuantrezz Knight, Safety, UCLA


The Colts have a good safety from the Pac-12 already in Julian Blackmon, but his injury history makes you question his long term fit, and in the later rounds of the draft, it’s time to start looking at best player available, and Knight is a hard hitting safety who has made some highlight hits over his six-year career. His hands are rough at best, but he breaks passes up better than most players and is really willing to put his body on the line to put a lick on a player.























Height Weight Age Position Rank 40-Yd Dash Bench Press Vertical Broad
5’11” 199lbs 24 14 S, 146 Ovr 4.50 sec N/A 36” 114”

Dylan-Parham
PICK 177 Dylan Parham, Offensive Guard, Memphis


The Colts have depth issues on the offensive line, especially if they choose not to re-sign Mark Glowinski and Eric Fisher. Parham has rushed up the board of offensive line candidates, and has been a great starter for a Tiger roster that needed all the help they could get on the Offensive Line. He has some issues getting off the ball, but his strength and protection are second to none. He would be an absolute steal in the draft if the Colts are able to draft him in the 5th round with 51 career starts. 























Height Weight Age Position Rank 40-Yd Dash Bench Press Vertical Broad
6’3” 313 lbs 22 18 OG, 148 Ovr 4.98 sec N/A N/A N/A

Mike-Tafua
PICK 217 Mike Tafua, Edge Rusher, Utah


The Colts have always taken chances on later round pass rushers, historically under Ballard.Tafua has high upside with a productive senior season and showing pretty good speed off the ball. His intelligence is also unmatched in this draft and he has shown the ability to beat almost anyone off the ball. He struggles against the run, but in a run stopping system like Indianapolis, I think they should be fine if he just pins his ear back and takes the quarterback down. 























Height Weight Age Position Rank 40-Yd Dash Bench Press Vertical Broad
6’3” 256 lbs 22 47 DL, 176 Ovr 4.74 sec N/A N/A N/A

Lucas-Krull
PICK 237 Lucas Krull, Tight End, Pittsburgh


Several great players have been taken in the 7th round. Marques Colston, Donald Driver, and Shannon Sharpe stick out as pass catchers in the 7th round. With Lucas he is a possession receiver and red zone threat, and with decent size can be an absolute matchup nightmare. His footspeed is decent for a tight end, and can make linebackers struggle covering him downfield. His biggest knock is blocking, but a system like the Colts, will allow him to make big plays for the team in the Red Zone.























Height Weight Age Position Rank 40-Yd Dash Bench Press Vertical Broad
6’6” 254 lbs 23 13 TE, 224 Ovr 4.65 sec N/A N/A N/A

Cameron-Dickers
PICK 238 Cameron Dicker, PlaceKicker, Texas


When the Colts got rid of Rodrigo “Hot Rod” Blankenship, my heart broke. Their kicking was inconsistent down the stretch of the season, and using your final seventh round pick on a kicker is not always the worst decision teams can make. It will be hard to find a player as efficient at kicks as Dicker in any draft, and with a career long of 57 yards, he has a good leg. He missed 4 extra points his career, and was 4 for 8 of kicks longer than 55 yards. 























Height Weight Age Position Rank 40-Yd Dash Bench Press Vertical Broad
6’0” 219 lbs 23 1 PK, 214 Ovr N/A N/A N/A N/A

Where Do We Go From Here?

The Colts need to make the Carson Wentz decision ASAP. There are too many moving parts if he is moved or not moved. After that they have some free agency questions. They will have almost $40 million in projected salary cap space, and that leaves them with several options to make the team better. If they want to bring back Eric Fisher, it will probably cost them around $12.5 Million a year. T.Y. Hilton is almost 33, and will be by the time the season comes around, therefore I find it unlikely that he returns for anything more than $5 to 6 million. Mark Glowinski and Xavier Rhodes both could be back on decent deals, around the $5 million a year mark. They then have a ton of decisions to make on Zach Paschal, Moe Allie-Cox, and defensive lineman like Al-Quadin Muhammad, Kiemoko Turay, and Tyquan Lewis. I don’t anticipate a ton of other action with other free agents, as a lot of these players are going to be outside looking into the organization. As far as players I want the Colts to target, I would love J.C. Jackson, Carlton Davis, Allen Robinson, and even Marcus Maye brought in, if the price is right. 

 

Where The Team Actually Went?

Just a week after all of the ambiguity and bleakness of the responses that Chris Ballard gave, Carson Wentz was traded to the Washington Commanders. They accrued two additional 3rd round picks for the 2022 and 2023 drafts respectively. The pick next season can become a second round pick if Carson plays over 70% of the offensive snaps for the Washington Commanders. Given how interesting Sam Ehlinger is, I don’t know that I would go out and draft a quarterback. I think I would try to sign Mitchell Trubisky to a 2 or 3 year contract and let Frank Reich and our offensive coaches work with him. He has shown immense flashes of athleticism and confidence in the pocket behind a bad offensive line in Chicago. If the Colts do decide to draft someone there are two guys I think Could make some sense:

 

desmond-ridder-300x218
PICK 36 Desmond Ridder, Quarterback, Cincinnati


I love Desmond Ridder. The NFL Community is going to love Desmond Ridder. He helped lead a mid-major program in Cincinnati to a CFP Bowl Game, and while they didn’t win, he was a big reason why they kept the game close. He has elite poise in the pocket, and may even find himself going late in the first round. He will be a project at the next level, but his athleticism and short-range and mid-range pass accuracy is unparalleled in this, pretty weak, quarterback class. 























Height Weight Age Position Rank 40-Yd Dash Bench Press Vertical Broad
6’3” 211 lbs 23 4 QB, 54 Ovr 4.52 N/A 36” 127”

 

Carson-Strong-300x218
PICK 146 Carson Strong, Quarterback, Nevada


Drafting a Carson may leave some scars for people in Indianapolis, but Carson Strong can flat out ball. His medical history is terrible, but his good games, when healthy, remind many of Phillip Rivers in college. Definitely not capable of being a Day 1 starter in the NFL, but working with Reich will be beneficial to his development, and his character and leadership will help him become a top talent eventually. If they go here, I imagine we will see a two-year rental of a free agent QB. 























Height Weight Age Position Rank 40-Yd Dash Bench Press Vertical Broad
6’4” 226 lbs 24 9 QB, 154 Ovr 4.81 N/A 36” 127”

 

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