Trade Back, Trade Up: the Best of the 2022 Indianapolis Colts’ Draft

In Ballard We Trust

For as much flack as the fans give Chris Ballard, we really do have a top 5 general manager and scouting team in the NFL. No draft picks are guaranteed, but with Ballard’s track record, I would say he hits at a 64% clip, which is much higher than the odds of a coin flip. Also, compared to many other GMs over this time, he ranks top 4.  Here is a list of a few teams and draft picks made in the past 5 years, as voted on by anonymous GM’s and personnel around the NFL. So why do we doubt him every year? Because he has missed, and his misses have been rough, but let’s look at our 2022 haul, and compare this to years past:

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Graph courtesy of Zachary Barnett

Pick 42 - Traded

Coming into the draft, we knew the Colts were going to lose out on their first pick because of the disaster with Carson Wentz. The first pick comes in at 42, after swapping with the Washington Commanders. The Colts, who always make moves, made one here, to send the 42nd and 122nd picks to the Vikings for a trio of picks including 53 and 77.  

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Grade: B+ don’t love giving up 122, but this is good value for a middle of the road second.

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Pick 53 - Alec Pierce, Wide Receiver, Cincinnati

Alec Pierce is a gym-rat. Dude is athletic and rangey as a wide receiver. I watched him torch IU’s defense for 5 catches, 86 yards and a touchdown. He has decent speed, and should be an excellent #2 to put on the field next to Michael Pittman Jr. He may struggle against physical corners, but his size will make him a nightmare for most secondaries.

HT
WT
40-TIME
2021 REC
2021 YDS
2021 TDS
GRADE
6’3”
215 LBS
4.41 Sec
50 rec
867 yds
8 TDs
B
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Pick 73 - Jelani Woods, Tight End, Virginia

Woods is a fascinating specimen at tight end for the Colts. Alongside Kylen Branson, who was drafted last year, Moe Allie-Cox, who just re-signed, and the talented receiver room, Woods would be an all-star center to lead the group. He stands about 80 feet tall in pads, and has the opportunity to be one of the best draft picks in the Ballard era.

HT
WT
40-TIME
2021 REC
2021 YDS
2021 TDS
GRADE
6’7”
260 LBS
4.61 Sec
44 rec
598 yds
8 TDs
A+
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Pick 77 - Bernhard Raimann, Offensive Tackle, Central Michigan

Not only did I predict the Colts drafting Raimann, I predicted them trading back to do it. I didn’t think, however, the young man would be there at 77. By all accounts this is a steal for one of the best tackles in the class. I think it may take him a few games to get acclimated to the speed of the NFL, but at the end of the day the team solved a desperate need.

HT
WT
40-TIME
2021 REC
2021 YDS
2021 TDS
GRADE
6’6”
300 LBS
5.01 Sec
A+

Pick 96 - Traded to Colts for a 2023 third round pick and pick 179

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Pick 96 - Nick Cross, Safety, Maryland

Cross is a good downhill focused safety, who projects to be at least decent at the next level. The issue for Cross is he may struggle finding the necessary playing time to polish his skills, since the team has a roster with several Safeties already on it. He will be a great third safety in Gus Bradley’s system, and will most likely light a few people up on special teams this season.

HT
WT
40-TIME
2021 TAC
2021 INT
2021 FF
GRADE
6’0”
212 LBS
4.34 Sec
67 TAC
3 INT
2 FF
B
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Pick 159 - Eric Johnson, DT, Missouri State

To say I know anything about Eric Johnson would be a lie. I know he is a super athletic defensive lineman, with a major chip on his shoulder coming from Missouri State. He was snubbed from the combine, especially for being a top 15 player at his position. I think he will be a great depth piece for the Colts’ defense, and will provide a nice spark for the team when he plays. 

HT
WT
40-TIME
2021 TAC
2021 TFL
2021 FF
GRADE
6’4”
299 LBS
4.86 Sec
43 TAC
6.5 TFL
1 FF
B+
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Pick 193 - Andrew Ogletree, Tight End, Youngstown State

Adding depth at one of your worst positions is always a good idea. For the Colts, the tight end position has been a consistent strength for several years, but with Doyle retiring this season, it threw a major wrench into things. I think Ogletree is at best a practice squad guy or a journeyman, but his athleticism and catch radius may prove me wrong. I also love the Penguins, so that’s a bonus.

HT
WT
40-TIME
2021 REC
2021 YDS
2021 TDS
GRADE
6’5”
261 LBS
4.76 Sec
28
282
2
C+
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Pick 216 - Curtis Brooks, DT, Cincinnati

With a 9th player from the Bearcats (most in program history for a single draft) the Colts stole the heart and soul of the defensive line in the draft. Brooks is a big-bodied run stopper, who has a knack for finding the ball. Adding depth to a position where it’s common for players to get hurt makes a ton of sense, and if the team ever goes to 5 down lineman, look for Brooks to be in the middle.

HT
WT
40-TIME
2021 TAC
2021 TFL
2021 FF
GRADE
6’2”
285 LBS
4.86 Sec
56 TAC
12.5 TFL
1 FF
A+
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Pick 239 - Rodney Thomas, Defensive Back, Yale

To say I knew anyone on the Yale football team would be a lie. To say I have watched any film on Rodney Thomas, would also be a lie. That being said, if you get a special teams’ player out of the 7th round, then you are doing well in the NFL. I expect them to give Thomas some runs on kickoff. It would be cool to see him progress to play defense, but safety was not a big need.

HT
WT
40-TIME
2021 TAC
2021 INT
2021 FF
GRADE
6’1”
201 LBS
4.51 Sec
50 TAC
2 INT
0 FF
B+


Stealing and Dealing

Curtis Brooks was a third round talent taken in the 6th round. Rodney Thomas was a lanky and athletic safety, taken with a flier pick in the 7th. A lot of this draft class is going to come down to the development of Pierce and Woods as Pros, but getting a starting caliber Wideout, Tackle and Tight End within 25 picks of each other, while bolstering one of the scariest defenses in the league, the Colts should be ready to make some noise in the 2022-2023 season. I think Ballard and his team deserve a very good grade for this draft, as I think it is probably a top 5 draft for any team in the NFL this year. I will be interested in how they use some of the players taken, and how many actually make the roster, but my initial thoughts leave me with this draft being great.

OVERALL DRAFT GRADE: A


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