Indianapolis Colts mock draft: 7-round 2021 NFL Draft projections

In our new Indianapolis Colts mock draft, general manager Chris Ballard builds a compelling rookie class after his splash trade for quarterback Carson Wentz.

By Matt Fitzgerald

Prior to the trade for new starting quarterback Carson Wentz, any Indianapolis Colts mock draft had to involve trades or an extreme reach for a new signal-caller to replace Philip Rivers in the first round.

Now that general manager Chris Ballard has reunited Wentz with Colts head coach Frank Reich, the most important position on the field is settled for 2021. Ballard can go into this draft with an open mind, take big swings and let his top-notch evaluation skills bolster Indianapolis’ roster.

If you’re a Colts fan, this seven-round mock draft is sure to get you exciting. Continue reading to find out what happened in our scenario from The Draft Network’s simulator.

Indianapolis Colts mock draft: Bold picks who could yield huge payoffs

Indianapolis Colts mock draft: Bold picks who could yield huge payoffs
Nov 16, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies defensive back Caleb Farley (3) returns an interception for a touchdown against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second quarter at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
  • First round, 21st pick: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
  • Second round, 54th pick: Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
  • Fourth round, 127th pick: Walker Little, OT, Stanford

It seems so Chris Ballard-y to have the most talented, highest-upside cornerback in the 2021 class in Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley fall into his lap at 21st overall.

Farley would’ve likely been the first defensive back off the board if not for a microdiscectomy. Now, teams are questioning his future in the NFL and whether he’ll be able to stay healthy to play at a level worthy of a first-round pick.

There’s risk here, yet Indianapolis is in a position where it can afford to roll the dice coming off an 11-win season. It’s not often a top-five non-QB talent falls this far, and unless it’s revealed that Farley has some ominous long-term outlook when he checks in with Colts doctors, they should absolutely pull the trigger here.

Texas’ Joseph Ossai has experience all over the front seven from his time with the Longhorns. Creative Indy defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus can move Ossai around as a rookie, even putting him at off-ball linebacker next to Darius Leonard at times if he wants. Ossai is also a great edge defender who can ultimately take over for Justin Houston, who’s still unsigned.

Since the Wentz trade cost the Colts a third-rounder in this year’s draft, they don’t pick again until 127th. Walker Little is a total wild card, because he opted out of 2020 and played only one game in 2019. Again, Indianapolis is in a spot where it can invest in a potential starter at left tackle of the future, and still sign someone like Russell Okung in free agency to address that lingering need.

Read More: NFL world reacts to Carson Wentz being traded to Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts mock draft: 1 big man, 2 small-school studs round out Day 3

Indianapolis Colts mock draft: 1 big man, 2 small-school studs round out Day 3
Dec 15, 2018; Orlando, FL, USA; Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns running back Elijah Mitchell (15) runs with the ball as Tulane Green Wave defensive end Patrick Johnson (34) defends during the first half at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
  • Fifth round, 165th pick: Tedarrell Slaton, DT, Florida
  • Sixth round, 206th pick: Patrick Johnson, EDGE, Tulane
  • Seventh round, 248th pick: Cade Johnson, WR, South Dakota State

It’s a little confusing that the Colts gave Grover Stewart such a lucrative contract extension, and while he has upside still to explore, there’s another stout nose tackle Indy can add to its rotation in Florida’s Tedarrell Slaton. Stewart has an out in his contract for 2022, and if Ballard wants to build out other areas of the roster then, perhaps Slaton winds up hitting as a Day 3 gem who takes over the starting spot from Stewart.

Cameron Sample deservedly gets a lot of shine as Tulane’s premier, versatile edge defender, but while Sample is a good fit to play inside or out in the trenches, Johnson’s skill set is more conducive to dropping in coverage and playing the edge. Johnson’s three years as a starter for the Green Wave resulted in 21 sacks, 34 tackles for loss, 11 pass deflections and six forced fumbles.

TY Hilton is probably in his final season with the Colts, and there were doubts he’d even return in 2021. Parris Campbell hasn’t proven he can stay healthy entering his third NFL season. Thus, it wouldn’t hurt Indianapolis to invest a late pick in a receiver, particularly if that receiver is Cade Johnson.

Concerns about competition level at South Dakota State were put to bed in part when Johnson dominated one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl. His route-running, lateral quickness, sure hands and speed should translate well to the pros. It’d be tremendous value if Johnson were still waiting to hear his name called in the seventh round.