The Indianapolis Colts are coming off one of their most successful seasons in the last five years. They made the playoffs for the second time in three seasons under Frank Reich while also notching their first 11-win season since 2014. They made the first big splash of the 2021 offseason by trading for Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. With Wentz as their quarterback, plenty of cap room, and a talented young roster; Indianapolis is one or two pieces away from being set up to be not only a playoff contender but a Super Bowl contender for the foreseeable future.
Some quick history, the following are the Colts’ last five years’ worth of first-round draft picks.
2020: None (traded for DeForest Buckner)
2019: None (traded down)
2018: Quenton Nelson (OG)
2017: Malik Hooker (FS)
2016: Ryan Kelly (C)
Since 2010, only one of Indianapolis’ eight first-round draft picks hasn’t recorded at least one season as a primary starter for them: Phillip Dorsett. Since 2010, they’ve drafted three defensive players in the first-round. If Malik Hooker (impending free agent) signs elsewhere; all three of the defensive players won’t be with the team and wouldn’t have signed a second contract with the Colts.
The following players could possibly be on the move, either through trade or being cut, due to their 2021 cap hit (age is in parentheses):
Mark Glowinski – OG (28)
Kenny Moore – CB (25)
Rigoberto Sanchez – P (26)
The Colts’ are $45.89 million under the cap for the 2021 season, not including any of the possible trade or cut candidates listed above. They have the fourth-most cap space in the NFL.
Building upon their successful 2020 season will obviously be Indianapolis’ number one goal this offseason. They haven’t won the division since 2014 and have only made the playoffs as a wild card team since. Their defense significantly improved across the board thanks in part to the trade last offseason for DeForest Buckner and the development of young talent. Looking for similar success with the Wentz trade; Indianapolis can find help for both Wentz and their offense in the upcoming draft. The Colts have the 21st overall pick in Round 1.
Possibility #1: Texas OT Sam Cosmi
Stats: 34 Career Starts
Why: With the retirement of left tackle Anthony Castonzo, the Colts have an immediate need to fill at left tackle. After Wentz was sacked a league-leading 50 times in just 12 games last season, protecting him should be Indianapolis’ number one priority. Left tackle is the most important position along the offensive line, so finding a replacement at the position will be key.
Cosmi has the size, athleticism and instincts to step into an NFL offense and be a starting left tackle day one. His athleticism and length give him the necessary tools to be a good pass blocker in the NFL. He can pull easily and get out in front of run plays. Can sometimes be inconsistent with his punch in the run game and when he misses it will force him to lose pad level. Plays with an aggressive mindset, which only benefits his play. Pairing him next to All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson and allowing him to be mentored will only benefit his development. Cosmi has the tools to be a franchise left tackle and the blind-side protector for Wentz and other Colts’ quarterbacks in the future.
Possibility #2: Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman
2020 stats: 5 games, 36 receptions, 472 yards, 2 TDs, 13.1 YPR
Why: Indianapolis had no receiver eclipse 1,000 yards last season. Their leading receiver, T.Y. Hilton, is expected to test free agency. Michael Pittman Jr. showed promise in his rookie season but adding more weapons to their offense with Wentz as their quarterback is crucial.
Bateman can be a very good target for Wentz. There are questions about Bateman’s ability to play as an outside receiver at the next level, but he has the size, route running, and athleticism to do so. Bateman has a big frame (6-2) and a large catch radius. His ball skills should translate and paired with his size and athleticism should make him a tough player to cover. He excelled over the middle at Minnesota. As a big target, he doesn’t always need separation and a perfect pass to make a play; would pair nicely with Wentz.
Possibility #3: Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
2020 Stats: 12 games, 62 tackles, 11 TFL, 1 INT, 3 FFs
Why: The Colts have limited depth at the linebacker position. Starting linebacker Anthony Walker will be a FA this offseason and their backups behind him are a former sixth- and a former seventh-round pick. If Walker does test the market, the Colts will have an immediate hole to fill at the positio. Even if he stays, adding a quality player is never a bad idea.
Jeremiah Owusu Koramoah is an intriguing linebacker in this year’s class. He stands at 6-1, 215 pounds and is arguably the most athletic linebacker in this class. He flies around the field on his tape. In addition, he is a very good coverage player. He showed exceptional ability to play both man and zone coverage; when in man coverage, he also has the ability to cover any position: slot WRs, RBs and TEs. His biggest struggles come when he has to disengage blocks and tackling. He isn’t heavy enough to consistently bring players down when he tackles high and doesn’t form tackle often. In addition he isn’t strong enough and doesn’t have ideal length to consistently disengage blockers. He offers the Colts flexibility at the linebacker position and possible play at the safety position with exceptional coverage ability and adds to an already talented linebacker room.
Possibility #4: South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn
2020 stats: 7 games, 16 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INTs, 6 PDs
Why: The Colts are going to need help at the cornerback position this offseason. Rock Ya-Sin has struggled during his first three years in the league and veteran Xavier Rhodes is an impending FA who will turn 31 by the start of next season.
Horn has above-the-line height and weight for the position. He’s an adequate athlete for the position. He won’t wow anyone with his speed but makes up for that in other aspects of his game. He has great instinc,t which should allow him to find success in most schemes. He plays well in man because of his instincts, aggressiveness and fluidity at the position. He will need to work on his mental toughness; after plays where he is flagged, he mentally can check out for a few plays. He also gets grabby in coverage at times and it will lead to penalties at the next level. Overall he has many of the tools teams look for in cornerbacks and his combination of size, length, ball skills and fluidity would make him a good fit for Indianapolis’ defense.
SEE ALSO: On the Clock archive
Sources: Overthecap, Football Reference, 33rd Team Scouting Reports