Colts 7-round mock draft: Brock Bowers begins best-case scenario draft for Indy

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Colts 7-round mock draft: Brock Bowers begins best-case scenario draft for Indy

The wait is almost over. The 2024 NFL Draft is three days away, and with it comes the chance for the Indianapolis Colts to significantly upgrade their roster.

Based on Colts GM Chris Ballard’s most recent comments and his extensive draft history, here is my final seven-round Colts mock draft, which lays out a realistic best-case scenario. Just like the last mock, I used Pro Football Network’s mock draft simulator, with help from Dane Brugler’s “The Beast.”

Round Pick Overall Notes






















First round

No. 15 pick: Georgia tight end Brock Bowers | 6-foot-3, 243 pounds | RAS (relative athletic score): N/A

The football gods finally answered the Colts’ prayers — or I just hit refresh on the mock draft simulator three times until Bowers was still on the board at No. 15. In other words, this is an absolute best-case scenario for Indianapolis.

Bowers is ranked as the No. 7 overall prospect on The Athletic’s consensus big board, and he’d make an instant impact under Colts coach Shane Steichen, who knows how to maximize tight ends. The former Georgia star would be more than a security blanket for second-year QB Anthony Richardson thanks to his polished route running, impressive catch radius and next-level speed.

I still think Indianapolis’ biggest need is another starting-caliber cornerback, but after hearing how bullish Ballard was Friday about his young, returning players, cornerback doesn’t seem like a huge priority for him. “I think they’ve grown up,” Ballard said, which makes me think he may lean toward offense in the first round.

Brugler’s analysis: “Bowers is an explosive pass catcher who creates mismatches all over the field with speed, ball skills and competitive edge. He has NFL star potential in the mold of George Kittle, if he lands with a play caller prepared to feature his unique and versatile talent.”

Other players available: Toledo CB Quinyon Mitchell, Iowa CB Cooper DeJean, LSU WR Brian Thomas Jr.

Second round

No. 46 pick: South Carolina WR Xavier Legette | 6-1, 221 | RAS: 9.09

Ballard mentioned two factors when discussing Richardson’s growth in Year 2 and beyond — giving him more playmakers and keeping him protected. With that in mind, I selected Legette, whom Brugler compared to Seahawks star DK Metcalf. If Legette had that type of career arc, it would be the best-case scenario for the Colts.

I went back and forth between Legette and Oregon’s Tory Franklin before ultimately picking Legette for the second time in as many mock drafts because Franklin’s weight (he’s 6-1 but just 176 pounds) doesn’t fit the typical Ballard mold. Both receivers are explosive athletes, but Legette’s speed and dynamic run-after-the-catch ability would make him a player defenses have to respect and account for on every play, even if he isn’t getting the ball. He could help open things up for Richardson and the Colts’ other pass catchers.

Brugler’s analysis: “Legette must continue developing his route proficiency and tempo, but his film gives off DK Metcalf vibes, and he has the explosive speed and physicality to be a matchup weapon. He should be an immediate contributor on special teams before competing for starting reps outside.”

Other players available: Oregon WR Troy Franklin, Texas A&M LB Edgerrin Cooper, Penn State edge Adisa Isaac



Can Marvin Harrison Jr., other legacy picks outperform their fathers’ NFL Draft results?

Third round

No. 82 pick: Utah S Cole Bishop | 6-2, 206 | RAS: 9.88

When I evaluated Brugler’s seven-round mock draft, which had the Colts selecting Texas Tech’s Dadrion Taylor-Demerson in the third round, I said I wouldn’t select a safety in the third round. I’ve had a change of heart. I’d make an exception for Bishop, who is a bigger and better athlete than Taylor-Demerson. Bishop’s elite athleticism and high IQ made him a “multidimensional safety” at Utah, according to Brugler, with the ability to make plays all over the defensive secondary.

Furthermore, since Ballard doesn’t seem concerned about the cornerback room, perhaps the safety room is the one I’ve been overlooking. Julian Blackmon, who was brought back in free agency on a one-year deal, will handle the strong safety duties, but the Colts’ starting free safety spot remains up for grabs. Maybe 2022 third-round pick Nick Cross or 2022 seventh-rounder Rodney Thomas II can eventually convince the Colts that they are the long-term answer at that spot. However, it’s not a bad idea to acquire someone like Bishop who can compete for starting reps while doubling as a high-upside contingency plan in case Cross or Thomas don’t pan out.

Brugler’s analysis: “Bishop needs to put more impact plays on tape by setting traps for the quarterback in coverage, but he plays with top-down explosiveness and the football IQ to make plays at all three levels of the field. He has NFL starter-caliber talent and is ideally suited for a robber safety role.”

Other players available: Florida WR Ricky Pearsall, Kentucky LB Trevin Wallace, Michigan RB Blake Corum

Colts GM Chris Ballard loves to trade down and collect picks during the draft. Will he do it again this year? (Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Fourth round

Colts and Saints make a trade:

• Indianapolis receives the No. 150, No. 168 and No. 175 pick
• New Orleans receives the No. 117 pick

This wouldn’t be a Ballard draft if he didn’t trade back, and after turning down several trade offers in the first three rounds, I finally pulled the trigger. Ballard always talks about having more darts to throw at the draft board and relinquishing a fourth-round pick for three fifth-rounders seems right up his alley.

Fifth round

Colts and Browns make a trade

• Cleveland receives the No. 150 pick (via New Orleans)
• Indianapolis receives the No. 156 and No. 227 picks

Well, that didn’t take long. Shortly after receiving the No. 150 pick from New Orleans, the Colts repackaged it in another deal with Cleveland for more draft capital on Day 3. I believe this trade also reflects Ballard’s draft history, so moving back six spots in the fifth round to pick up an extra seventh-rounder seems like a no-brainer.

No. 151 pick: Arkansas OL Beaux Limmer | 6-4, 302 | RAS: 9.79

Remember what Ballard said about protecting Richardson? This pick is an example of that. Although the Colts return all of their starters from a solid offensive line in 2023, they could always use some insurance in case anyone goes down. Limmer was Arkansas’ starting center last year, and he previously started at right guard and left guard. It’s also worth noting Colts center Ryan Kelly, the team’s longest-tenured player, is entering the final year of his contract and said he hasn’t had any discussions yet with the front office about an extension.

Brugler’s analysis: “Limmer must continue to fine-tune his leverage points and play with better overall control, but he has the functional athleticism and finishing demeanor to continue developing. He projects as an immediate backup (center and guard) with starting potential at center, ideally suited for a wide-zone scheme (similar to Jake Brendel).”

Other players available: Ohio State LB Tommy Eichenberg, Utah edge Jonah Elliss, Oregon CB Khyree Jackson

No. 156 pick (via Cleveland): Ole Miss edge Cedric Johnson | 6-3, 260 | RAS: 9.28

Ballard believes defensive ends Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo still have another level they can get to as pass rushers, so I passed on edge rushers on Days 1 and 2. I’m still not as convinced as Ballard is about Paye and Odeyingbo as they prepare for Year 4, but we’ll at least get a real sense of how much Ballard believes in Paye soon. The deadline to pick up the former first-rounder’s fifth-year option, worth $13.4 million, is May 2.

In the meantime, I added Johnson to the Colts’ defensive line room because Ballard is always preaching about the importance of depth with that group. Johnson was a three-starter at Ole Miss and is another freakish athlete who could compete for a rotational role as a rookie.

Brugler’s analysis: “Johnson is still learning how to build an efficient rush sequence, but he has interesting athletic tools, and an NFL team should be able to coach more out of him. Although he might never reach three-down-starter status, he can develop into a serviceable sub-package rusher.”

Other players available: Rice WR Luke McCaffrey, Penn State LB Curtis Jacobs, Michigan G Zak Zinter



2024 NFL analytics mock draft: Using projection model, consensus big board to make best picks

No. 168 pick (via New Orleans): Louisville RB Isaac Guerendo | 6-0, 221 | RAS: 9.90

The Colts saw their backup running back, Zack Moss, join the Bengals in free agency. Enter Guerendo, who only had one productive season in college, which was last year, but his next-level athleticism coupled with his patient running and pass-catching ability is why I took a swing on him. He’d compete alongside Trey Sermon, Evan Hull and Tyler Goodson for the chance to be the Colts’ RB2, which isn’t a role to overlook considering Jonathan Taylor has missed a combined 13 games due to injury over the past two years.

Brugler’s analysis: “Guerendo doesn’t have an impressive body of work, but his build, explosiveness and ability on passing downs (blocking and receiving) suggest his NFL resume will far outshine what he did in college — if he can stay healthy. Along with competing on special teams, he projects best in a one-cut, outside-zone scheme that will give him runways to show off his speed.”

Other players available: Purdue RB Tyrone Tracy Jr., Illinois TE Tip Reiman, Southeast Missouri State edge Ryan Flournoy

No. 175 pick (via New Orleans): Florida State CB Jarrian Jones | 5-11, 190 | RAS: 9.61

Despite Ballard’s trust in his young CBs, I wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to add some competition to that room. Jones might be a bit undersized for Ballard’s liking both in height and arm length, though he flashed his ball skills and discipline last year with six passes defensed, three interceptions and zero penalties.

Brugler’s analysis: “Jones has an impressive athletic profile, and his inside-outside experience is a plus, but he plays too reactionary and needs to better pick up on route clues to survive in NFL coverage. He projects as a potential reserve and special teamer.”

Other players available: Penn State OL Hunter Nourzad, South Dakota CB Myles Harden, Michigan WR Cornelius Johnson

Sixth round

No. 191 pick: Washington LB Edefuan Ulofoshio | 6-0, 236 | RAS: 9.67

Ballard has turned himself into a bit of a linebacker whisperer over the years, most notably with 2018 seventh-round pick Zaire Franklin, who now leads that room. Ulofoshio could be his latest find given his physical traits, great attitude and desire to squeeze every ounce of potential out of himself, according to his former college teammates. He plays hard and he plays fast, which any team in the NFL would want.

Brugler’s analysis: “Ulofoshio might have a capped ceiling in the NFL, but he has overachieved at every other level because of his football instincts and active play style. He has the ‘all in’ mentality of a core special teamer who can make a living covering kicks while competing for defensive snaps.”

Other players available: Colorado State edge Mohamed Kamara, Mississippi State LB Nathanial Watson, South Dakota State RB Isaiah Davis

Seventh round

No. 227 pick (via Cleveland): Wyoming OT Frank Crum | 6-8, 313 | RAS: 9.86

Crum is a mammoth of a man, who possesses big hands and long arms that usually help him keep his QB clean. His height can be an issue when he stays too upright and loses leverage, though as a seventh-round pick, the reward of his ceiling greatly outweighs the risk of his floor.

Brugler’s analysis: “Crum needs continued refinement with his technique to mask some of his deficiencies, but he plays quick, stout and experienced. He will compete for a reserve swing tackle role in the NFL.”

Other available players: UCF OT Tylan Grable, Holy Cross WR Jalen Coker, Memphis RB Blake Watson

No. 234 pick: Illinois WR Isaiah Williams | 5-9, 179 pounds | RAS: 6.34

A short wide receiver with a poor RAS? Fair, but hear me out. Williams, whom I briefly covered at Illinois, is a gadget player with great short-area quickness and a selfless attitude. I think he’s the kind of player whose value may have increased with the NFL’s new kickoff rules. Williams has experience as a return man and can make defenders miss in tight windows.

Brugler’s analysis: “Williams is an undersized, yet explosive pass catcher with the nifty skills to make something out of nothing with the ball in his hands. He projects as a rotational slot option and punt returner.”

Other players available: Texas Tech edge Myles Cole, Clemson DT Tyler Davis, Colorado State CB Chigozie Anusiem

Final draft haul

• No. 15 pick: Georgia TE Brock Bowers
• No. 46 pick: South Carolina WR Xavier Legette
• No. 82 pick: Utah S Cole Bishop
• No. 151 pick: Arkansas OL Beaux Limmer
• No. 156 pick (via Cleveland): Ole Miss edge Cedric Johnson
• No. 168 pick (via New Orleans): Louisville RB Isaac Guerendo
• No. 175 pick (via New Orleans): Florida State CB Jarrian Jones
• No. 191 pick: Washington LB Edefuan Ulofoshio
• No. 227 pick (via Cleveland): Wyoming OT Frank Crum
• No. 234 pick: Illinois WR Isaiah Williams

(Top photo of Brock Bowers: John David Mercer / USA Today)