According to NFL.com’s Chad Reuter, the Indianapolis Colts will fill a number of immediate and long-term holes in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Specifically, general manager Chris Ballard will select Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney, Texas offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi, Pittsburgh edge Rashad Weaver, and Syracuse safety Andre Cisco in his four round mock draft 1.0 (which features a Colts’ trade down with the Cleveland Browns):
26. Indianapolis Colts
Florida · WR · Senior
T.Y. Hilton’s time in Indianapolis appears to be over, and it’s tough to pick a more obvious replacement than Toney. Carson Wentz will love throwing to the quick and explosive former Gator whether he’s in the slot or outside.
54. Indianapolis Colts
Texas · OT · Junior (RS)
111. Indianapolis Colts
Pittsburgh · DE · Senior (RS)
128. Indianapolis Colts
Syracuse · S · Junior
Regarding Toney, the 6’0”, 194 pound senior wideout caught 70 receptions for 984 receiving yards (14.1 ypr. avg.) and 10 touchdown receptions during 11 starts for the Florida Gators in 2020—earning First-Team All-SEC honors.
Toney also rushed 19 times for 161 total rushing yards (averaging 8.5 yards per carry) and a rushing touchdown.
Toney additionally showcased his versatility on special teams, returning 7 kickoffs for 155 total kickoff yards (22.1 yards per return avg.) and 11 punts for 139 total punt yards (12.6 yards per return avg.) and a touchdown return.
Featuring elusiveness and speed, Toney is a dynamic playmaker with the football in his hands after the catch or as a ball carrier. Similar to Colts’ soon-to-be 3rd-year wideout Parris Campbell, Toney is best utilized in the slot or as a ‘gadget wide receiver’—giving opposing defenses differing looks—whether it’s jet sweeps, wide receiver screens, etc. (but may lack some overall route tree exposure).
The Colts could use another playmaker at wideout, who can make game-changing plays. Beloved franchise veteran great T.Y. Hilton (free agent) is uncertain to return at this juncture, and Indianapolis could use a long-term piece to pair with Michael Pittman Jr.
Regarding Texas offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi, the 6’7”, 309 pound offensive tackle made 34 straight starts for the Longhorns’ offensive line—with 21 of those starts at left tackle.
After making 8 starts at left tackle this past season, Cosmi opted out early of his junior year to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft, but still earned First-Team All-Big 12 honors in 2020—having been awarded 2nd-Team All-Big 12 honors just a season prior.
Being a good athlete at the tackle position, Cosmi really stands out in pass protection with length, strong hands, and lateral quickness to negate edge rushers. However, he needs to clean up his overall footwork and leverage at times.
In run blocking, while Cosmi has great movement skills—with the ability to get out in space and climb to the second level of opposing defenses, he needs to get stronger at the point of attack—as he doesn’t necessarily move/overpower defenders—but plays angles well.
Given that Cosmi is a good athlete and may still be able to fill out his frame a bit, he seems like a natural fit in the Colts’ zone blocking scheme—as he continues to develop/mature.
With longtime veteran bookend Anthony Castonzo having retired earlier this offseason, the Colts have a huge void at starting left tackle right now—and Cosmi could fill it immediately.
Next up is Pittsburgh defensive end Rashad Weaver, who is a 6’4”, 265 pound defensive end that recorded 34 tackles (22 solo), 14.0 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 2 passes defensed, and a fumble recovery during 9 starts for the Panthers’ defense in 2020.
He earned consensus All-American and First-Team All-ACC honors for this past season.
While he won’t ‘wow’ as an athlete, Weaver features length, power, and an arsenal of moves as a pass rusher, but lacks some explosion, burst, and bend—meaning he projects more as a rotational ‘workmanlike’, high energy edge.
With starting veteran defensive ends Justin Houston (32) and Denico Autry (30) as free agents—as well as primary backup Al-Quadin Muhammad, Weaver has value as a rotational edge piece but may not be what Colts fans are quite hoping for this offseason as a high impact, #1 pass rusher.
Weaver seems kind of similar to Tarell Basham, who was a 2017 3rd round pick for Indianapolis and a quick release for the Colts (i.e, a productive, energetic pass rusher collegiately, who lacked elite physical tools at the next level).
Lastly, there is 6’0”, 209 pound junior safety Andre Cisco for the Syracuse Orange, who recorded 11 tackles (7 solo) and an interception during 2 starts before suffering a season-ending injury in 2020.
He was named All-ACC 2nd-Team as a sophomore in 2019.
Cisco showcased his elite ball and football tracking skills with 13 interceptions in 24 career collegiate games. He has good size and athleticism for the safety position, but can be a freelancer a bit in coverage and needs to improve his overall tackling.
Cisco seems like an athletic developmental safety—with impressive ballhawking skills, but given the freelancing, tackling, and durability concerns, and it’s hard not to get some ‘Malik Hooker’ vibes here.
The Colts do need a rangy third safety to deploy in nickel packages (along with Khari Willis and Julian Blackmon), but it doesn’t appear to me that such a rookie safety will ultimately be Cisco given his collective skill-set.
Overall, Reuter addresses some major needs for the Colts, but the last two selections here, Weaver and Cisco, don’t really seem like ‘Chris Ballard selections’—given his past history to learn from and what we know now.