It’s Mock Draft Face Off Time! In this series, we will look at mocking viable and realistic options to the Colts each week, and analysing each pick in how they fit the Colts.
Welcome to Mock Draft Face Off with Elliot and Stephen! The off-season is officially here and the NFL draft is arguably the league’s biggest off-season event. Each week we will both be mocking draft picks to the Colts and analysing them. We will now be mocking the first round pick by the Colts, then building up to include the other rounds and picks as we get closer to the draft.
Elliot’s Round 1 Pick 21
Greg Newsome – CB – Northwestern
Greg Newsome was a three year starter on the Northwestern defense playing at least 5 games in each of his time at college. Newsome, 6’1” and 190lbs, has great size, athleticism and length for the corner back position. It’s Newsome’s athleticism and length for the position that makes him such a good corner back prospect and his projection at the next level. His twitchy athleticism and size make it so he always seems in position to make a play on the ball. The biggest downside to Newsome would be his poor injury history, having only been able to playing in 16 games in his entire college career.
I both love and hate this pick. I love it because Newsome is perfect for the Colts defense and is the exact type of player Chris Ballard would bring in. He is athletic, smart and a willing tackler. His length is something the Colts zone defense covets. I hate this pick because while Newsome is a perfect fit, I don’t think the Colts prioritize the CB position like other teams. They can get guys that fit just as well in Day 2-3 of the draft or castoffs in FA, similar to Xavier Rhodes. Again, the player is perfect for the Colts, I just don’t love taking a CB on Day 1 with how this defense plays.
Stephen’s Round 1 Pick 21
Azeez Ojulari – EDGE – Georgia
Azeez Ojulari doesn’t check off all of Chris Ballard’s boxes in terms of size or length. However, what he lacks in those areas he more than makes up for in a natural twitch at the line of scrimmage as well as possibly the best hand usage and body control in the EDGE position in this draft. He never quits on a play or takes plays off. He was also a two time team captain at Georgia and was the first Freshman of the Kirby Smart era to be selected captain. Outside of size and length, he’s a perfect Chris Ballard player.
Ojulari won’t be an every down DE to start his career, or maybe ever, but he possesses an elite ability to get to the passer. Chris Ballard has shown there are certain types of players with certain traits that he will go outside his mould to grab, i.e., Kenny Moore at CB. Azeez Ojulari is the DE version of Kenny Moore. He may not meet the physical benchmarks in terms of size and length but what he does well is elite and very much in demand.
I like the pick of Ojulari but i don’t think it’s likely to happen at the same time. Ojulari is a very good pass rusher and fills a need for the Colts who are lacking in that department and could lose their best two edge rushers this off-season due in free agency in Justin Houston and Denico Autry. Ojulari is a very atheltic pass rusher and played both stood up and with his hand in the dirt for the Georgia Bulldogs, he is a very good pass rusher and has a knack for getting to the quarterback.
As Stephen mentioned he doesn’t fit the size and length mould Ballard likes in his defensive ends. Ballard prefers his defensive ends with at least 33” arms and it’s evident from his play Ojulari lacks the ideal length. He is also quite thin and even though he weighs in and around the 240 lbs range it doesn’t show. Ballard usually likes his defensive ends in and around the 250 lbs range. If Ballard goes against his physical bench marks which he has done before like Stephen mentioned with Kenny Moore and more recently with Isaiah Rodgers then Ojulari could be in play.