Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is Rotoworld's Senior NFL Editor, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) is Rotoworld's lead Draft Analyst. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in April’s draft.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.
RE: Justin Houston
LE: Jabaal Sheard
DT: Margus Hunt
DT: Denico Autry
MLB: Anthony Walker
WLB: Darius Leonard
SLB: Matthew Adams
LCB: Pierre Desir
RCB: Quincy Wilson
SCB: Kenny Moore
FS: Malik Hooker
SS: Clayton Geathers
Pass Rusher: Having built one of the NFL’s five strongest rosters in only 26 months on the job, GM Chris Ballard will enter April’s draft with immense flexibility. Talent injections remain necessary at a few positions, beginning with interior and exterior defensive line play. Starters Houston, Sheard and Hunt are on the wrong side of 30, and 2018 second-round DE Turay didn’t show much as a rookie. Last year’s Colts finished 21st in sacks (38) and 28th in QB hits (78). Houston can’t fix their pass rush on his own.
Pass Catcher: Ballard is one of the league’s foremost forward-thinking GMs, so the fact that Ebron, Doyle, Funchess and Rogers are all in contract seasons won’t be lost on him. Hilton has two years left. Doyle has battled chronic hip problems and is coming off surgery, while Hilton and Ebron’s bodies broke down as last year progressed. Don’t be shocked if Ballard uses one of his four top-90 picks at tight end. The Colts’ GM is a proponent of attacking defenses on high-percentage passes in the middle of the field.
Secondary: Unwilling to match the Redskins’ offer for Landon Collins, the Colts settled for re-signing injury-riddled SS Clayton Geathers. Wilson hasn’t played well enough to be guaranteed a full-time job entering his third season, while groin and knee injuries cost Hooker 11 games in his first two years.
Colts 2019 Draft Picks
1 (26). iDL Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame - Chris Ballard is into athleticism along his defensive front. That was true during his time in Kansas City, and it was clear in his first year with the Colts. Look at the additions of Margus Hunt and the drafting of Tyquan Lewis and Kemoko Turay. Enter Tillery, who is an outstanding interior disruptor from a variety of alignments and posted an athletic profile in the 84th percentile. Tillery is a top 15 prospect in my book.
2 (34). Acquired from Jets in Sam Darnold trade - WR Hakeem Butler, Iowa State - Devin Funchess might perform well in 2019, but he is on a one-year deal. I know Deion Cain generated hype during training camp, but keep in mind he’s done nothing in the NFL … yet. Chris Ballard talks about the difficulties in evaluating receivers out of college, mainly due to them not facing physical press coverage. That is not Butler, as he has had plenty of snaps face up against corners and displays a variety of releases versus press. He actually led this class in receiving yards off 20-plus yard throws. He can make the difficult look easy.
2 (59). CB Amani Oruwariye, Penn State - A physical corner at the line and when in phase to disrupt the catch point. He lacks consistency, but that’s what NFL coaching is for. Plus, he’s an above average athlete in the 73rd percentile.
3 (89). TE Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M - As Evan mentioned, it would not be a surprise to see the Colts continue to invest in tight end. Why not make a strength stronger? Sternberger is a comfortable receiver who only needs to be willing and adequate as a blocker to stay on the field.
4 (129). EDGE Ben Banogu, TCU - I mentioned Ballard’s love of athletes along his front. Banogu is the perfect developmental Day 3 edge with an athletic profile in the 97th percentile and a single fast ball move. Hopefully he develops further.
4 (135). S Malik Gant, Marshall - A powerful, hard-hitting safety who can line up in three different spots in the first three snaps of the game: single high, box safety, slot corner.
5 (164). DL John Cominsky, Charleston - Tiny program, big potential. Cominsky looked a bit lost during Senior Bowl week, but that is expected. He offers an intriguing outside to inside profile.
7 (240). OL Trey Pipkins, Sioux Falls - Athletic, late round, developmental offensive lineman that likely lands on the practice squad.