The Indianapolis Colts finished the 2022 season with a 4-12-1 record. Heading into the offseason, they found themselves in search of a new head coach and were looking to make drastic changes to the roster.
With how the Colts have addressed free agency, they are a team clearly in the middle of a rebuild. But they have pieces in place to be competitive sooner rather than later. With talent on both sides of the ball, and one of the biggest names in the NFL in Shane Steichen taking over as head coach, this team is on the right path.
Heading into the draft, the Colts could look to address several major needs, including quarterback. With a surplus of picks, they could attack a draft class that is deep in talent, specifically in the later rounds.
With that being said, here are three sleeper prospects the Colts could target in the draft.
Tanner McKee, Quarterback, Stanford
The Colts have a clear need at the quarterback position, but when it’s time for them to pick at number four, the player that they have on their radar may already be gone. If that is the case, they could choose to take the best player available and address the position later on in the draft. If this is the approach that they take, Stanford’s Tanner McKee could be an option.
During his time at Stanford, McKee struggled at times, but he showed flashes of how good he could be. With his accuracy, and overall ability to work from the pocket, he regularly made plays.
In his first season as a starter in 2021, McKee threw for 2,327 yards, 15 touchdowns, and seven interceptions while completing 65.4% of his passes.
This past season, McKee once again performed in the Stanford offense. Over 12 games, he threw for 2,947 yards, 13 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
McKee is not the most polished quarterback in this year’s class, but he has a style that could translate to the next level. With a proven quarterback developer at head coach, McKee could quickly adjust to the NFL game. Coming in at 6’6″ and 231 pounds, he also has solid size for the quarterback position.
Given that he can continue to grow his game, and make an impact outside of the pocket, he could thrive in this rebuilt Colts offense.
Parker Washington, Wide Receiver, Penn State
If the Colts do address the quarterback position early, they could look to solidify the wide receiver in the later rounds. With the return of WR1 Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce heading into year two, they could have a strong one-two punch. But this offense could still add firepower through the air. If that is the case, they could add one of the draft’s more underrated wide receivers in Penn State’s Parker Washington.
During his three seasons at Penn State, Washington made an impact from day one. While taking the field in 32 total games, he recorded 146 receptions for 1,920 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns.
This past season, Washington appeared in 10 games for Penn State. He finished the year recording 46 receptions for 611 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Washington is not an elite prospect at wide receiver, but he has a skill set that should allow him to help improve any offense he is a part of. While at Penn State, he thrived working out of the slot and was a threat to make a play with the ball in his hands.
With two larger receivers in Pittman and Pierce, Washington could slide into the slot next to them. He could be the ideal WR3 in a Colts offense that will likely rely heavily on running back Jonathan Taylor out of the backfield.
Jaylon Jones, Cornerback, Texas A&M
Heading into the offseason, the Colts already had a need at cornerback. Following the decision to trade away Stephon Gilmore, it has become arguably their biggest need outside of quarterback. If they choose to use a day two or three selection to add to the position, Texas A&M cornerback Jaylon Jones could be a target.
Over three seasons at Texas A&M, Jones developed into a reliable piece in the secondary. While taking the field in 29 total games, he recorded 98 total tackles, 72 solo tackles, 12 defended passes, and three interceptions.
This past season, Jones appeared in 10 games for the Aggies. In total, he recorded 33 total tackles, 27 solo tackles, and two defended passes.
Coming in at 6’2″ and 200 pounds, Jones has the size to be a threat at cornerback. There is room for improvement in his mechanics, specifically in his footwork. But what he has lacked in this area, he has made up for in his aggressive playstyle and overall playmaking ability. Even in plays where it appears that he has lost, he can recover and still make an impact.
With the addition of Jones, the Colts would be adding a player who will need to polish his game. But if he can adjust to the next level, he could be a perfect fit in the secondary.
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