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Indianapolis Colts Post Draft AFC North Division Odds 2020

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:
Apr/27/2020

The Indianapolis Colts will enter the 2020 season paying $140 for every $100 bet to win the AFC South following an NFL Draft whereby most analysts graded the Colts with an A for their Draft efforts.

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2 (34). Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
2 (41). Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
3 (85). Julian Blackmon, S, Utah
4 (122). Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
5 (149). Danny Pinter, G, Ball State
6 (193). Robert Windsor, DT, Penn State
6 (211). Isaiah Rodgers, CB, Massachusetts
6 (212). Dezmon Patmon, WR, Washington State
6 (213). Jordan Glasgow, LB, Michigan

Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN.com writes:

Top needs: QB, WR, Edge, CB

It's easy to forget that the Colts have made the playoffs only once in the past five seasons. Heading into last season, there was some buzz around this team. But then Andrew Luck shockingly retired, Jacoby Brissett took over at quarterback and Indianapolis' holes were exposed in a 7-9 year. Still, general manager Chris Ballard has done a good job of stocking the roster with talent since he took over in 2017. The Colts have some young stars, highlighted by a tremendous 2018 draft class, and Ballard dealt the No. 13 overall pick in this draft for defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who has emerged as one of the best interior defenders in the league. Ballard also has a new starting quarterback, with veteran Philip Rivers taking the reins for at least the next year, and he also has an extra second-round pick from Washington, which traded up into Round 1 in last year's draft.

So, how did Ballard fare this year? I'm a huge fan of 6-foot-4 wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., who has legitimate No. 1 potential. He reminds me of former USC wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster, and they ran similar 40 times at the combine. For a wide receiver corps that struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness last season, Pittman will provide a spark. The Colts traded up three spots to snag Jonathan Taylor (41), one of the most prolific running backs in college football history. I thought he might sneak into the first round.

Then there's quarterback Jacob Eason (122), whom Indianapolis was able to snag in the fourth round. I thought he was a fit for the Colts with one of their second-rounders, so that's another good value, and I'm surprised no other team took a chance on him on Day 2. He has some consistency problems, but you won't find many quarterbacks ever with his physical tools and 6-foot-6 frame. He's raw, but there's no reason he has to play anytime soon. This is a good spot for him. Local kid Danny Pinter (149) is an intriguing developmental tackle for Day 3, and wide receiver Dezmon Patmon (212) is another big, 6-foot-4 pass-catcher with some tools. Isaiah Rodgers (211) has some juice in the return game.

Will this class get Indy back to the playoffs? It's certainly possible. It should challenge for the AFC South title with Tennessee and Houston.

The Colts are priced at -110 for both the OVER/UNDER 9 regular season wins.

Andy Benoit of SI.com gives the Bengals an A:

This has a chance to be a lucrative draft, especially if you consider (albeit expensive) ex-Niners defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to be its de factor first-round pick.

After a mostly unsuccessful one-year stint with free agent Devin Funchess last season, the Colts took another stab at a long-bodied perimeter target. Michael Pittman Jr. gives them a nice stylistic complement to explosive movable chess piece T.Y. Hilton, who likely now will play full-time in the slot in three-receiver sets. (Hilton has seen plenty of action here in recent years already; third-year pro Zach Pascal is likely to continue getting opportunities as the other outside receiver.) Philip Rivers has thrown to big targets throughout his career: Mike Williams, Tyrell Williams, Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd, etc. Pittman is a good stylistic fit.

In the backfield, NFL Films’s Greg Cosell has described Jonathan Taylor as an Ezekiel Elliott level of runner. Taylor weighs 225, runs a 4.39 in the 40 and is both efficient and explosive working downhill. He does not offer Elliott’s receiving prowess, but the Colts already have Nyheim Hines to handle their third down duties. Taylor may have just been too much value for the Colts not to pursue early in the second round, but also consider this: Marlon Mack is scheduled for free agency after this season. Colts head coach Frank Reich comes from the Eagles, a franchise that has prioritized having running backs on cheap rookie deals. If Mack departs in 2021, the Colts now have a ready-made starter in Taylor at an affordable rate for the next three years—maybe four, if Taylor performs really well. (And that’s not to say Taylor can’t contribute immediately in 2020.) At that point, the Colts could repeat the cycle all over again, drafting Taylor’s replacement and letting Taylor leave. Because the one blemish on the stud runner: He already has the tread of 926 carries from his time at Wisconsin.

Some might also cite the fourth-round selection of Jacob Eason as a possible starting quarterback for down the road. Perhaps one day, but for 2020 (if not a few years longer), he’ll learn from the bench.

On defense, there was no edge rusher added, but that was not a glaring need. Indy’s depth at safety is sound with George Odum operating behind strong safety Khari Willis and free safety Malik Hooker, but considering how much three-safety dime personnel coordinator Matt Eberflus employs, it’s important to be four-deep at this position, thus the addition of Julian Blackmon.

Grade: A-

- Don Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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