Chris Ballard and the rest of the Indianapolis Colts' front office feels fantastic about the franchise's 2021 draft haul.
A pair of NFL.com analysts in Gennaro Filice and Dan Parr don't though, for whatever that's worth.
In a 2021 NFL Draft class rankings for all 32 teams, Filice and Parr slotted the Colts' draft haul in at No. 29 overall in the league.
Filice and Parr ranked each team's draft class based on current roster makeup and factors heading into the picks, considering who was on the board, what team needs were, and where the players picked were ranked according to consensus.
After grabbing a potential top 10 player in Michigan's Kwity Paye at No. 21 overall in the first round, the Colts then grabbed Vanderbilt EDGE Dayo Odeyingbo at No. 54 overall in the second round, which appeared to many as a reach due to his Achilles injury and the need for a left tackle.
Following the first two selections, the Colts grabbed SMU tight end Kylen Granson, Florida safety Shawn Davis, Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger, University of Charleston wide receiver Michael Strachan, and Penn State offensive lineman Will Fries, rounding out a solid draft class.
As I said earlier though, Filice and Parr don't agree, giving the class a grade of C+ and the No. 29 overall ranking in the NFL.
Here's what the two analysts had to say about the Colts' draft class:
We were digging how the draft started for the Colts. They found their edge rusher in Round 1, and we assumed that meant the left tackle replacement for Anthony Castonzo was coming in Round 2. But it didn’t arrive in the second round. In fact, GM Chris Ballard didn’t pick an offensive lineman until late in Round 7. Maybe Ballard has a plan for the position that hasn’t yet surfaced, but the idea of welcoming Carson Wentz to Indianapolis with Sam Tevi and Julie’n Davenport as the top left tackles on the depth chart isn’t a plan we endorse. Now, there’s plenty to like about Paye’s explosiveness and upside, even though he produced just 11.5 sacks in four years at Michigan. Doubling down off the edge was an interesting choice, with Odeyingbo coming off the Achilles injury he suffered in January. He’s another pass rusher who could develop into a quality starter down the road. Granson and Strachan are intriguing talents, too, but this draft felt a bit reach-y after Round 1. The Colts only landed two of NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s top 150 prospects, and one of them might need a redshirt year in 2021.
I don't think it's overly fair to punish the Colts for grabbing just two of Daniel Jeremiah's top 150 prospects, considering they had just three total picks within the first 150 picks. Granson was a guy that Jeremiah said just missed his top 150, so that's worth taking into consideration too.
We also know that Ballard and the Colts had a plan at left tackle outside of the draft, as evidence by the signing of former Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowler Eric Fisher, who signed a one-year, $9.4 million deal after being cut by the Chiefs in March while dealing with a torn Achilles suffered in the AFC Championship Game in January.
It's really tough to have a take on a full draft class right after said draft class is chosen, but that's what happens in this industry, and there's a good chance that the top three of Paye, Odeyingbo and Granson make the No. 29 overall ranking look pretty silly within the next three years.
Have thoughts on the Colts' draft class ranking according to NFL.com? Drop a line in the comments section below!