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Carney: Indianapolis Colts’ Pre-Free Agency 2021 Mock Draft (Version 1.0)

With just six picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Colts have to try and plug some holes. Here's how I see those picks going for General Manager Chris Ballard.
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Now that we're into the full swing of draft season, and the start of free agency is just days away, I thought it would be a perfect time to take a swing at my first version of a Colts mock draft.

It's worth noting that I did not project any trades in this mock, so you won't see any added picks.

There will be some surprise picks, ones that many readers likely won’t agree with. Take a look at the mock below and leave your thoughts. Instead of saying, "oh, that guy won't be there" or "that's a reach" let's discuss the player.

Let's get into it.

Round One (21st Overall): Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech, 6'5", 314 Lbs

Analysis: Needing to replace former first round pick Anthony Castonzo following his retirement, Chris Ballard could get his 2021 Colts' draft off to a fast start here with Darrisaw.

Though I do have some concerns about his overall abilities in pass protection, he's a physical specimen in the run game that generates a ton of movement, has heavy hands and is very comfortable in space.

Darrisaw should be able to hold up in pass protection on his own long-term, but if the Colts snag the Virginia Tech star here in the first round, they should anticipate giving him some help early in his career with an extra tight end on his side, or a chip from running backs.

That said, he'll step in right away from Day 1 and help the Colts continue to wear down teams on the ground.

Round Two (54th Overall): Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas, 6'4", 220 Lbs

Analysis: He's a bit light in terms of weight and projects more as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but Ossai is a great athlete on the edge with good length, a high motor, and a nose for disruption in the backfield.

He showed during his time at Texas he was very comfortable playing with his hand in the dirt and utilized a strong pass rush repertoire to win consistently in the pass-happy Big 12.

Ossai has the flexibility and bend that you want to see on the edge and wins with leverage often, but he'll need to get much stronger in the NFL, as he found himself on the ground a lot against physical tackles.

The Texas standout feels like a solid early Day 2 selection to pair with a veteran free agent signee, should Ballard add there ahead of the draft.

Round Four (128th Overall): Tre Brown, CB, Oklahoma, 5'9", 186 Lbs

Analysis: Though he is a bit on the small side, Oklahoma's Tre Brown has the mindset that should help him carve out a good career in the NFL.

He's a feisty, physical cornerback that backs down from nobody, and loves to throw his body around against the run, which should have Ballard intrigued.

Brown is a plus athlete that has excellent straight-line speed. He's a fluid mover and changes directions with ease on tape. He appears twitched up for the position and has a knack for making plays all over the field.

Though I do have some concerns about his frame overall, there's no doubting his mentality, which should bode well in Matt Eberflus' system.

Round Five (166th Overall): Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina, 6'1", 186 Lbs

Analysis: No receiver made more money for himself at the 2021 Reese's Senior Bowl than South Carolina's Shi Smith, who showed toughness, elite-level route running and great hands overall.

However, his tape showed an inability to play through contact, which should have some teams worried. Luckily for Smith, he's a dynamic slot receiver that won't have to worry about a ton of contact out of the slot in the Colts' system, where he could chew up defenses on crossing routes. He's a dynamic athlete but not overly elite as to where he can be a gadget guy in the NFL.

Smith reminds me a ton of the Jets' Jamison Crowder, which should interest the Colts as they look to add more weapons around Carson Wentz in head coach Frank Reich's system.

Round Six (205th Overall): Joshua Kaindoh, EDGE, Florida State, 6'7", 245 Lbs

Analysis: Another edge defender? You betcha.

The Colts are set to lose three defensive ends in free agency, and while they made add one on the open market, I think they must double dip in the draft.

After adding Ossai in the second round, I have the Colts taking a swing on a former 5-star recruit in Kaindoh, who never lived up to the hype at Florida State but has insane length and some impressive athleticism for his size.

He showed the ability to dip and rip underneath smaller tackles and moves well overall. He needs to get into a system where he can hone in on some of his strengths as a pass rusher, which includes speed, a great club/wipe, and a powerful bull rush.

At best, he's good depth that can give guys a breather. With his size and length, it feels like an easy Ballard projection.

Round Seven (248th Overall): Shaun Beyer, TE, Iowa, 6'5", 249 Lbs

Analysis: An under-the-radar tight end, Beyer just feels like a Colt.

He's uber athletic, having reportedly run in the 4.5s at his Pro Day, and has a background in basketball and wrestling.

The Colts did meet with him at the College Gridiron Showcase, so there's some interest there. He's an excellent blocker overall, and though he doesn't have the pass catching numbers that some tight ends have in this class, he feels like a guy who develops into a strong No. 2 in a few years.

In this first version of my mock draft for the Colts, I feel that I addressed some obvious needs with left tackle and pass rusher early, and took some swings on athleticism and pedigree late.

Let me know your thoughts!

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