Colts' 2021 Draft Haul Ranks Bottom-5 in NFL in Overall Value

Compared to the other 31 teams, from a value perspective, how'd the Colts make out in the 2021 NFL draft?
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The Indianapolis Colts entered the NFL draft with a serious handful of roster needs. Indianapolis' draft haul overall was solid, but where did it fall value-wise compared to my big board?

I've been scouting the draft for nearly a decade and over the years, I've always forged my own big board and have honed different analytical methods and devices to help it make sense to readers. 

As an analyst, over the years, I have found that checking how teams do against my own personal board gives me a more accurate idea of how future drafts might unfold to identify how teams value players and even certain body types.

Of course, my big board is not the same as the Colts'. How GM Chris Ballard viewed these players was likely quite different than I. 

With that said, let's look at how all 32 teams did in value compared to my own personal board going from worst to best. Each team's value score is simple: it factors where a player was selected relative to where I had them ranked on my board.

If a player selected fifth overall was my No. 10 overall player, it would result in a -5 value score. If that player was my first overall player, it would be a +4 grade.

Players that I didn't have ranked on my big board for one reason or another get the placement of 417 on my board. I had 416 2021 draft prospects graded and ranked, so everyone 'ungraded' gets numerically placed at 417. This includes all specialists because specialists should not be drafted. There are four tiers of value scores.

Keep in mind, these are not grades. Just because a team may be in the negative, doesn't mean its class was terrible. The players could be great fits for that team's scheme or the style the coaches want, independent of my board.

Bottom Tier: Value Scores of -500 or Lower

  • 32. Dallas Cowboys: value score of -901
  • 31. Los Angeles Rams: value score of -854
  • 30. Atlanta Falcons: value score of -694
  • 29. Las Vegas Raiders: value score of -651
  • 28. Indianapolis Colts: value score of -589
  • 27. New Orleans Saints: value score of -580
  • 26. Minnesota Vikings: value score of -537
  • 25. New York Jets: value score of -507

Analysis: It might sound counter-intuitive but a couple of these teams actually had two of the better draft hauls overall because of who they identified relative to scheme. Their scores skewed negative because there was a big reach or two that really dropped the value score overall. Those two teams would be the Vikings and the Jets.

Third-Worst Tier

  • 24. Pittsburgh Steelers: value score of -481
  • 23. Tennessee Titans: value score of -407
  • 22. Jacksonville Jaguars: value score of -396
  • 21. San Francisco 49ers: value score of -389
  • 20. Baltimore Ravens: value score of -348
  • 19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: value score of -343

Most of the teams above got dinged value-wise with a player or two who went ungraded on my board, which really dropped the overall score. Most of these teams had solid-to-good drafts, though.

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Second-Best Tier

  • 18. Los Angeles Chargers: value score of -292
  • 17. Green Bay Packers: value score of -285
  • 16. Kansas City Chiefs: value score of -182
  • 15. New York Giants: value score of -181
  • 14. Cincinnati Bengals: value score of -136
  • 13. Carolina Panthers: value score of -136
  • 12. New England Patriots: value score of -135
  • 11. Houston Texans: value score of -124
  • 10. Washington Football Team: value score of -20

There were a few teams in the tier above, like the Bengals and Texans, whose draft hauls I didn't view favorably. In the case of the Bengals, they seemed to build their offensive line without an ideal prototype and selected players that don't fit with their scheme. Such a philosophy (or lack thereof) sets up players for failure.

Top Value Tier

  • 9. Seattle Seahawks: value score of +25
  • 8. Miami Dolphins: value score of +29
  • 7. Arizona Cardinals: value score of +31
  • 6. Philadelphia Eagles: value score of +46
  • 5. Cleveland Browns: value score of +68
  • 4. Chicago Bears: value score of +113
  • 3. Detroit Lions: value score of +154
  • 2. Buffalo Bills: value score of +288
  • 1. Denver Broncos: value score of +327

For what it's worth, this marked the first time the Broncos have ever been in the top-10. The Seahawks, with only three picks, had a good shot of being a well-valued class. Most of these classes were solid-to-good hauls.

Back to the Colts. Here's a look at each pick and how where they went in comparison.

  • Kwity Paye | EDGE: Selected 21st, ranked 28th on my board.
  • Dayo Odeyingbo | EDGE: Selected 54th, ranked 103rd.
  • Kyle Granson | TE: Selected 127th, ranked 290th.
  • Shawn Davis | S: Selected 165th ranked 140th.
  • Sam Ehlinger | QB: Selected 218th ranked 311th.
  • Mike Strachen | WR: Selected 229th, ranked 417th.
  • Will Fries | IOL: Selected 248th, ranked 362nd.

Four of those picks I really like based on what the Colts are doing. Paye and Odeyingbo are two good options to better Indy's pass rush which was nonexistent outside of DeForest Buckner last year. 

Davis could be a boost to the Colts' secondary and Strachen was a solid late-round pick. While I didn't get enough tape to really grade Strachen out of Charleston, what little I was able to find showed some promise.

Safest Pick: Paye

Paye has the tools to be a solid pass rushing contributor at the very least but he has the potential for so much more than that. This was a good pick for the Colts that should give them a large shot in the arm.

Biggest Role: Paye

There's enough here with Paye for him to compete for a starting job or at least earn the first pass rusher off the bench role.

Potential Boom: Odeyingbo

There is a ton of upside in Odeyingbo, but he just has to put it all together. These types of picks have become common for the Colts. Indy could really use Odeyingbo to hit for them after some recent misses.

Favorite Pick: Odeyingbo

While he wasn't in my top-100, I was a big fan of what Odeyingbo can bring to a defense. He was ranked so low because of all the technical work he needs. If he can develop there, he could take the NFL by storm.

Best Value: Davis

Davis was the only pick who was a positive return of value for the Colts relative to my rankings. He has good range, quickness, and athleticism to be a piece in the secondary with some work in the film room.

Least Favorite Pick: Ehlinger

This is a Frank Reich 'trust in me' type of selection. Ehlinger has tools, sure, but he is so unrefined and such a project. The Colts have enough work to do at quarterback with Jacob Eason and Carson Wentz that Ehlinger is just taking that focus away.

Biggest Reach: Strachen

I like what I was able to see of him but he lands here by default. There wasn't enough tape to give him a grade. If there had been, he probably would've netted positive value for the Colts. 


Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel.

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