Everyone has their opinions on what the Indianapolis Colts should do during the 2017 NFL Draft, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein is no exception. He has them selecting a familiar name in his recent mock draft.
While some analysts are pushing for the Colts to select an offensive player, like at running back or offensive tackle. Zierlein knows the Colts more pressing issues are on defense. As a result, he believes that is where they will focus in the draft.
"“New general manager Chris Ballard says he wants to build the fronts along the offense and defense. Barnett has posted elite production in the SEC as a pass rusher and would add a level of physicality on the edge for the Colts.”"
For those wondering why Barnett’s name sounds familiar, he is regarded as one of the top pass rushers in the draft. He was also listed in my Pre-Combine Mock Draft. This is an area the team desperately must address, and he would certainly fill that need.
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Barrett is listed as a 6-3, 265-pound defensive end by most draft prospect sites. He plays with a high motor and fights through numerous double teams. His combination of size and effort makes him the prototype edge defender.
He would have to transition to outside linebacker with the Colts. However, his athleticism could allow the Colts to move him down to defensive tackle in certain situations.
Other mock drafts have offered up suggestions like running back Dalvin Cook, cornerback Teez Tabor, or offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk. In fact, Ramcyzk was Zierlein’s selection for the Colts in his first mock draft.
All these guys are nice draft picks. However, they do not address the heart of the Colts’ deficiencies: their pass defense. Now, a cornerback in the first round makes sense, but they can find one just as good in the later rounds. Edge rushers are different story.
The best time to take a pass rusher in the first round. A high majority of the NFL’s elite edge rushers are former first round picks.
Yes, there is a risk of drafting the next Bjoern Werner. However, how many more failed late round prospects like Tim Fugger or Jonathan Newsome do the Colts need? They need to capitalize on the top-heavy edge rusher draft class with their first round pick.
Zierlein’s prediction is nothing new for Indianapolis. Everyone knows they need to revamp their defense. Tennessee‘s Derek Barnett could be a crucial piece to that turnaround.
Barnett and the other 300-plus prospects will get their chance to impress the Colts and other NFL teams at the NFL Scouting Combine from Tuesday Feb. 28 to Monday, March 6.