3 Indianapolis Colts targets in 2021 NFL Draft

Dec 12, 2020; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Eric Stokes (27) returns an interception against Missouri Tigers wide receiver Tauskie Dove (86) during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts have plenty of room to improve after an 11-5 season.

The Indianapolis Colts head into the offseason with one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, but with questions surrounding the most important position in the game.

Indianapolis’ decision to sign Philip Rivers to a one-year deal ultimately paid off as the Colts made a return to the playoffs. However, he was often unconvincing in the process and, given his age, it is debatable whether it is worth bringing the 39-year-old back for another go-around.

And, if they decide against doing so, it appears unlikely the Colts will be able to land a replacement in the draft, with their progress into the postseason placing Indianapolis in the second half of the first round, when Trevor Lawrence and the likes of Justin Fields, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance will long be off the board.

That begs the question – what will Indianapolis do on the first day of the draft?

Despite an 11-5 record, there are plenty of areas in which the Colts will look to improve. Defeats to the Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers served as an indicator of the strides they still need to make in the AFC.

It would be an astute move to further bolster both sides of the trenches, which general manager Chris Ballard has consistently made a priority during his tenure.

The pass defense is in need of strengthening while the addition of further playmakers will help whoever is under center for the Colts in 2021. Here we look at three possible options for Indianapolis in the draft.

Eric Stokes

CB Georgia

One of the most impressive aspects of the Colts’ season was the revitalization of the career of cornerback Xavier Rhodes, whose stock was at an extremely low ebb when he signed with Indianapolis.

Rhodes may be able to command a larger contract than the one-year, $8 million deal the Colts gave him last offseason and it will be interesting to see what appetite Ballard has to re-sign him to a long-term deal at a potentially more expensive price.

Rhodes will be 31 by the time the 2021 season starts, and the Colts should be in a position to land one of the more talented corners in the draft.

Stokes may be a level below Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II, yet he meets the thresholds for an outside corner at the highest level at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds and will head to the NFL on the back of the most productive season of his college career.

Operating in an extremely talented Bulldogs secondary that also featured Tyson Campbell and safety Richard LeCounte III, Stokes stood out as the star with four interceptions – he had none in his previous two seasons – and four passes defensed.

An intelligent corner adept in press coverage, Stokes would slot in very nicely on a Colts defense already filled with playmakers.

Published at Sat, 09 Jan 2021 21:27:12 +0000

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