Indianapolis Colts: Edge Rushers Available in First Round of NFL Draft

Nov 5, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers defensive end Derek Barnett (9) during the second quarter against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers defensive end Derek Barnett (9) during the second quarter against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports /

Jim Irsay made it clear during the Annual League Meetings that the Indianapolis Colts are seeking edge rushers with speed early in the draft.  Who will be available for the Colts, and what impact could they have?

The good news for the Indianapolis Colts is that there are a plethora of talented edge pass rushers in the 2017 draft.  The bad news is that they will come off the board quickly in the first round.

Some of the best defensive ends such as Myles Garrett, Solomon Thomas, and Jonathan Allen won’t be available for the Colts as they will go prior to the Colts’ 15th overall pick.

There are still some good choices remaining if the Colts want to choose an edge rusher in the first round:

Haason Reddick

The mock drafts have Reddick going anywhere between 5th overall to 23rd overall. At 6’1″ and 237 pounds, Reddick, who played college ball at Rutgers, may be undersized for the edge rusher position in the NFL.  Per

"“Has athleticism in space and necessary instincts to be legit cover talent as linebacker.  Reddick’s speed and athleticism might give him a greater shot at impacting the game as a 3-4 inside linebacker or a 4-3 WILL rather than trying to bulk up and play the edge”"

I’m not sure this is what the Colts are looking for, although I was intrigued by his scouting report, as it reminded me of Dwight Freeney’s report.  His scouting report concludes:

"“An ascending prospect with a high-end potential if he can continue to hone his craft.”"

Reddick could be a worthwhile gamble for the Colts in the first round.

More from Horseshoe Heroes

Derek Barnett has him picked the former Tennessee star anywhere from 8th to 28th in their mock drafts.  I wrote about Derek Barnett as a possible first round pick for the Colts here.  I noted that he would certainly be an upgrade over the Colts’ current cast of edge rushers.  I just felt that Reuben Foster would be a better pick for the Colts if he is available at pick number 15.  I would seriously consider picking Foster over most edge rushers available in the first round (outside of the top 3).

As for Derek Barnett, his’s scouting report notes:

"“Elite production on par with former Vol and Hall of Famer Reggie White against run and as sack artist. Not content to just set the edge — wants to make the play. Punishing hitter. Delivers crushing tackles and sacks when given the opportunity. Hustle player who pursues the play with intent.”"

On the downside:

"“Will overthink it at times rather than just reacting. Change-of-direction issues typical of a broad-waisted big man. Struggles to redirect movements suddenly once momentum starts rolling downhill. Quarterbacks with pocket mobility can elude him.”"

In summary,’s report states:

"“Barnett is one of the most productive defensive linemen to come out of the SEC in quite some time. There could be coordinators who view him as an early down, outside backer in a 3-4 with the ability to put his hand in the ground on sub packages.”"

I feel the scouting report on Barnett is favorable with the needs the Colts are trying to fill.  If Barnett is around at pick number 15, I could very much see the Colts taking him.

Takkarist McKinley’s mock drafts have McKinley, the former UCLA player, picked as high as 11th and as low as 30th.  I found it interesting that in’s scouting report, an AFC area scout noted:

"“He was my sleeper headed into the season, but that went out the window with the season he had this year. I think he’s a second rounder who needs time but he’ll probably get overdrafted. He’s going to be a productive pro.”"

The scouting report summary states:

"“McKinley’s motor is a translatable characteristic, but improved hand usage and pass rush mechanics are what could elevate his game to another level as a starting, 3-4 outside linebacker.”"

McKinley could be a guy that the Colts get later in the first round.  Perhaps he is a trade down candidate.  While there is some concern over the rawness of his talent, he can still be developed.

Other edge rushers the Colts could target in the first round include Charles Harris, Taco Charlton or Tim Williams.  All 3 have the ability to make an impact in year one.

Next: Colts Jim Irsay Reinforces Chris Ballard's Rebuilding Plan

The 2017 draft is deep in many areas of need for the Colts.  They should have good options in the first round if they choose an edge rusher.