Colts: 3 playmakers Indy can draft in first round if they pass on QB

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Chris Ballard general manager of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Chris Ballard general manager of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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The Indianapolis Colts will have to move forward with their quarterback search after one of their reported top targets, Matthew Stafford, came off the board this past weekend. Of course, the 32-year-old veteran was dealt to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for Jared Goff, two first-round draft picks and a third-rounder.

The aftermath has seen general manager Chris Ballard take some heat for not pursuing Stafford aggressively enough, though we would argue that he made the right choice not giving up as much as the Rams did for an aging quarterback who has just three playoff appearances in 12 seasons.

Given the lack of star power on the free agent market and Ballard’s apparent reluctance in terms of selecting one of the top prospects in the 2021 draft class, taking to the trade market is probably still in the Colts’ best interest to find their new starter.

Seeing as though the Colts have seemingly already made up their minds about not drafting a quarterback in the first round, fans should get excited about what other playmakers could potentially fall to them at No. 21 overall.

The Colts should try to draft one of these three prospects in the first round.

Wake Forest DE Carlos Basham (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

3. Wake Forest DE Carlos Basham

The Colts need a pass rusher, and Carlos Basham could be the answer.

With Justin Houston and Denico Autry slated to hit free agency this offseason, the Colts could end up having a massive hole to fill in the pass rushing department. If they wanted to, they could simply turn around and use some of their cap space to sign one of the handful fo stars on the open market.

However, it wouldn’t hurt adding another prospect to the mix, especially if Indy passes on the chance to sign a marquee free agent and gives the likes of Tyquan Lewis and Kemoko Turay, both of whom were deployed as rotational pieces in 2020, a bigger role on defense.

Enter Carlos Basham, who really made it known during Senior Bowl week that he’s one of the most physically gifted defensive linemen in his class. The 23-year-old only played in six games this year due to Wake Forest having to pause football activities midseason due to positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing, so that’s why he didn’t come close to replicating the otherworldly numbers he produced as a sophomore and junior.

In a real testament to his skill set, however, Basham still managed to record 28 tackles, five sacks and four forced fumbles during his truncated senior year. He’s received criticism for being inconsistent, but he as all the physical tools to become a household name in the NFL. He could fall right into the Colts’ lap at No. 21 overall.