Indianapolis Colts: Best-case scenario for Indy’s first-round pick

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 03: Christian Darrisaw #77 of the Virginia Tech Hokies (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 03: Christian Darrisaw #77 of the Virginia Tech Hokies (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts could fill one of several different holes in the 2021 NFL Draft, but all signs are pointing to the fact that they could use the No. 21 pick on a wide receiver, like Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman, an edge rusher like Penn State’s Jayson Oweh, or a left tackle like Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw.

The Colts, unfortunately, picked the wrong year to need one of those two positions this early in the draft.

Both offensive tackle and wide receiver are very top-heavy this year, as studs like Penei Sewell at LT and both Devonta Smith and Ja’Marr Chase at WR outrank most of their competition.

The next tier down features a few interesting prospects, including Alabama speedster Jaylen Waddle and Darrisaw, who has established him as the No. 3 offensive tackle behind Sewell and Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater.

With the likes of Smith and Chase a complete pipe dream, either Waddle or Darrisaw somehow slipping to 21 represents the absolute best-case scenario for the Colts.

Chris Ballard just needs to cross his fingers and hope some draft-day foolishness ends up with Indy grabbing one of these two.

The Colts need to hope an offensive tackle or wide receiver slips in the NFL Draft.

The only way Waddle falls is if teams get a bit unnerved by his medical reports, as most of his final season at Alabama was spent on the sidelines. As proven countless times every season, some concerning medical reports can, and will, lead to some ultra-talented players sliding in the draft. Even then, Indy might have to trade up for him.

Darrisaw would be an ideal player for the Colts, as his power and athleticism could make him a Day 1 starter. However, starting with the Philadelphia Eagles at pick No. 12 and ending with the Chicago Bears at pick No. 20, at least five or six teams could conceivably pick an offensive tackle.

While the likes of Samuel Cosmi, Jalen Mayfield, Alex Leatherwood, and Dillon Radunz are excellent tackles, they are a notch or two behind Darrisaw. Taking a lineman at 21 with Darrisaw off the board might represent Indianapolis reaching a bit to fill a void, and that strategy could come back to bite a team with playoff aspirations.

Worrying medical reports, teams potentially adding to the offensive line in free agency, or any combination of mitigating factors could help Waddle or Darrisaw slide down to where Indianapolis is stationed. The draft won’t be over if they miss on them, as Ballard has traditionally nailed it in the later rounds, but it would still be a bit disappointing.