Colts: 3 edge rushers Indy has to target in 2021 NFL Draft

Michigan DE Kwity Paye (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Michigan DE Kwity Paye (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Former Miami and UCLA DE Jaelan Phillips (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

1. Jaelan Phillips

Miami standout Jaelan Phillips would be a perfect fit for the Colts.

Jaelan Phillips soared up draft boards after his mesmerizing pro day, when he tallied an unofficial 40-yard dash of 4.56 seconds, a 125-inch broad jump and 4.13-second short shuttle, all of which ranked above the 90th percentile (!) for defensive ends.

That showing, coupled with an exceptional junior year with Miami — he registered 45 tackles, eight sacks, three passes defended and one interception in 10 games — has prompted many scouts and analysts to peg him as a legitimate first-round prospect.

To put it simply, Phillips is an incredible athlete who has the required speed and strength on the edge to slip and steamroll blockers. He also meets the 33-inch arm length baseline the Colts appeared to have set since Ballard took over the general managing reins four years ago.

Like any draft prospect, however, Phillips comes with his concerns. Not only is he a work in progress who might not hit the ground running as a rookie, but his extensive injury history throughout his young career is a major red flag in our eyes.

Phillips sustained a remarkable three concussions during his two seasons at UCLA, which forced him into an early retirement. He ultimately took just one year away from the sport and entered the transfer portal before committing to the Hurricanes prior to last season.

This will force the Colts into conducting some meticulous leg work to try and determine whether these concussions could impact Phillips’ long-term outlook. With that being said, however, his massive upside will make it difficult for them to pass on him if he’s available at No. 21 overall.

As long as they get an encouraging medical report from doctors and concussion experts, Phillips is simply a player Indianapolis must target in the first round…especially if Paye is off the board.