Not all standout players come from Power 5 conferences. Occasionally, a small-school player really makes a great run and becomes exceptional in the NFL. Could one be joining the Colts?
The Indianapolis Colts are notorious for drafting players from smaller schools. Players including Mike Strachan, Kylen Granson, Danny Pinter, Grover Stewart, Isaiah Rodgers, and Darius Leonard are a select group of Colts players that were drafted from smaller schools.
Smaller schools bring a different talent level. Typically, there are fewer eyes on these players, which means you can draft them later. That’s a Chris Ballard specialty. When the Colts drafted Leonard, it was widely reported as the worst pick in the draft.
Who are the top players in the 2022 NFL Draft that are not from Power 5 Conference schools, though? Are there players that the Colts might be looking at in the draft that fit this mold?
While there aren’t any players that are just bonafide studs, there are at least five players that are on the Colts big board this week.
The following five players are not only players that the Colts have looked into, but they have also come to Indianapolis for official Top-30 visits.
5. WR Romeo Doubs, Nevada
In all likelihood, Indianapolis is going to take a wide receiver in the second round, if they don’t trade the pick. Players like George Pickens have been rumored to be a strong target for the Colts, but if that doesn’t happen, Romeo Doubs might be the pick.
Romeo has been climbing up the boards lately and will be a solid pick if he is available with the 42nd pick. Doubs is 6-foot-2 with speed and caught 80 passes last season for 1,109 yards and 11 touchdowns.
4. CB Tariq Woolen, UTSA
The chances that Tariq Woolen is still on the board in the third round when he would likely be selected is a little slim. He is climbing up the boards lately and is most likely a mid-second-round pick.
Woolen is a solid corner that will be a starter in the league. He has the size and athletic ability to make it in the NFL.
His percentage of targets resulting in a forced incompletion or INT since 2019 ranks sixth in the nation in front of players like Andrew Booth Jr and Trent McDuffie.
3. OT Ryan Van Demark, UConn
It seems unlikely the Colts are going to invest a high pick on an offensive lineman in this year’s draft. There are so many holes that need to be filled and we have at least three solid starters already.
With players like Pinter stepping up, I can see depth pieces being added in the later rounds. Enter Ryan Van Demark in the seventh round.
Ryan might take some time to get into a starting lineup, but his size and build are already impressive. Drafting RVD will be a big bonus to the offensive line and bring competition to the left tackle position.
2. CB Christian Matthew, Valdosta State
Has anyone ever heard of a good cornerback from Valdosta State? Kenny Moore came from the same school and he turned out okay.
Unlike Moore, Christian Matthew is large for the position and would be a great addition to add to the Colts’ secondary.
With the addition of Stephon Gilmore, Matthew would have the ability to add depth to the other side of the field and relieve Gilmore when needed.
1. QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
This could be more real than most people want to believe. Ridder hasn’t climbed into the first round, but there is a chance that the draft gets wild and QBs start going late in the first round.
If Desmond Ridder is still on the board at 42, there is a real chance the Colts take a shot at drafting him. That is if Chris Ballard doesn’t look to trading back with a team that wants him, too.
Indy is temporarily set up at the quarterback position with the trade for Matt Ryan, but drafting their future to learn behind Ryan isn’t a bad idea. Ridder’s leadership ability has already been noted as being one of the best in the draft.
Expect Ballard to be involved on Friday when it comes to Ridder. Whether that’s drafting him or trading back with another team.