Colts 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft 3.0: Chris Ballard gets uncharacteristic

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Tyler Van Dyke, Calijah Kancey
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. . Calijah Kancey. 35. player. . 46. DL | Pittsburgh

The Indianapolis Colts draft DL Calijah Kancey in the second round (35th overall)

The uncharacteristic aspect of this mock draft starts early, and it starts now. Not to say bolstering the defensive front wouldn't be a necessary addition, nor would it be that uncharacteristic of GM Chris Ballard, but going after an interior defensive lineman with DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart already in place indeed raises some eyebrows.

At this point in time, it would make sense if the Colts were to go cornerback or edge rusher here, maybe even wide receiver depending on how free agency goes. However, with how I've approached this draft, I'm electing to operate as the antithesis of what Chris Ballard is about -- BPA, best pick available.

Calijah Kancey is regarded as an undersized interior defensive lineman at 6-feet tall and weighing roughly 280 pounds, but he plays much bigger than that. In the 2022 season, Kancey was an unanimous All-American and the ACC DPOY, posting a statline of eight sacks and 30 quarterback hurries.

Although he is an interior defensive lineman on paper, Kancey proved his versatility by playing all over the Pittsburgh line this past season. Pittsburgh rotates a handful of guys, spreading them all across the line, and blitzes often. Kancey has the chance to provide youthful depth for the Colts' defensive line and could thrive in a Dayo Odeyingbo-type role.

Odeyingbo in this assumption would begin to ascend, playing from the edge more often, thus giving Kancey more opportunities early on. Maybe the Colts re-sign Yannick Ngakoue to another one-year deal, giving Dayo more time and less pressure to produce early. Nonetheless, Ballard goes BPA and the show goes on.