The 2018 NFL Draft was an incredible one for the Indianapolis Colts. Coming off a 4-12 season, Indy made 11 total selections in the draft. Those selections included players like Quenton Nelson, Shaquille Leonard, Braden Smith, Zaire Franklin, and Nyheim Hines. There’s no questioning the impact this draft class has had on the Colts.
What would things look like if the NFL redid the 2018 Draft? Would Indy make any different decisions? Would Indianapolis be forced to make different selections because the team’s original selection is already gone? ESPN’s draft analysts Jordan Reid and Matt Miller answered these questions in a recent piece.
Reid and Miller re-drafted the first two rounds of the 2018 Draft, using the information that we now know after five seasons. In the original draft, the Colts had three total picks in the first two rounds: Quenton Nelson at No. 6, Shaquille Leonard at No. 36, and Braden Smith at No. 37.
In this re-draft, Jordan Reid has Indy selecting wide receiver Courtland Sutton instead of Smith at No. 37. Of course, Shaquille Leonard would go in the first round if teams had another chance, and that’s why Reid had the Los Angeles Chargers selecting him at No. 17. That led to Matt Miller picking linebacker Leighton Vander Esch for the Colts at No. 36.
The biggest surprise, though, was that Indianapolis didn’t still select Quenton Nelson in the re-draft, and it wasn’t because he was off the board either. With Nelson still available, Miller has the Colts drafting left tackle Kolton Miller instead at No. 6.
Colts select Kolton Miller over Quenton Nelson in 2018 re-draft
Millers’ explanation for this shocking move is positional value, arguing “If given a choice between an All-Pro guard and a top-tier left tackle, I'm taking the tackle every time.” However, no level of emphasis on positional value is convincing enough to believe the Colts would take a solid tackle over a generational guard.
Since Quenton Nelson was selected by Indianapolis, he’s been to five Pro Bowls and made four All-Pro teams. He’s been one of the best players in the league over the last few years, and aside from a down year last season, he’s been completely dominant. If the Colts had another opportunity to draft him, they’d do it 10 times out of 10.