2017 NFL Mock Draft: Indianapolis Colts select Derek Barnett with 15th pick

By Frank Cooney, NFLDraftScout.com  |  April 20, 2017 at 2:34 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter
| License Photo

This is one in a series that covers each team, offering viewers information for homework, suggestions and then the opportunity to make a draft pick.

When the NFL Draft begins selections in Philadelphia April 27, the Indianapolis Colts have the No. 15 pick in the first round.

Here is an in-depth look at the team's needs, offseason changes, potential best fit and the selections by NFLDraftScout.com's experts.

Who would you pick and why?

Top five needs

1. Rush outside linebacker: Despite all the Colts' free agency moves to infuse more talent on defense this offseason, finding an athletic, young, play-making outside rush linebacker remains the top priority for the Indianapolis front office during the draft. If the Colts could find two rookie rush outside linebackers in this draft, so much the better.

2. Cornerback: Indianapolis needs to find depth at cornerback in this draft. Indianapolis could come up with a potential long-term starter at the position, which would really help Ballard's defensive remodeling. The Colts need more playmakers in the secondary.

3. Running back: With Frank Gore on the back end of his NFL career, don't be surprised if the Colts try to find a long-term replacement at running back. Veteran Robert Turbin was re-signed this offseason, but he's not expected to be the eventual replacement for Gore in the Indianapolis offense. Finding the right young running back who can pass block as well as be a dependable receiver out of the backfield is just as important as their running skills.

4. Inside linebacker: Indianapolis was active in the veteran free agency market this offseason and added several pieces to the team's inside linebacking group. But coming up with a couple rookie inside linebackers who are athletic and skilled enough to push the veterans would be nice.

5. Defensive line: Again, the Colts have been busy this offseason in the veteran free agency market as they have tried to improve the overall depth and skills along the defensive line. Indianapolis, though, wants to get younger and more athletic in the trenches. Playmakers are needed.

BEST FIT

OLB Derek Barnett, Tennessee: The Colts need immediate help at rush outside linebacker. While trying to add help through free agency to the rest of the defense during this offseason, Indianapolis is in dire need of a young, athletic outside pass rusher who can also handle the responsibilities in pass coverage. The Colts pick 15th overall in the first round and Barnett is expected to still be available at that point of the draft.

PREDICTION

Rob Rang: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple. The Colts have needs all over the defense and could see the versatile and explosive Reddick as immediate help at a number of positions. Reddick recorded 22.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks as an edge rusher for the Owls in 2016 before wowing first at the Senior Bowl as a more traditional linebacker at the Senior Bowl and then at the Combine, recording a ridiculous 4.52 second time in the 40-yard dash and 11-foot, 1-inch broad jump at 6-foot-1, 234 pounds.

Dane Brugler: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple. Coming from Kansas City, new Colts general manager Chris Ballard understands the impact of speed on defense and that is exactly what Reddick offers. He can line up inside or outside and give position flexibility to drop in coverage or blitz.

Jim Miller: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama.

Frank Cooney, IMO: If the Colts' top need is a pass rusher, versatile linebacker Haason Reddick, Temple, is an intriguing prospect. He arrived as a 185-pound walk-on and as he became bigger and tougher he was guilty of aggravated assault -- literally (off-campus fight, 2015) -- which opponents witnessed last season when he collected 22.5 tackles for a loss, including 10.5 sacks.

Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com, is in his sixth decade covering football and 25th year on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories