Indianapolis Colts 2024 NFL Draft guide: Picks, predictions and key needs

Indianapolis Colts 2024 NFL Draft guide: Picks, predictions and key needs

The Indianapolis Colts have the 15th pick in the NFL Draft when Round 1 begins April 25 in Detroit. The Colts own seven total picks in the seven-round draft.

Colts’ draft picks

Round Pick Overall Notes

1

15

15

2

14

46

3

18

82

4

17

116

5

16

150

6

15

190

7

14

234

Full draft order

Every pick in the seven-round NFL Draft.

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NFL Draft 2024 ‘The Beast’ Guide: Dane Brugler’s scouting reports and player rankings

NFL Draft details

• Round 1: April 25, 8 p.m. ET
• Rounds 2-3: April 26, 7 p.m. ET
• Rounds 4-7: April 27, noon ET

All rounds will be televised on ESPN/ABC and NFL Network and in Spanish on ESPN Deportes.

About the Colts

• Head coach: Shane Steichen (second season with team)
• General manager: Chris Ballard (eighth season with team)
• Last year’s record: 9-8

The Colts are coming off a promising first season under Steichen, who helped the team remain competitive despite a litany of key absences, including dual-threat rookie QB Anthony Richardson. The new face of the franchise missed one game due to a concussion and sustained a season-ending AC joint sprain in Week 5. Indianapolis weathered the storm and fell one win short of winning the AFC South behind backup QB Gardner Minshew, who is now with the Las Vegas Raiders. The expectations are high for Steichen and Richardson in Year 2 as they continue pushing Indianapolis into a new era.

Colts’ key position needs 

Note: Safety is a big need. However, the Colts don’t seem likely to draft one on Day 1 or 2 and will probably aim to sign a veteran or two in free agency.

Cornerback: Kenny Moore II, whom the Colts retained in free agency, is the only proven cornerback on Indianapolis’ roster. He fell just short of being named second-team All-Pro in 2023. JuJu Brents, a 2023 second-round pick, showed promise with one interception, six passes defensed and one forced fumble in his rookie season, but he only appeared in nine games due to various injuries.

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GM Chris Ballard likes Colts’ young CBs, but are they good enough for him to bet on?

Assuming Brents starts alongside Moore in 2024, that leaves one more starting spot open on the outside, and the Colts don’t have strong options. Ballard remains high on 2023 seventh-round pick Jaylon Jones and Dallis Flowers, who went undrafted in 2022 and is recovering from a torn Achilles he sustained in 2023, but they’re far from safe bets. Indianapolis should seek to upgrade at cornerback early in the draft or the latter stages of free agency.

Wide receiver: Michael Pittman Jr., who recently inked a three-year, $70 million extension with $46 million guaranteed, headlines this group. There’s still some debate about whether he’s a No. 1 receiver, but that argument no longer matters because the Colts believe he’s their No. 1 receiver given the contract he just signed. Slot receiver Josh Downs, who had an impressive rookie season in 2023, and deep threat Alec Pierce round out the rest of Indianapolis’ wide receiver room.

The team could still use another explosive playmaker at that position. LSU star Brian Thomas Jr., who tallied an FBS-high 17 receiving TDs last year, is the first wideout that comes to mind who could be in Indianapolis’ range with the No. 15 pick. Obviously, there will be other options early in the draft, but the bottom line is Indianapolis should prioritize making Richardson’s job as easy as possible by adding another premier target.

Edge rusher: The Colts set the Indianapolis-era franchise record with 51 sacks last season. Defensive end Samson Ebukam, who joined the Colts last year via free agency, led the way with 9.5 sacks. Fellow defensive end Kwity Paye finished second with 8.5 sacks, but it’s not exactly a no-brainer for Indianapolis to pick up the 2021 first-round pick’s fifth-year option. The Colts have until May 2 to decide if they’re willing to pay Paye $13.4 million in 2025. Ballard thinks Paye and 2021 draftmate Dayo Odeyingbo, who tallied eight sacks in 2023, took significant steps forward last year, though it’s fair to wonder if they’ll ever become elite pass rushers at this stage of their careers.

Indianapolis had an NFL-low 15.7 blitz percentage in defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s second season with the team, and its 19.6 QB pressure percentage ranked 22nd in the NFL, per Pro Football Reference. It would be naïve to expect Bradley to change his system, so the most realistic way to potentially improve the Colts’ pass rush would be for Ballard to take another swing at selecting an difference-making edge rusher in the draft.

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Patriots fail to land Calvin Ridley, so what are their WR options now?

Colts draft analysis

Draft mailbag: Would GM Chris Ballard trade a haul for Marvin Harrison Jr.?

NFL mock draft analysis: What Dane Brugler got right and where he might have gone wrong

Colts and ‘The Beast’: Dream picks, sleepers and fun facts about Indy’s top targets

Colts 2024 NFL Draft big board: 15 targets to watch at WR, CB and more

GM Chris Ballard likes Colts’ young CBs, but are they good enough for him to bet on?

Colts 10-step offseason plan: Franchise tag Michael Pittman Jr., draft Brock Bowers

Exploring Colts’ options at TE: Bank on Jelani Woods’ development? Draft Brock Bowers?

Colts mock draft reaction: Indy takes swing on ‘lockdown’ CB, freakish edge rusher

The Athletic’s latest mock drafts

April 22: James Boyd’s ideal draft
James lays out a realistic but exciting 7-round draft for the Colts.

April 19: An analytics mock draft
The Colts see one of the best defenders in the draft fall right into their laps.

April 17: Dane Brugler’s 7-round mock draft
The Colts fill their biggest defensive need on Day 1 before finding some more help for Richardson on Day 2.

April 15: Boyd’s mock draft
James channels his inner Ballard and trades back (twice!) before selecting a versatile CB.

April 8: Nick Baumgardner’s latest mock
The Colts are forced to pivot after the top two CBs go in front of them.

April 4: Bruce Feldman’s sourced mock draft
Feldman addresses the Colts’ biggest need, though not with the players he thinks the Colts would have preferred.

March 21: Beat writer mock draft 2.0
James Boyd adds a much-needed explosive element to the Colts offense.

March 5: Dane Brugler’s post-combine mock draft.
Brugler has the Colts upgrading Richardson’s arsenal with a “premier athlete” at wide receiver.

Feb. 22: Beat writer mock draft 1.0
Really? Other teams are just going to let Brock Bowers fall? He’s not getting past the Colts.

Colts’ last five top picks

2023: QB Anthony Richardson, No. 4 — Limited to four games as a rookie, Richardson completed 59.5 percent of his passes for three TDs against one pick. He also tallied 25 carries for 136 yards and four touchdowns against one lost fumble. Richardson, who turns 22 in May, became the youngest player in NFL history with multiple passing TDs and a rushing TD in one game with his three-touchdown performance in an overtime loss against the Rams in Week 4. Despite the defeat, Ballard and Steichen both said the game validated Richardson’s star potential. The dynamic QB will now be tasked with trying to end Indianapolis’ three-year playoff drought in 2024.

2022: WR Alec Pierce, No. 53 — Pierce took a step back from his rookie season and finished with 32 catches for 514 yards and two TDs in 2023. The receiver’s regression was due, in large part, to the Colts’ inability to push the ball downfield when Minshew replaced Richardson at QB. One could argue Downs, who corralled a rookie franchise record 68 catches for 771 yards and two TDs, has emerged as the Colts’ clear No. 2 wideout. However, Ballard still thinks Pierce is a more dynamic than what he’s shown, and he should have the chance to display more of his abilities with a healthy Richardson in 2024.

2021: DE Kwity Paye, No. 21 — Paye produced his best and healthiest season as a pro in 2023. He totaled a career-high 8.5 sacks in 16 games, which was up from six sacks in 12 games in 2022 and four sacks in 15 games in 2021. The irony in Paye increasing his sacks last year is that he didn’t put a lot of pressure on the QB otherwise. He had just six QB hurries, and his nine QB hits were a career low. Paye has proven he is a good player, but the question now is whether or not he can become a game-changer.

2020: WR Michael Pittman Jr., No. 34 — Pittman put together a career year in 2023, totaling 109 catches for 1,152 yards and four TDs. He became the fourth player in Colts history to record at least 100 catches and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season, joining Indianapolis wide receivers coach Reggie Wayne, Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison Sr. and former tight end Dallas Clark.

Pittman took over as the Colts’ No. 1 receiver after his rookie season, and he’s totaled 296 receptions for 3,159 yards and 14 TDs over the last three years. The 26-year-old only missed two games during that span, and his availability and production are why Indianapolis had no choice but to sign him to a lucrative contract extension this offseason. The only wide receivers who’ve tallied more catches and targets (426) throughout the last three seasons are Las Vegas’ Davante Adams, Miami’s Tyreek Hill, Buffalo’s Stefon Diggs, Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson, Dallas’ CeeDee Lamb and Detroit’s Amon-Ra St. Brown, all of whom have been named first-team All-Pros.

2019: CB Rock Ya-Sin, No. 34 — Ya-Sin is one of Ballard’s biggest draft misses. He started 13 games as a rookie and recorded one interception and five passes defensed, but he never became a full-time starter. After pedestrian campaigns in 2020 and 2021, Indianapolis traded Ya-Sin to the Raiders before the 2022 season in exchange for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. Ya-Sin was serviceable in Las Vegas, starting nine of the 11 games he played that year, before signing a one-year, $4 million deal with Baltimore in 2023. Ya-Sin, who has not snagged an interception since 2020, is currently a free agent.

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(Photo of Terrion Arnold: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

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