Indianapolis Colts NFL Draft Picks & Grades 2022: Colts Get Matt Ryan Some Weapons
After revamping their quarterback room and signing Stephon Gilmour in free agency, the Colts punctuated their offseason by attaining more size on offense and securing depth on defense. If Chris Ballard and the rest of this organization made one thing clear in this draft, it’s that they want physical players with a high athletic upside. Though no individual name on their draft board sticks out in isolation, the collective whole represents this identity and the faith the Colts have in their own player development infrastructure. To get a full breakdown of the Colts draft, including grades and analysis for each pick, check out the expert descriptions below.
Indianapolis Colts Draft Picks 2022
Round 2 No. 53 WR Alec Pierce
Round 3 No. 73 TE Jelani Woods
Round 3 No. 77 OT Bernhard Raimann
Round 3 No. 96 S Nick Cross
Round 5 No. 159 DT Eric Johnson
Round 6 No. 192 TE Andrew Ogletree
Round 6 No. 216 DT Curtis Brooks
Round 7 No. 239 DB Rodney Thomas
Overall Draft Grade: B-
Analysis: The Colts came into this draft with two primary areas of concern — run defense and passing offense. Having partially addressed their woes in the passing game by picking up Matt Ryan, the Colts supplied their new quarterback with some weapons in Alec Pierce and a pair of tight ends. On the defensive side of the ball, the Colts once again looked to pick up players who could fortify their interior and did just that by nabbing Eric Johnson and Curtis Brooks. Overall, I would’ve liked to see the Colts do more to address their deficiencies on the perimeter, namely at wide receiver. I don’t love that they drafted two defensive tackles given that they already have two on contract, though I get not going for an edge rusher or corner since they signed Stephon Gilmour in free agency and drafted Kwitty Paye just a year ago.
Indianapolis Colts Draft Grades 2022
Round: 2 Pick: 53 / Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
Coming in with 6’3” size and 4.4 speed, Pierce has the physical tools needed to make an impact immediately. Couple this with the fact that he spent the majority of his college career lining up against Sauce Gardner and Coby Bryant at practice, and there’s reason to believe that he brings a level of understanding to this team beyond your average rookie. As a physical player down the field, Pierce is at his best when he’s left to find pockets in zone coverage. He isn’t the twitchiest, though his strength at the catch point helps mitigate the effects of some of this. His size also makes him a solid run blocker and overall good pair with Johnathan Taylor in the backfield. If he’s able to improve his ability to create separation in press coverage, he’ll be a real threat for this Colts team. I don’t see this happening, however, and I see Pierce’s role being pretty limited as a result.
First look at the #Colts rookies:
📸 1️⃣4️⃣ @alecpierce pic.twitter.com/AVJKuGECAd
— Charlie Clifford (@char_cliff) May 13, 2022
Round: 3 Pick: 73 / Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia
Standing at 6’7”, Woods was the tallest tight end drafted in this year’s class. Despite his size, he has quick feet and great straight line speed — clocking a 4.61 40 at the combine. His combination of height and speed make him a difficult case for linebackers who have to cover him. Though a willing blocker, he’ll have to improve his productivity in the run game to be a consistent feature on the offense. He can also struggle as a pass catcher sometimes as he has fairly slow hands. Overall, if Woods can get stronger and more effective as a blocker, he’ll be a great fit for a team that has gone all in on the run game.
cheers, @jelani_thegreat. 🍻 pic.twitter.com/CjsFXPnP1i
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) April 30, 2022
Round: 3 Pick: 77 / Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
Having only played tackle since the 2020 season, Raimann has significant room to grow given his physical traits and already rapid ascension. He’s got great lower body strength that allows him to maintain leverage and is a capable lateral mover. Having played tight end previously, Raimann has a good understanding of how things work up the field and is good at finding his assignment in the screen game. Overall I like this pick for the Colts. Their offensive line is one good piece at left tackle away from being in the conversation of the best offensive lines in the NFL and Raimann makes a good case for filling this void. Though he will need to develop as a pass blocker, he’ll be able to do it alongside one of the best offensive line coaches in the game in Chris Strausser.
Round: 3 Pick: 96 / Nick Cross, S, Maryland
Though labeled as a safety, Cross looks and tackles like a linebacker in the open field. His thick build allows him to play the role of enforcer in the run game where he recorded 67 tackles in 2021. He also led Maryland in interceptions this previous season and will be able to make an immediate impact on special teams. I think Cross is a good value player for this late in the 3rd round, though I’m a little surprised the Colts took him. Both Khari Williams and Julian Blackmon are a bit shorter and Cross is more of the same. In a division with some good tight end play in Evan Engram and Austin Hooper, I thought the Colts would’ve been better suited going for someone with size at the position.
Round: 5 Pick: 159 / Eric Johnson, DT, Minnesota
Johnson comes into the league with 48 college starts already under his belt and a strong wrestling background. Though he isn’t much of a pass rusher, he is a solid run stopper who’s good at creating leverage. With both Grover Stewart and DeForest Buckner getting older, I understand where the Colts are coming from with this selection, though I’m not sure it’s the best value. Stewart and Buckner will both remain under contract for the next 2 years and so this pick is either an admission of a bad contract or a move to get a competent backup. If he can become more of a consistent pass rusher, which he has shown flashes of, I think he will pan out in the NFL, though unless Buckner or Stewart get injured I don’t see it being on the Colts. As things currently stand the Colts used their first 5th round pick on a backup defensive tackle.
Round: 6 Pick: 192 / Andrew Ogletree, TE, Youngstown State
The Colts doubled down on addressing their abysmal tight end room by securing Andrew Ogletree in the sixth round. Though he didn’t produce much in college, he has a unique skill set for the position insofar as he has great open field speed and is able to create consistent separation. I have no doubt that Frank Reich will find a way to get the most out of him given his history with tight ends, though if you told me the Colts were going to take more tight ends than wide receivers in this draft I would have been surprised. Especially given that Ogletree isn’t a renowned blocker, this pick seems a bit curious. It should be noted that the Colts aren’t the only team to go heavy on tight ends as the Ravens did the same by taking 2 TE’s in the 4th round. The Colts are making a statement about the team they want to be here, and if Ogletree’s athleticism can translate, they’ll be able to have their way in the middle of the field.
Round: 6 Pick: 216 / Curtis Brooks, DT, Cincinnati
Though a bit shorter, Brooks has great strength and a solid set of pass rush moves. He absorbs contact well and is able to utilize his strong core to stop some of the more powerful rushers in their tracks. Similar to the Eric Johnson pick, I’m surprised the Colts went all in on tackles given their commitments to Buckner and Stewart. If definitely become clear that this team’s identity hinges, in part, on the interior of both their offensive and defensive line. Brooks will certainly help them expand on this philosophy, but at what cost to the strength of the perimeter.
AAC Interior DLs with the highest pass rush grades since 2020:
💥 Logan Hall – 90.7
💥 Curtis Brooks – 90.3 pic.twitter.com/FiOsaJON5O
— PFF College (@PFF_College) April 11, 2022
Round: 7 Pick: 239 / Rodney Thomas, DB, Yale
Rounding out this class for the Colts, Rodney Thomas brings a promise of size and athleticism to the roster — standing at 6’2” with a 41 inch vertical jump. Listed as a cornerback coming out of college, Thomas will likely be used as a safety in this Colts defensive scheme. He’s got solid read and react skills and an overall good football mind. His high RAS score of 9.24 is likely what got him drafted and his ability to prove his intangibles will determine whether or not he makes the roster. Overall, I like Thomas’ upside given how late in the draft he was selected.