Mock Draft Medley: No Round 1 QB for the Colts, Witherspoon and Gonzalez Go in the Top Six, More
There have been some bold mock drafts. But this is the boldest I’ve seen so far. Let me preface this by saying I respect the heck out of 4for4’s John Daigle. He was part of our live panel at last week’s BN live event, and he knows football as well as anyone. However … hoo boy does this mock get the gears turning!
Daigle has two corners going in the top six, and that’s not even the boldest pick. We’ll talk about those shortly. But first, John has Chris Ballard and the Colts not taking a quarterback at No. 4!
The Colts instead take Will Anderson Jr. at No. 4 — again, we’ll get to the Cardinals shortly, so hold that thought — and use the later rounds to search for a quarterback.
“Consensus has the Colts standing pat and selecting a quarterback with the No. 4 overall pick despite having a bridge familiar with the playbook, Gardner Minshew, on the roster for Week 1. More importantly, the front office did not endure a regime overhaul, which brings to light whether Ballard thinks he can afford one more year of leeway if pulling the trigger on a project.
“I expect the Colts to come away with a quarterback at some point in the first two days — Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline reports the team has shown interest in BYU QB Jaren Hall (6’1/207), who The Athletic’s Dane Brugler projects as a 4th/5th-round selection — but not inside the first five picks. Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez, who logged the most snaps in zone coverage among his class last year, is also in play under DC Gus Bradley, who has schemed a league-high rate of Cover 3 (across three separate teams) in four of the last five seasons.”
Again, hoooo boy!
But before we sharpen the pitchforks in the comments, let’s break this down:
This is contingent on C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young going 1-2 in some order. That would leave the Colts with Anthony Richardson and Will Levis. Many have Levis sliding to the Titans at No. 11. Many believe that Richardson is a project at best. So, would Chris Ballard stake his last shot at landing a franchise quarterback on one of those two?
That’s an incredibly fair question. Jarring at first glance, given the glaring need and the pre-draft chatter? Sure. But fair nonetheless. Perhaps Ballard can convince Jim Irsay that he isn’t in love with Richardson or Levis. It could be the right move to take a QB in the middle rounds and see how close Gardner Minshew and Sam Ehlinger can get them to Caleb Williams next spring.
It won’t be popular, but that doesn’t mean it’s not sound in logic.
As a consolation prize, the Colts land Will Anderson Jr., a blue-chipper pass rusher, to slot in as a cornerstone of their defense for the next half-decade. That’s not a bad alternative at all. Especially if they execute the latter half of the hypothetical plan and make sure they’re in a position to either draft Caleb Williams or close enough to trade up and do so.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals kind of make this move …
In this mock, John has Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez going to the Cardinals at No. 3. But he prefaced the pick by saying that Arizona will probably trade the pick. If they trade the selection, it’ll be to a team looking to take a quarterback. Whether that QB is Richardson or Levis, that would leave the Colts with the other, and if they didn’t love either all that much, they’re certainly going to be more inclined to kick the can one more season if left with one option that they’re not sold on and the other three didn’t want.
So, I’m saying this is entirely possible and would be the smart move if the Colts aren’t sold on what’s left on the table at No. 4? The only thing worse than not coming away with a QB in this draft for Indianapolis would be coming away with one you weren’t sold on that ends up busting and costing you your job. Chris Ballard indeed has that notion somewhere near the top of his mind.
Now, let’s talk about those cornerbacks
As I said, John has Christian Gonzalez going to Arizona. He also has Devon Witherspoon going to the Detroit Lions.
Let’s say the Cardinals trade the third pick, and John’s mocks of Will Anderson Jr. to Indy and Anthony Richardson to Seattle hit. This holds true even if Seattle takes Jalen Carter in that spot. This scenario leaves the Lions with their choice of Gonzalez or Witherspoon to replace Jeff Okudah, whom they traded to the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday.
As a Bears fan, I hate this scenario because the Lions are getting a stud cornerback at No. 6 either way. This is not good for Justin Fields and the Bears. Detroit was a tie-breaker from the playoffs last season, and they’ve had a good offseason. Adding an elite corner at No. 6 and then circling back at No. 18 to add another potential difference-maker has to make them the favorites in the NFC North. If they’re not already.
Other notable picks …
- If the Lions getting a stud CB wasn’t bad enough for Bears fans; John has the Vikings taking Maryland’s Deonte Banks at No. 23.
- John’s mock draft has the Falcons taking Bijan Robinson at No. 8, paving the way for the Bears to take Jalen Carter at No. 9.
- Clemson’s Myles Murhpy makes his way to No. 30, and the Eagles add him to their already excellent pass rush.
You can check out John’s full round one mock draft 2.0 at 4for4: