Colts have plenty of options on Day 2

George Bremer, The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.
·4 min read

Apr. 30—The Indianapolis Colts filled one of their biggest needs Thursday in the first round of the NFL draft by selecting Michigan defensive end Kwity Paye with the 21st overall pick.

The question now becomes how quickly they can fill the other significant hole on the roster at left tackle.

Things played out pretty well for the Colts in Round 1 with just three offensive tackles and one pass rusher going in the first 20 picks. But general manager Chris Ballard didn't seem to heavily consider an offensive lineman at No. 21. He said several times the selection of Paye was an easy decision and suggested while the O-line class is deep it's far from perfect.

"There's some really good players on the offensive line, but they weren't prototypical left tackles," Ballard said. "That's real, doesn't mean they can't do it. Matter of fact, some of the guys taken, we think they can. But they weren't prototypical."

A lot of that has to do with arm length. It's the reason several players in this class are projected as better fits at guard in the NFL.

Indianapolis starts Friday with the 54th overall pick in the second round and no third-round choice after dealing it away for quarterback Carson Wentz in March. There are several athletic offensive tackles with second-round grades still on the board, but Ballard was careful to reiterate the Colts won't force a need at the expense of a standout player at another position.

"If we see a player at another position we like, that we think's gonna help us get to where we want to go — and he's better than an offensive line position — then we'll take him," Ballard said. "And then we'll figure it out as we go along. ... We got a ways to go before the season starts."

Here's a look at some players that might intrigue Indianapolis in Round 2:

Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas: An athletic leader with an on-field mean streak, Cosmi made 34 starts over three seasons with the Longhorns. The last 21 came at left tackle. Viewed as a potential first-round pick, it will likely take a trade up to land him on Day 2.

Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame: All 38 of his career starts for the Fighting Irish came at left tackle, but there are those who believe Eichenberg's best fit in the NFL is at guard. He has strong hands, solid technique and high football intelligence.

Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue: Undersized at 5-foot-7 and 181 pounds, Moore is nonetheless an explosive playmaker with a 42.5-inch vertical jump and a 4.31-second 40-yard dash. Injuries were an issue with the Boilers, leading to durability concerns.

Quinn Meinerz, OG, Wisconsin-Whitewater: A star during Senior Bowl week, Meinerz would be a Plan B option for the Colts. He could move to left guard allowing three-time all-pro Quenton Nelson to kick outside at tackle if Indy doesn't like it's other outside options in this class.

Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse: At 6-2 and 205 pounds, Melifonwu has a rare combination of size, speed and agility that could prove irresistible to Ballard. He had 26 pass break-ups and three interceptions over three seasons with the Orange and takes pride in the physical nature of the game.

Walker Little, OT, Stanford: Three years ago, Little was on track to be a sure-fire first-rounder. But a knee injury cost him all but one game in 2019, and he opted out of the 2020 season. If he can regain his old form, the former Cardinal star could qualify as a steal.

Brady Christensen, OT, BYU: An older prospect after serving a two-year religious mission, Christensen played center field for his high school baseball team and set a record for an offensive lineman with a 10-foot-4 broad jump. He also made 38 starts at left tackle for the Cougars.

Jevon Holland, S, Oregon: A heavy hitter with a penchant for violence, Holland also had nine interceptions during his two seasons with the Ducks. He opted out of the 2020 season and needs to become more consistent in coverage, but he's a top-flight competitor.

Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State: Naturally instinctive with a nasty on-field disposition, Radunz's aggressive play can sometimes work against him. But he started 32 games at left tackle for the Bison on a pair of national championship teams while blocking for two future NFL QBs.

Tommy Tremble, TE, Notre Dame: There's plenty of room for development, but Tremble is a plus athlete whose natural traits could translate to better production as a pro than his college numbers (35 catches, 401 yards, four TDs) might suggest.