Indianapolis Colts: Pre-free agency 7-round 2021 mock draft

Indianapolis Colts QB Carson Wentz. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Indianapolis Colts QB Carson Wentz. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Jaelan Phillips, 2021 NFL Draft, Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts 2021 mock draft: Jaelan Phillips (Photo by Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Indianapolis Colts, for the second consecutive offseason, have made a big splash via trade.

Less than a year after sending a first-round draft choice to the San Francisco 49ers for defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, the Colts traded a 2021 third-round pick and a future conditional pick for former Philadelphia Eagles second overall selection Carson Wentz.

After the Eagles made the decision to fire head coach Doug Pederson, the decision to trade Wentz came as a bit of a surprise.

Nevertheless, the Colts now have a young player under center, a former high draft choice who played at an MVP level as recently as 2017. Wentz is reunited with his former Eagles coach Frank Reich and is now in a situation with the Colts that could be very favorable to him.

The Colts have plenty of needs yet to address in the 2021 offseason, but after acquiring Wentz, they still have a ton of cap space and their top two picks in the 2021 NFL Draft to go after players.

Specifically, the Indianapolis Colts have to address the left tackle position with Anthony Castonzo retiring, and they have multiple key free agents on the defensive side.

This team is in a contending window, or at least they believe they are. They are likely going to be very aggressive in pursuit of players and could mortgage more immediate draft capital to upgrade the roster. Orlando Brown Jr., come on down?

Even though trades and obviously free agency should be in the back of everyone’s mind when it comes to the Indianapolis Colts, how might Chris Ballard attack the 2021 NFL Draft? Let’s take a look at one more pre-free agency scenario for them.

While the Indianapolis Colts have a clear and obvious need at the left tackle position, the pass rush cannot be neglected, either.

The team’s top two edge players from 2020’s 10th-ranked scoring defense were Justin Houston and Denico Autry, both of whom are over 30 years of age.

The team’s leader in sacks in 2020 was DeForest Buckner with 9.5 and he added a whopping 26 quarterback hits on top of that, but the team needs to add youth in the pass rush department that can be productive.

Former second-round picks Kemoko Turay and Ben Banogu combined for one sack this past season, so they’re obviously not going to be exempt from being upgraded on.

Jaelan Phillips is a former five-star high school prospect whose college career began at UCLA and ended in Miami. He flashed potential prior to the 2020 season but he really broke out for the Hurricanes last year with 45 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, and 8.0 sacks in 10 games.

There is no question he has the raw talent and in a defensive class that doesn’t have the kind of Chase Young top-end talent, a player like Phillips could end up being a steal if he goes to a team like the Colts.