Even without a day-one selection, the Indianapolis Colts still managed to put together one of the best hauls from the 2022 NFL Draft.
Few could have imagined that the Indianapolis Colts would turn in such a great offseason, given where things stood following the 2021 campaign. General manger Chris Ballard knew even before the season ended that quarterback Carson Wentz was not going to be his signal-caller going forward. A week 18 meltdown versus the Jaguars, in which Wentz posted a 4.4 QBR, proved to be the final nail in the coffin. That is not a typo, it was really that bad. Owner Jim Irsay was vocal, in more ways than one, about his displeasure with the way the team played the final two weeks. Most of that flack came back on Wentz.
So, armed with a quarterback that just put together an all-time collapse, and sitting without a first-round pick due to the trade that brought in said quarterback, the Colts’ back was against the wall. Somehow, some way, Ballard was able to swing a deal with the Washington Commanders for Carson Wentz. He took advantage of their desperation, and received a third-round pick in 2022 and a conditional third-round pick in 2023… all for a player that they were going to cut anyway!
They followed this up with a slew of shrewd moves in free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft. The first domino to fall was cornerback Rock Ya-Sin getting dealt to the Raiders, in a rare player-for-player swap that brought pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue to Indy. The next move was the biggest by far, as the Colts flipped a third-round pick to Atlanta and received former NFL MVP, Matt Ryan. The final major addition came in the defensive secondary, as the team signed former All-Pro Stephon Gilmore to a two-year pact.
Still with me? Let’s break it down. The Indianapolis Colts added a star pass rusher, a star quarterback, and a star cornerback via trade/free agency. In doing so, they moved off of Wentz and his contract, while also acquiring an extra pick for the 2023 NFL Draft and filling nearly every major need on the roster. Somehow a franchise that opened the offseason squarely behind the eight ball, ended up running the table in one turn.
In the following slide, I list each draft pick and a letter grade for them. I will highlight my favorite pick, my least favorite pick, and a player from the later rounds that has the potential to make immediate contributions. There will also be an overall grade for the class as a whole. Without further ado, let’s get this started!