Round 4, No. 106: Rakim Jarrett, WR, Maryland
Parris Campbell is gone, leaving the slot receiver role wide-open for 2023. Veteran Isaiah McKenzie is slated to start in the slot, but the Colts should actively be looking to add competition through the draft. Enter Maryland’s, Rakim Jarrett.
Jarrett lacks the size the Colts want in a receiver, but with two prototype receivers already on the boundary, perhaps Ballard is more willing to switch things up in the slot. Jarrett would give Anthony Richardson a reliable option over the middle and has the traits to take any snap to the house.
Round 5, No. 162 (via BUF): Mohamoud Diabate, LB, Utah
The Colts always land a contributor on day three of the NFL Draft. In this mock draft, Mohamoud Diabate jumps out for Indy. Another former Florida Gator, Diabate transferred to Utah before the 2022 college football season. This transfer allowed the versatile linebacker to make his mark in several ways for the Utes.
Diabate’s athletic prowess and sturdy build allow him to be a needle-mover in the run game. He displays exceptional range while working sideline to sideline, and his form is fairly consistent. Diabate spent time in pass coverage and held up well, but where he truly jumped off the screen was on his pass-rushing reps.
Rarely was Diabate asked to rush the passer in a traditional sense, but as an ambush blitzer, he regularly found his way into the backfield. Sharpening his instincts and football IQ is the last piece of the puzzle, and given the Colts’ track record with developing linebackers, there is no franchise I would trust more with his development.
Round 5, No. 176 (via DAL): Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State
Deuce Vaughn is another prospect who fails to meet the Ballard requirements. However, including his elite special teams potential, Vaughn is worth going against the trend this late in the mock draft. Nyheim Hines is gone, and Jonathan Taylor dealt with nagging injuries all year, so reinforcements are needed.
Vaughn is electric with the ball in his hands. He served as the primary ball carrier for Kansas State the last two seasons and accumulated 2,970 rushing yards in that span, also chipping in 27 touchdowns on the ground. Factor in Vaughn’s 92 receptions since 2021, and you get one of the most productive running backs in recent memory.
His size is the only thing keeping Vaughn from being a surefire day-two selection. In round five of this mock draft, Vaughn’s tumble down the board finally ends. He is another explosive weapon for the team’s rookie signal-caller.
Round 7, No. 221: Nic Jones, CB, Ball State
Ballard typically finds a gem in the secondary on day three. My pick for that player this year is Ball State’s, Nic Jones. The defensive back earned a spot at the Shrine Bowl in February and made the most of that opportunity.
Jones was lauded for his professionalism, coachable demeanor, and for making several plays against highly-touted prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. Jones possesses the confidence to survive in one-on-one situations.
But I like Jones mostly as a slot corner, where he can use his read and react skills and impressive change of direction to keep his assignment in front of him. Jones profiles as a depth piece early in his career, but it would not be a surprise to see him assume the Kenny Moore role if the veteran departs next offseason.
Round 7, No. 236 (via TB): Devonnsha Maxwell, DT, UT-Chattanooga
The Colts scour every program in the country to find draftable prospects. Assuming a scout spent time watching UT-Chattanooga, I cannot think of a more obvious pick in this mock draft. Devonnsha Maxwell embodies what it means to be a Colt.
Maxwell recorded 37.5 sacks during his collegiate career, using a special combination of bend and hand usage to embarrass his assignment. The Colts could always use more pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and given Maxwell’s prowess as a run defender and relentless motor, I’d be shocked if Indy isn’t firmly in on the Chattanooga star.