Round 5, Pick 145 — Gabriel Murphy, EDGE, UCLA
Ideally, the Colts will address the pass-rushing group much earlier in the event. However, in this mock draft, the value simply wasn’t there. Instead, Indy takes a shot on one of the most disruptive, yet raw, edge rushers in the country.
Gabriel Murphy has a knack for finding his way into the opposing backfield, with no shortage of moves at his disposal. His likely inability to serve as an every-down player will push Murphy further down the board than his talent indicates.
Round 6, Pick 185 — Payton Wilson, LB, NC State
Payton Wilson fits the Chris Ballard MO on Day 3: A standout linebacker with tons of experience and the leadership quality to carve out a role in the defense. The NC State star has a laundry list of injuries, which will be the primary cause of his drop down draft boards. Sheerly off talent, Wilson has the traits to be a key cog in the second level of the unit. This late in the mock draft, it is worth betting on his health.
Finishing The Mock Draft With An Ideal Backup Quarterback
Round 7, Pick 226 — Sam Hartman, QB, Notre Dame
The beauty of having a franchise quarterback in tow is the ability to draft another signal-caller without causing a controversy atop the depth chart. I know many will want a backup that plays a similar style to Richardson, but I see Sam Hartman, the polar opposite, as the ideal candidate for the QB2 gig.
There’s a chance Gardner Minshew will retain his spot as the primary backup to Richardson in 2024, but that is no guarantee. I’d prefer the Colts draft Hartman, a long-time starter in college, and plug him into the system. His play style mirrors Minshew’s more than Richardson's, but Hartman can give you a higher upside option in the event of another injury to the team’s star behind center.