The Indianapolis Colts are scheduled to be on the clock with the 24th overall selection in tonight’s NFL draft. Everything else, as is often said in this process, is guesswork. It’s quite possible Colts general manager Ryan Grigson decides to trade down to gain a pick because the team doesn’t have one in the second and fifth rounds. But based on recent history with some decent players being available at 24, we’ll throw three names out there. Colleague Mike Chappell is doing the same with three other names. When offering such predictions, it’s usually with the Murphy’s Law caveat: Because they got mentioned, that likely means they won’t end up in Indy. Not that these players aren’t mentioned in mock drafts, they’re on every one, but the board never seems to work the way we envision. Expect the unexpected, so to speak. Anyway, here are my three players to keep in mind: ■ DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson — WR Reggie Wayne has two years remaining on his contract and free-agent addition Darrius Heyward-Bey was signed to a one-year deal for $3 million. So a wide receiver would make sense, even if that crowds the mix with emerging second-year wideout T.Y. Hilton proving he can make plays. That’s a nice problem to have for one year, if that’s the case. At 6-1 and 214, Hopkins is deceptively fast (the 4.57 40 is misleading) with the ability to run precise routes and get off the snap quickly. He definitely knows how to get to the end zone. The playmaker had an ACC-record 18 TD catches last season. ■ Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M — The 6-4, 250-pound prospect has played in a 3-4 and 4-3 so he can put with his hand down or stand up from either side of the field. He’s known for making impact plays as a pass rusher. Twenty-one of 85 tackles were for loss, including 121/2 sacks in his junior season. And his 20-year-old body has room to grow, which should mean more muscle and growing strength to get off NFL blocks. The Colts still have Pro Bowl OLB Robert Mathis to bring edge pressure for sacks. They signed OLB Erik Walden from Green Bay, where he was responsible against the run but sack totals weren’t high. The Colts might covet a guy who can get to the quarterback, especially in obvious third-and-long situations. ■ Datone Jones, DE, UCLA — Several mock drafts have slotted him for the Colts, but the question will be if he fits the OLB M.O. because he’s 6-4 and 283 pounds, the latter number a bit heavy for an edge rusher although his 4.7 40 time was faster than Moore’s 4.9. That says the big man can move. He came on this past season with 171/2 of 57 tackles for loss, six of them sacks. He’s said to have a great burst off the line, but he emerged after one impressive season in college as a senior. Most “mocks” have him as a late first-round or early second-round selection.
3 possible Indianapolis Colts picks
Indianapolis Star | Apr 25