Sunday, January 15, 2023

Indianapolis Colts 2023 NFL Mock Draft Roundup 3.0

Throughout the year and leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft, we will update our Indianapolis Colts Mock Draft Roundup showing picks for the Indianapolis Colts from several prominent sites and draft analysts.

The following are picks in recent mock drafts for the Colts:

CBS Sports - Stackpole (1/13)

4. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

The Colts have swung and missed (and missed again, and missed once more) at quarterback since Andrew Luck shockingly retired right before the 2019 season. After trying their luck with veterans via free agency, they're now picking high enough in the draft where it would be surprising if they didn't select a signal-caller. C.J. Stroud showed in the College Football Playoff semifinals that he's not just a pocket passer, beating the nation's best defense with his legs time and time again as he firmly established himself in the QB1 conversation.

San Diego Union Tribune - Brown (1/12)

4. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

GM Chris Ballard has tried to address the quarterback position through the trade market. There will be some options in free agency, but he'll likely have to draft one regardless. Despite dealing with several injuries at wide receiver, Stroud didn't miss a beat this season — he was second in touchdown passes (41) and QBR (88.9) in 2022 — and nearly beat the defending national champions with 348 yards and four TDs, while showcasing his scrambling ability (he's a traditional pocket passer).

NBC Sports Chicago - Morgan (1/12)

4. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

As it turned out, the Buckeyes came extremely close to dethroning Georgia in last week's Peach Bowl semi-final playoff game (42-41). Throughout the contest, Stroud played with confidence and competence, completing 67.6% of his passes for 348 yards and four scores. Stroud passed well on roll outs; threw comfortably from the pocket; maneuvered purposefully under pressure and demonstrated a willingness to run with toughness. Essentially, Stroud performed like a future franchise quarterback and potential top-five draft prospect.

Yahoo! Sports - McDonald (1/11)

4. Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

This is probably a bit high for Levis considering what he accomplished this past season, but the NFL is going to be high on him once draft season really starts. He has the physical upside to be a long-term starter, which the Colts desperately need.

Walter Football (1/11)

4. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

The Colts need to find a permanent solution at quarterback, rather than play musical chairs at the position. In this scenario, the Colts can trade up with the Bears to leapfrog the divisional rival Texans to obtain the quarterback they want in this class.

Bryce Young has size issues - he's 5-11 - but he has drawn comparisons to Kyler Murray.

CBS Sports - Trapasso (1/11)

TRADE - 1. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

I'm kicking off the first stage of draft season with a trade involving the No. 1 overall pick. Bears GM Chris Ballard can't wait around anymore. I don't think Colts owner Jim Irsay wants another experience with a veteran passer either. Colts move up to get an athletic, super-poised passer in Young.

USA Today - MMS (1/10)

4. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

A disastrous season bookended by humiliating results against the Texans looks like it could prompt the Colts to do what Chris Ballard has avoided for so long: take a swing on a young quarterback. Stroud might give an impatient group a shot at a relatively smooth transition, as the two-time Heisman Trophy finalist is a sharp distributor who repeatedly finds targets in favorable positions. Of course, even with Jonathan Taylor in tow, Stroud will have to demonstrate composure in the face of chaos early on, as the rest of the Colts' offense is in rough shape.

Bleacher Report (1/9)

4. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Murphy's Law went into action for the Indianapolis Colts during the 2022 campaign. What could go wrong certainly did and snowballed from that point forward.

The organization dealt with a mid-season firing of its offensive coordinator, then its head coach. A meddling owner demanded the team's veteran quarterback be benched. He then hired an unproven entity in the coaching ranks to serve as the interim boss. The team spiraled into the abyss and won only four games after being projected as the favorite to win the AFC South.

The Colts have hit rock bottom, and finding a young franchise quarterback to develop is the only solution to its problems after cycling through Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, Sam Ehlinger and Nick Foles over the past few seasons.

Fortunately, the team owns a top-four pick to make that wish a reality. In this instance, Ohio State's C.J. Stroud provides the perfect elixir to cure most of the organization's ills.

"Stroud is an excellent on-schedule passer," Klassen said. "He scans the field effectively, plays within the rhythm of the offense, and rarely puts the ball in harm's way. Ohio State's offense makes that easier than most, but he still showed a clear command for the scheme.

"The two-time Big Ten Conference Offensive Player of the Year also has a very good arm when he's set. Far-hash throws breaking to the sideline are no problem, and he's got just the right blend of velocity and touch to control his ball placement over the middle at a high level.

"Stroud's biggest area for improvement is how he operates off-schedule and in tight pockets, though he started to answer those questions against the Georgia Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff. Stroud can get a bit finicky in cluttered pockets and conservative when working on the move. Hopefully, the Colts sort out their offensive line situation to protect him better in 2023."

The 33rd Team (1/9)

4. Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

The Colts moved up one spot because of their Week 18 loss, and they might consider moving all the way up to the top spot to secure their QB of the future. But with no trades in this mock draft, the Colts sit at four to select Will Levis, who could be a good fit in Indy. He passed for more than 5,200 yards the past two seasons after transferring from Penn State. His yards per attempt increased to 8.5 this season. He has 33 TD passes but 23 interceptions at Kentucky.

PFF - Renner (1/9)

TRADE - 1. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

The Chicago Bears are sitting on a golden ticket. With a quarterback talent like Young in this class, the No. 1 overall pick is going to be in high demand. The Colts make too much sense to be the team willing to offer a sweetheart deal to the Bears because a) it would still allow the Bears to be in striking distance for one of the two blue-chip defensive line prospects in the class, and b) the Colts are desperate for a franchise quarterback after years of one-season rentals at the position.

MORE TEAMS: All NFL Team Mock Draft Roundups

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