Colts' Top 2022 NFL Draft Targets

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2022

Colts' Top 2022 NFL Draft Targets

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    The Indianapolis Colts came close to reaching the playoffs in 2021, but they dropped their last two games to finish 9-8 and without a postseason berth.

    Quarterback Carson Wentz's poor play down the stretch helped seal their fate, and he was jettisoned to the Washington Commanders in an offseason trade. The Colts replaced him with Matt Ryan in a deal with the Atlanta Falcons.

    With Ryan under center, Indy should be right back in the playoff mix in 2022 and better poised to make a run. However, the Colts still have needs to address in the forthcoming draft, which gets underway Thursday, but no first-round pick with which to address them.

    Indianapolis parted with the pick as part of its deal to acquire Wentz last offseason. The Colts do have the 42nd overall selection, though, and stand a good chance of landing an impact player on Day 2.

    Here, you will find three prospects the Colts should target based on factors like proven production, upside, team needs and projected draft positioning.

Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan

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    With Ryan solidifying the quarterback position for at least a year, the Colts' biggest need resides at left tackle. Indianapolis has to keep Ryan upright, and 2021 starter Eric Fisher remains unsigned.

    While landing a starting-caliber left tackle in Round 2 will be difficult, the Colts might luck out and see Central Michigan's Bernhard Raimann fall to them. According to ESPN's Matt Miller, early runs at receiver and quarterback could push linemen down the draft order.

    If Raimann is within a reasonable trade range, the Colts should strike. While the Austrian prospect doesn't have a ton of experience at tackle, he's big (6'6", 303 lbs), athletic and has picked up the position rather quickly.

    Raimann is still developing and is already 24, but he should work his way into the lineup sooner rather than later.

    "Given how rapidly he has improved in such a short amount of time and how skilled he already is, the optimistic view seems like a safe bet," Brandon Thorn of the B/R Scouting Department wrote. "Raimann's athletic ability, body control, balance and competitive toughness make him an immediate starter with the toolkit to improve over time."

    Raimann is the 29th-ranked prospect on the Bleacher Report Scouting Department's big board and may be a target Indy has to move up to get. However, his potential impact would be worth a fair amount of trade capital.

Drake Jackson, Edge, USC

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    Steve Luciano/Associated Press

    If the Colts don't have a sensible left-tackle prospect fall to them on Day 2, they can always turn back to Fisher and address other needs. Edge-rusher would be one of them.

    While Indianapolis did acquire Yannick Ngakoue in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders, they could stand to add more edge help. The Colts only logged 33 sacks in 2021, with seven of those coming from defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.

    Al-Quadin Muhammad, who was second with six sacks, left for the Chicago Bears in free agency. Kemoko Turay, who was third with 5.5 sacks, now plays for the San Francisco 49ers.

    USC's Drake Jackson isn't an elite edge prospect, but the 6'2", 254-pound prospect can contribute early as a situational rusher with upside.

    "Jackson can be an effective No. 2 out of the gate while he works on adding strength and nuance to his game," Derrik Klassen of the B/R Scouting Department wrote.

    A three-year starter for the Trojans, Jackson finished the 2021 season with five sacks, eight tackles for loss and 22 solo stops. The 43rd-ranked prospect on the B/R board wouldn't be an every-down player in Year 1, but he could complement Ngakoue and 2021 first-round pick Kwity Paye as a pressure specialist.

Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan

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    If the Colts hope to get the most out of Ryan, they need to strengthen their receiver depth behind top option Michael Pittman Jr. Pittman had an impressive 1,082-yard campaign, but he was the only Colt to reach 400 receiving yards.

    T.Y. Hilton, who was fourth on the team and third among wideouts with 331 yards, is still a free agent. While the Colts re-signed tight end Mo Alie-Cox in free agency, they have yet to add to the receiver position this offseason.

    Western Michigan's Skyy Moore wouldn't operate as a true No. 2 option in Indianapolis, but he's a savvy, versatile player Ryan could utilize in multiple situations. At 5'9" and 195 pounds, Moore is on the smaller side, but he can play on the perimeter or in the slot.

    "Overall, Moore should be a reliable auxiliary option to start his career, with his ability to operate inside and outside making him very useful," Nate Tice of the B/R Scouting Department wrote. "He is not the most overwhelming athlete, but he truly makes the most of each target."

    Moore finished the 2021 season with 96 receptions, 1,293 yards and 10 touchdowns. His versatility would add a new element to the Colts passing attack, and the 50th-ranked prospect on the B/R board should be available when Indianapolis makes its first selection of 2022.