The 2017 season is in the books and the Indianapolis Colts roster looked much different than it did a season ago, with countless rookie contributors. Today, we’ll be grading the Colts 2017 draft class and seeing how the Colts are set up for the future.
First Round, Pick 15: Malik Hooker – Free Safety; Grade – A-
Malik Hooker should not have been a Colt. He fell in the draft due to injury concerns, but he made the teams that passed on him look foolish with a strong but too short 2017. In only seven games, he totaled three interceptions, which would ultimately tie for the team lead along with Rashaan Melvin. Hooker will be a top tier center field safety by the time his rookie contract is up and will be leading the Colts secondary for a long time. The only thing that kept his grade from being higher was his injury-shortened season.
Second Round, Pick 46: Quincy Wilson – Cornerback; Grade – C
Quincy Wilson was put in the doghouse early in the season, and he would still be in it if it weren’t for unfortunate injuries sustained by the rest of the secondary. In his short, he played well enough to be the Colts second best corner behind the aforementioned Melvin. With an increased role moving forward, Wilson should have no issue becoming the perfect sidekick compliment to Melvin if he continues to develop.
Third Round, Pick 80: Tarell Basham – Defensive End; Grade – D+
Basham was always more of a defensive end than an outside linebacker in college, so, moving forward, it will be interesting to see if the Colts shift to a 4-3, which would allow him to have more success. He was initially viewed as a success when drafted because of his pass rush background, but he was never able to establish a regular rotation role and finished with only two sacks. His main struggles this season were in run defense, which he will have to work on to make this line even more stout with the other players that are already in place.
Fourth Round, Pick 137: Zach Banner – Offensive Tackle; Grade – F
Banner was drafted and would have been a solid depth piece, especially considering the severe injury issues the Colts dealt with, but he was released on final roster cuts before being claimed by the Cleveland Browns.
Fourth Round, Pick 143: Marlon Mack – Running Back; Grade – C
Mack flashed big-play ability early in the season and had fans clamoring for him to start over veteran Frank Gore, however, Chuck Pagano stood by Gore, which looked likes the right decision now as Gore finished ranked 19th per Pro Football Focus and Mack was 36th. He looks like a slightly less powerful version of New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara at this point, which would be great for the Colts moving forward. Gore may be back next season, which would allow Mack even more time to develop.
Fourth Round, Pick 144: Grover Stewart – Defensive Tackle; Grade – D-
Stewart was active for 15 out of 16 games this season, but he never made a consistent mark, as he only registered 23 total tackles on the season. With stout defensive tackles, such as Henry Anderson and Johnathan Hankins in front of him, he’ll need to improve in all aspects to garner more playing time.
Fifth Round, Pick 158: Nate Hairston – Cornerback; Grade – D
Hairston was a player that struggled in both pass coverage and run defense, but he showed potential out of the slot due to his pass rushing abilities. Corner blitzes can be game changing if the corner knows what they’re doing and Hairston may be that. If he is able to improve his other areas, he could fit in well with those ahead of him.
Fifth Round, Pick 161: Anthony Walker – Linebacker; Grade – D
Despite extremely poor play out of Antonio Morrison, Walker only registered 115 total snaps on the season. His main strength was in run defense, which was also Morrison’s major weakness. It will be very surprising to see Morrison back next season, which leaves snaps up for grabs, but Walker will need to improve in pass coverage to justify getting those snaps.
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