It’s widely expected the Colts will select a quarterback at the top of this year’s NFL Draft, whether that’s by staying put at No. 4, attempting a trade up or even moving down a few spots. But after a 4-12-1 season, it’s obvious that Indianapolis needs premium talents across its roster — at receiver, cornerback, linebacker and on the offensive line.
So which non-quarterback options should the Colts be considering in the early rounds of the draft?
Here are eight names to watch for Indianapolis:
O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida
Measurables: 6-5, 338
2022 stats (11 games): 11 starts at right guard
Right guard is the spot of biggest concern on the Colts’ offensive line, which struggled heavily last season. Torrence, who played his senior season at Florida after beginning his career at Louisiana, is a plug-and-play starter there.
Indianapolis’ pass protection needs significant improvement, as the team gave up 60 sacks last season, second-most in the NFL. Torrence didn’t give up a sack in his college career.
Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss
Measurables: 6-2, 220
2022 stats (13 games): 51 receptions ot 861 yards, 5 TDs
After losing Parris Campbell in free agency, Mingo could grow into the No. 3 wide receiver role alongside Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce.
Mingo is a physical wideout with the versatility to play the slot, which would complement Pittman and Pierce, both of whom typically play on the outside. He’d also be a plus blocker in an offense that runs through star running back Jonathan Taylor. More than 41 percent of Mingo’s snaps in 2022 at Ole Miss were in the slot or inline, according to Pro Football Focus.
Josh Downs, WR, UNC
Measurables: 5-9, 171
2022 stats (11 games): 94 receptions for 1,029 yards, 11 TDs
Downs is another slot receiver option. He’s much smaller than Mingo, but was the more productive player in college.
A crisp route runner, Downs had 202 receptions for 2,483 yards and 22 touchdowns in three seasons at North Carolina. He could have an impact on Day 1 in Indianapolis.
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Steve Avila, G, TCU
Measurables: 6-3, 332
2022 stats (15 games): 15 starts at left guard
Like Torrence, Avila is likely a Day 1 starter at guard. He too is a plus pass blocker, as he didn’t give up a sack in his final season with the Horned Frogs.
Avila’s versatility would also bring tremendous value to the Colts. He’s started games at four different spots in college: both guard spots, center and right tackle.
Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
Measurables: 6-0, 197
2022 stats (12 games): 38 tackles, 8 PBUs, 1 INT
After trading Stephon GIlmore earlier in the offseason, the Colts need a long-term starting cornerback.
Banks has the ideal size, athleticism and physicality to assume the role. He’s plenty experienced too, as he was a four-year starter at Maryland. Banks tested incredibly well at the combine, finishing first among cornerbacks in the vertical leap (42 inches), second in the broad jump (11’4″) and third in the 40-yard dash (4.35 seconds).
Matthew Bergeron, OT, Syracuse
Measurables: 6-5, 318
2022 stats (11 games): 11 starts at left tackle
With 36 college starts at offensive tackle, Bergeron would give Indianapolis a swing tackle option. He could compete with Bernard Raimann at left tackle and also be a long-term option at right tackle to replace Braden Smith, who’s a cap casualty candidate after the 2023 season.
Some NFL observers believe Bergeron is a better guard in the pros, which would add to his value to the Colts.
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Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
Measurables: 6-2, 235
2022 stats (12 games): 72 tackles (four for loss), 2.5 sacks, 3 PBUs, 2 FF
With Bobby Okereke’s departure in free agency and All-Pro Shaquille Leonard’s back issues since the 2021 offseason, the Colts should prioritize taking a linebacker early in the draft.
Simpson needs development, but he’s a physical linebacker with impressive athleticism. He ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at the combine, second among linebackers.
Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State
Measurables: 6-3, 198
2022 stats (14 games): 45 tackle (3.5 for loss), 8 PBUs, 4 INTs
Another corner option for the Colts.
An Indianapolis native, Brents possesses great size and length for the position, traits that would give him a chance to be a shutdown No. 1 cornerback for his hometown team. But his top-end speed isn’t like some of the others at his position in this draft (he ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash at the combine). Some draft pundits believe he may be best suited at safety.
Ben Arthur is the AFC South reporter for FOX Sports. He previously worked for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Network, where he was the Titans beat writer for a year and a half. He covered the Seattle Seahawks for SeattlePI.com for three seasons (2018-20) prior to moving to Tennessee. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.
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