SPECIAL COVERAGE: 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500

With NFL Draft nearing, mocks readjusting; Terry McLaurin to Colts at 26?

Terry McLaurin #83 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates after winning the Big Ten Championship against the Northwestern Wildcats at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 1, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – It’s right there, looming, keeping the NFL right smack dab in the forefront.

The Draft. It’s less than a month away – April 25-27 – and that means it’s time to check in on the various mock drafts that attempt to align this player with that team. For whatever reason, many mock drafts have rearranged their slotting process and re-aligned another player with that team.

Go figure.

One interesting adjustment comes from ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., who’s been doing this for decades and whose name is forever ingrained in Indianapolis Colts’ lore thanks to Bill Tobin, the team’s protective president in 1994.

Who in the hell is Mel Kiper? My neighbor has more credentials than Mel Kiper, and my neighbor’s a postman.

Priceless.

But we regress.

Kiper’s latest mock draft still has the Colts addressing a perceived need at wide receiver, but with a different prospect. Previously, he slotted Ole Miss’ A.J. Brown to Indy. Now, it’s Ohio State’s Terry McLaurin.

McLaurin should be a familiar name. He’s the 2013 Indiana Mr. Football from Cathedral. And he’s a 6-1, 205-pound Buckeye who caught the eye of pro scouts as a senior by averaging 20 yards with 11 touchdowns on 35 receptions. McLaurin then boosted his draft stock by covering the 40-yard dash in a crisp 4.35 at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Here’s where we remind you Chris Ballard possesses nine picks in the draft, including four of the first 89. The Colts’ draft bounty: round 1 (26 overall), round 2 (34, from trade with Jets), round 2 (59), round 3 (89), round 4 (129), round 4 (135, compensatory pick), round 5 (164), round 6 (199) and round 7 (240).

The mock draft(s) update:

MEL KIPER Jr., ESPN

Selection: Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State

Previous selection: A.J. Brown, WR, Mississippi

Comment: There are several wide receivers extremely close on my board, all with late Day 1 or early Day 2 grades. That includes Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown, who hasn’t been able to work out for teams because of a foot injury, and Ole Miss’ A.J. Brown, whom I had here in my Mock Draft 2.0. It also includes McLaurin, a true speed threat who averaged 20.0 yards per catch last season. The 6-foot, 208-pound wideout ran a blazing 4.35 40 at the combine. Andrew Luck needs better weapons at wideout, even after Indy added Devin Funchess in free agency.

TODD McSHAY, ESPN

Selection: Taylor Rapp, S. Washington

Previous selection: Rapp.

Comment: With a pretty good group of safeties out there on the free-agent market, the Colts could opt to address their need there. But with Matt Eberflus’ 4-3 featuring under Cover 2 and Tampa 2 components, Indy will be looking for speed and versatility. Rapp checks those boxes.

CHARLES DAVIS, NFL.com

Selection: D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi

Previous selection: Metcalf.

Comment: A scary combination of size, speed and production when healthy. With WR T.Y. Hilton and TE Eric Ebron occupying attention from defenses, there will be ample opportunity for Metcalf to bully secondaries.

CHAD REUTER, NFL.com

Selection: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Previous selection: Lawrence.

Comment: GM Chris Ballard wants to upgrade his team’s defensive line. Lawrence can be a dominant force when rested and ready to go.

BUCKY BROOKS, NFL.com

Selection: Johnathan Abrams, S, Mississippi State

Previous selection: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

Comment: Abrams is the enforcer the Colts need to complement ballhawk Malik Hooker. The Mississippi State star is an exceptional run defender with the toughness and power to patrol the middle of the field.

PETER SCHRAGER, NFL.com

Selection: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Previous selection: Josh Allen, RB, Alabama

Comment: GM Chris Ballard has had the golden touch over the past 12 months, nailing last year’s draft perhaps like no other GM in the league. Lawrence was one of the highest-ranked high school prospects in recent memory, and he delivered at Clemson He’s massive (350 pounds), talented and well-liked. Lawrence missed the team’s two postseason games this year because of a failed test for a performance-enhancing substance, but his coaches vouch for him and scream it from the mountaintops.

RYAN WILSON, CBS Sports

Selection: Jerry Tillery, DL, Notre Dame

Previous selection: Tillery

Comment: We love this pick. Matt Eberflus transformed the Colts into a good defense in 2018. To go from good to great, Indy needs to add a few more pieces. Tillery was dominate at times last season and if he can play with more consistency he could end up being one of the biggest surprises of this class.

DANE BRUGLER, The Athletic

Selection: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

Previous selection: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

Comment: If a cornerback is shorter and slower than ideal, he needs top-tier instincts, ball skills and technique to mask his lack of elite physical traits – and Murphy does. His football IQ and competitiveness pop off the screen, projecting best in a zone-heavy scheme like what Matt Eberflus likes to do in Indianapolis.

ERIC EDHOLM, Yahoo Sports

Selection: Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

Comment: GM Chris Ballard has said he wants Clayton Geathers back, and that might be true. But Ballard might fall in love with Abram during the pre-draft run-up, and opt to take a perfect player and leader for this emerging team. Abram has impressed at every stage to this point and showed enough athleticism to warrant first-round merit. Abram’s hitting and ferocious style will hearken back to the Bob Sanders days and it could help keep Malik Hooker in more of a playmaking, centerfield role.

VINNIE IYER, Sporting News

Selection: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Previous selection: Lawrence

Comment: The Colts can think about best player here to add beef to their defensive front under Matt Eberflus. Lawrence is a textbook inside run-stuffer with ideal size (6-4, 342 pounds).

MICHAEL MIDDLEHURST-SCHWARTZ, USA Today

Selection: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Comment: After Indianapolis’ offensive line made significant strides last season, Chris Ballard could look for similar transformation from a defensive front that already added former Chiefs pass rusher Justin Houston. The 6-4, 342-pound Lawrence can do more than clog the middle, and teams might be hard-pressed to answer for his power and athleticism.

STEVE PALAZZOLO, Pro Football Focus

Selection: Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State

Comment: Layne may not be a first-round prospect for everyone, but his length and feel for zone coverages make him an excellent fit for the Colts’ defensive scheme. He graded at an impressive 89.5 in coverage last season.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.

Listen to the weekly Colts Bluezone Podcast to hear Chappell and the gang give an in-depth breakdown on everything Colts.

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