January 31, 2023

Mock Draft Monday, our weekly round-up of expert predictions on who the Colts will pick in the NFL Draft, returns this week for 2023, focusing on quarterbacks as well as some Day 2 picks. Check it out below. JJ Stankevitz

Earlier this month, Colts general manager Chris Ballard was asked if he would be “surprised” if he and his scouting department didn’t pick a team’s #4 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

“This is the fourth pick of the draft. We deserve it,” Ballard said. “I don’t like earning it, but we did it. I’ve said this before and I think history proves me right, I can take one. We can take one as an organization and they’ll all celebrate and say, ‘We’ve got the savior for the Colts.’ And if he doesn’t play well, ‘Why did you take that guy?’ You must be right. We must be right. We understand the scale of where we are in the draft and we understand the importance of the position. Getting one that you can actually win with and that is believed to be right is the most important thing. Not whether we take one or not – right.”

As the Colts remain focused on hiring a head coach, draft evaluation season is fast approaching. Senior Bowl practice will begin next week in Mobile, Alabama, and other showcase games for draft prospects will be instrumental in building the Colts’ draft board. From there, the 2023 NFL Combine kicks off in Indianapolis on February 28, and March and April bring pro days and Top 30 visits before the Colts take on the night of April 27 in Kansas City.

But we already have many mock drafts to sift through before this process begins in earnest. Here’s our first look at who various pundits are predicting for the Colts in the 2023 NFL Draft:

—— Selection (No. 4 overall): CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Expert: Bucky Brooks, NFL.com

Mock Draft Date: January 23 (links)

Analysis: “After driving through a bevy of experienced signal callers, it’s time for the Colts to find a young quarterback to build around.”

—— Selection (No. 4 overall): CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Expert: Vinnie Iyer, The Sports News

Mock Draft Date: January 23 (links)

Analysis: “The Colts’ reward for an absolute QB mayhem between Matt Ryan, Nick Foles and Sam Ehlinger in the last abbreviated season under Frank Reich is bad enough to position themselves to stop the recycling of veteran QBs. You can land Stroud, a smart pocket passer with the right accuracy and intangibles to thrive as a true delayed franchise replacement for Andrew Luck.”

—— Selection (No. 4 overall): CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Expert: Natalie Miller, cable pull

Mock Draft Date: January 21 (link)

Analysis: “Another top-five quarterback comes off the board in Stroud, who has been one of the most prolific passers in the country over the past two seasons. He will be a perfect fit in Indianapolis with a team that has been playing chairs at the quarterback position since Andrew Luck retired. Stroud could bring the stability this team needs to succeed in the playoffs with a full roster as his accuracy and experience make him ready from the start.

—— Pick (#1 overall, trading Chicago Bears): CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Expert: James Fragoza, Pro Football Network

Mock Draft Date: January 21 (link)

Analysis: “I’m not a bettor, but if I were I’d bet a pretty dime on the bears trading from the #1 overall pick. Bryce Young is the only surefire QB prospect in the class, and there are a plethora of teams who would give anything to secure the rights to draft him.

In this mock draft, they happen to be the Colts, desperate for a new face to the franchise. If Young had the same physical build as Trevor Lawrence, we would be talking about her in the same light.”

—— Selection (No. 4 overall): Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Expert: Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com

Mock Draft Date: January 20 (links)

Analysis: “The tape for Levis is a rollercoaster ride. The heavily armed passer displayed brilliant flashes and an ability to avoid and create pressure; he also showed a penchant for turning the ball (23 picks in his last two seasons). Colts-GM Chris Ballard has always valued features and benefits, so this choice just feels like a good gamble for Indianapolis.”

—— Selection (No. 4 overall): CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Selection (No. 35 overall): Mekhi Garner, CB, LSU

Selection (No. 80 overall): Deuce Vaughn, RB, State of Kansas

Expert: Charlie Campbell, WalterFootball.com

Mock Draft Date: January 20 (links)

Analysis: “The Colts would be lucky if Stroud made it to the #4 spot in the 2023 NFL draft, so they may need to move up if they want a top two quarterback. Obviously, Indianapolis needs a franchise quarterback and long-term starter. The Bears and Cardinals are definitely trade-down candidates for the Colts.

—— Pick (No. 1 overall, traded to Chicago Bears): Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Expert: Luke Easterling, cable pull

Mock Draft Date: January 19 (link)

Analysis: “Don’t say it won’t happen because we’ve seen it far too many times. I’m not convinced of Levis, but it won’t surprise me when a team like the Colts fall in love with his physical tools, toughness and potential, looking past the flaws and inconsistencies in his game. Indy would have to give the Bears a massive boost to get up here, but to skip a division rival who also needs a quarterback, they might just be ready. “

—— Pick (No. 1 overall, traded to Chicago Bears): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Expert: Josh Edwards, CBS Sports

Mock Draft Date: January 19 (link)

Analysis: “Rather than stay there and hope their quarterback of choice drops 4th overall, the Colts are getting aggressive and trading up to secure Young at 1st overall.”

—— Pick (No. 1 overall, traded for Chicago Bears): CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Expert: Doug Farrar, landing wire

Mock Draft Date: January 19 (link)

Analysis: “In this mock draft, Stroud doesn’t just skip Young — the Indianapolis Colts trade their fourth and 35th picks in the 2023 draft, as well as their first-round pick in the 2024 draft, to move up to first overall and take Stroud, the Chicago Bears to the get fourth place.”

—— Selection (No. 4 overall): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Expert: Chris Traposso, CBS Sports

Mock Draft Date: January 18 (links)

Analysis: “Young isn’t a prototypical quarterback, but it’s about time the Colts tried an unconventional quarterback. Young’s ability to improvise and composure are his greatest strengths.”

—— Pick (#1 overall, trading Chicago Bears): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Expert: Dane Brugler, The Athletic

Mock Draft Date: January 17 (links)

Analysis: “This exchange makes sense for both sides. The Colts have a clear need for quarterbacks, with an owner and general manager motivated to get it right. Colts GM Chris Ballard, who was previously a scout in Chicago, is very familiar with Bears GM Ryan Poles – the two worked together in the Chiefs’ front office for four years. This was the third time in the past 25 years that the Colts had held the No. 1 spot. The other two times went well: Peyton Manning and Andreas Glück.

Bryce Young is a total outlier from a size standpoint and would be a little out of character for Ballard, but Young’s instinct, vision and accuracy as a passer are qualities worth betting on in this position. It won’t be a driving force for a trade, but it would be an added benefit to catch Young ahead of divisional opponent Houston.”

—— Selection (No. 4 overall): Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Expert: Bryan Fischer, Athlon Sports

Mock Draft Date: January 17 (links)

Analysis: “The Texans’ loss is the Colts’ gain as the franchise finally brings some quarterback stability to the Heisman Trophy winner. Young’s height will knock a lot out, but he could be a massive upgrade in Indy right away.”

—— Pick (#1 overall, trading Chicago Bears): Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Expert: Ian Cummings, Pro Football Network

Mock Draft Date: January 17 (links)

Analysis: “Every team is going to have their ‘favorite’ quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft, and it just feels like Will Levis is going to be the Colts’ guy — or at least at the top of their list.” He’s the prototype QB that Jim Irsay and Chris Ballard coveted.

Whether they can correct his mistakes is another story, but Levis has the high-level talent worth counting on. However, with the Texans sitting second overall, the Colts are paying a heavy price.”

—— Pick (#2 overall, trading Chicago Bears over Houston Texans): Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Expert: 33rd Crew Headquarters

Mock Draft Date: January 17 (links)

Analysis: “Chicago continues to build its stash of draft capital by dragging lower, and Indianapolis is finally investing in a rookie quarterback after being burned by the expensive experiments of Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan over the past two years.”

—— Pick (#1 overall, trading Chicago Bears): Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Expert: Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports

Mock Draft Date: January 16 (links)

Analysis: “Levis, who is definitely looking good, has been plagued with injuries and poor play all autumn. Still, NFL teams love how he’s taking it to the next level, but he’ll be a controversial topic of conversation for the next six months. Either way, if owner Jim Irsay thinks Levis is the guy to turn things around in Indy, it’s easy to imagine him sparing no expense in bringing him in.”

—— Selection (No. 4 overall): CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Selection (No. 35 overall): Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee

Selection (No. 80 overall): Rashad Torrence, S, Florida

Expert: Tankathon.com staff

Mock Draft Date: January 16 (links)

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