ESPN Draft Expert Predicts Fate of Colts Top Star

  • ESPN Draft Expert Predicts Fate of Colts Top Star

The Indianapolis Colts move to replace an established star in ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock draft.

It’s officially mock draft season for the NFL, and perhaps no one gets more attention this time of year than ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., among others.

Kiper released his first-round predictions for all 32 teams, including the Indianapolis Colts. With the Colts slated to select at No.15, many point toward cornerback, edge rusher, or wide receiver as the top need for Indy.

While Kiper goes forth with Florida State prospect Keon Coleman as the selection, his reasoning is interesting to say the least.

One of the top edge rushers could be in play here for the Colts, but I’m leaning toward a like-for-like replacement, as Michael Pittman Jr. could get a megadeal in free agency and leave the team. If that happens, there will be a massive need for a big, physical pass-catcher, which describes Coleman’s game.

At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Coleman can box out cornerbacks and go up and get deep balls. He has fantastic body control when the ball is in the air. He had 11 touchdowns after transferring to Florida State from Michigan State. Coleman, Josh Downs and Alec Pierce would form an excellent receiving corps for young quarterback Anthony Richardson in Indianapolis.

In three collegiate seasons with Michigan State and FSU, Coleman caught 115 passes for 658 yards and 19 touchdowns and was able to showcase a lot of NFL-level potential. While Coleman could easily find a place in a Shane Steichen-led offense, the preferred route is to keep the ascending Michael Pittman Jr.

The Colts didn’t extend Pittman during the 2023 season, which sets him up to become a free agent in March. Chris Ballard and the Indy front office may let the star pass-catcher see what else is out there for potential team fits, testing the open market.

While the likelihood of Indy letting Pittman find another team is low, it’s still possible. It’s even more true if another suitor overpays for his services. Currently, per Spotrac, his NFL market value is four-years, $90,867,748. This equates to $22.7 million annually and could be higher upon a contract signing. Comparisons include receivers like Terry McLaurin (Washington Commanders), D.J. Moore (Chicago Bears), D.K. Metcalf (Seattle Seahawks), and A.J. Brown (Philadelphia Eagles).


While there’s a chance the Colts use the No.15 pick on a receiver, they’ll likely do so with Pittman re-signed so they can continue adding youth and talent at wideout for quarterback Anthony Richardson to throw to.

With draft season already in full swing, it’s imperative for Ballard and the Colts to keep Pittman. The last thing they can afford is allowing him to sign with another squad, removing the top target in an offense that needs receiving weapons and lacked them in 2023.


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