Indianapolis Colts: Grading every 2020 NFL Draft pick

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(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Round 3, Pick 85: Julian Blackmon, S, Utah

Grade: D

There was a time when Chris Ballard could do no wrong — like one pick ago. Well, this draft pick doesn’t hit the same. The only reason why this didn’t get an F was that the Colts needed some help in the secondary. And the Colts traded down for a guy who has some potential, so they got a pass.

The problem is, Julian Blackmon isn’t going to help them any time soon. With corners like Cameron Dantzler, Darnay Holmes and edge rushers Alex Highsmith and Jonathan Greenard available, they could have gotten an immediate return.

In the long-term, Blackmon could see playing big nickel or safety. He moved from corner to safety due to his lackluster recognition skills and lack of physicality. However, he showed improved instincts at safety and deep range. Unfortunately, against ball carriers, he took questionable angles, a huge red flag for a safety. He lacks recovery speed but he’s displayed good range and the ability to cover underneath routes.

This a project pick but the Colts are in win-now mode. This pick doesn’t help their pass defense at all in 2020. With Malik Hooker’s contract expiring at the end of the 2020 season, this appears to be a backup plan. With his ball skills and upside, this could pay off in the long run.

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