After one season with the Indianapolis Colts, Philip Rivers has retired, so the team replaces their quarterback immediately in this 7-round 2021 NFL mock draft.
The Indianapolis Colts went all-in on the 2020 season by signing veteran quarterback Philip Rivers. And while one of the best dadgum signal-callers of the last 20 years had his ups and downs, he led the team back to the playoffs before unfortunately being eliminated in a close Wild Card Game against the Bills. Now the Colts will need to find another quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft.
On Wednesday, Rivers announced his retirement after 17 NFL seasons. While the Colts still have Jacoby Brissett and 2020 fourth-round pick Jacob Eason on the roster, the belief is that they would like more stability at the position for the long term.
So while free agency is an option for the team to find another option at quarterback, their best bet is to find a new man through the draft. And replacing Rivers is the primary goal of this 7-round 2021 NFL mock draft, compiled courtesy of The Draft Network mock draft machine.
Rivers replaced in Indianapolis Colts 7-round 2021 NFL mock draft
QB, Crimson Tide
Fresh off of leading Alabama to a National Championship, Mac Jones can step in and be the next quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts.
Jones isn’t going to wow anyone with his arm strength, athleticism or overall physical tools. Having said that, the Crimson Tide standout and Heisman finalist thrived for Alabama thanks to his ability to anticipate his pass-catchers getting open and with an extremely accurate deep ball, perhaps the best in the 2021 NFL Draft class.
Indianapolis has proven the ability to adapt their offense to their quarterback’s strengths under Frank Reich and Jones’ strengths are obvious. Even if he needs a year to develop after starting for just one year at Alabama, the Colts can roll out Brissett for 2021 before handing the keys over to Jones to lead the franchise into the future.
The Colts secondary still needs some depth as they saw some veterans perhaps play over their heads in the 2020 season, in addition to still relying on some young players to take steps forward. Paulson Adebo might have his best path to NFL success in Indianapolis. While not an elite athlete, he has good traits and is quite agile and fluid when in coverage. He’s also elite when getting around the ball to make plays. Putting him in the diverse Indy defense could allow him to best find success at the next level.
OT, Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis has constructed not only one of the best starting offensive lines in the league but also has developed players extremely well. So as they may be looking to replace veteran Anthony Castonzo amid retirement considerations of his own, they should feel confident in what they could do with Spencer Brown.
Brown’s athletic profile may not translate totally to the NFL as it did playing at the FCS level in college but the Northern Iowa product has the technical tools and build for that not to matter. Getting into the Colts locker room, he has the goods to develop into another stud in the trenches.
EDGE, Nittany Lions
For as good as the Colts defense was this past season, the edge rusher spots don’t have any bonafide studs. That’s not a death sentence but it does require having a number of players who can be effective off the edge being on the roster, which is why Shaka Toney is an obvious pick and great value at this spot.
The Penn State EDGE is incredibly explosive and bendy around the end and could be a terrific situational pass-rusher. Some weight could be added to make him more of an every-down player but, if it sacrifices his physical gifts as a rusher, the team may be better off leaving him as a rotational passing-down option.
WR, Fighting Illini
Even after taking Michael Pittman Jr. in the second round of last year’s draft, the wide receiver room could still use some work for the Colts. T.Y. Hilton has struggled to stay healthy, as has Parris Campbell. Thus, they need players who can provide quality reps if injuries crop up again.
Josh Imatorbhebhe is a nicely built receiver out of Illinois, measuring in at 6-2, 215 pounds. He has a little bit of juice to his game and showed that as a productive threat in the Fighting Illini offense, even with subpar quarterback play. Because of that latter part, he may have untapped potential that could be unlocked in the NFL.
Some depth could be used on the interior of the defensive line and getting a player with the upside of Naquan Jones in the sixth round is an absolute steal. Jones is a massive human being at 6-4, 323 pounds and can move well for a player his size while also playing with power. He needs to be coached up in terms of his pass-rushing technique and generally maximizing his physical gifts. But if Indianapolis can unlock his potential, this could be a home-run late-round selection.
Dipping back into the wide receiver well because depth is a sore concern for the Colts roster right now, they get a player who can diversify the pass-catcher group in Trevon Grimes.
Grimes is another big-bodied wideout at 6-4, 215 pounds who is capable of making plays in traffic. He doesn’t possess great speed and is not overly athletic but his size and ball skills still make him difficult to defend in one-on-one man coverage. He could be an asset if used wisely, which the Colts are savants at accomplishing.