Reed: Realistically, this pick came down to how much and what kind of risk the Colts are willing to take with a second-round pick. They could go for an off-field risk and take OLB Tim Williams or RB Joe Mixon, both great values at this point in the draft at positions of need, or an injury risk in CB Sidney Jones. As Stampede Blue writer Matt Danely pointed out in his article, Four Draft Prospects Who Won’t be on the Colts Board, it’s unlikely either Williams or Mixon are selected by the Colts. I doubt Chris Ballard risks taking Williams after multiple failed drug tests at Alabama. I doubt Ballard risks the PR backlash of taking Mixon.
The Sidney Jones situation is different. As we all know, Jones tore his Achilles and requires at least another four to five months of rehab. However, he didn’t have any injury concerns during his lengthy career at Washington. Additionally, an Achilles injury is not the career ender it once was. Players like Terrell Suggs and Steve Smith both came back from it and produced at a high level. In general, major injuries haven’t deterred teams from taking high-quality players early.
J.J.’s little brother has seen his projection rise to Round 1. T.J. Watt, who is more of a second- or third-round talent than worthy of a top-30 draft choice, likely won’t go as high as current projections have him.
He tested well and is more than just a high-motor edge player, but Watt’s projection is situational and upside-driven. If he gets drafted in the first round, it’ll quickly become clear he was a reach.
The complete opposite of McDowell, Barnett does not offer great length, athletic upside or projection, but he is about as reliable character- and work ethic-wise as one can ask for in a prospect.
That said, drafting a prospect without great athletic upside in Round 1 is a trap. Barnett’s projection is reliant on the fact that he’s a snap anticipator. His rush moves that were successful in college might not work consistently in the NFL.