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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Kevin Hickey

Colts have drafted 26 Senior Bowl prospects since 2017

The Senior Bowl is an offseason mile-marker for every team in the NFL, signifying the official start of draft season. However, the Indianapolis Colts put a large significance on the week in Mobile, Alabama.

General manager Chris Ballard hasn’t been shy about his love affair with the Senior Bowl, often citing it as an event to find some diamonds in the rough. Several key players for the Colts were selected in the draft largely due to the Senior Bowl.

In fact, Ballard selected seven prospects from the Senior Bowl during the 2023 NFL draft, the highest number he’s selected in a single draft class during his tenure.

Since Ballard took over as general manager in 2017, the Colts have drafted 27 players who participated in the Senior Bowl and several more who signed with the team as undrafted free agents. We can and should expect the Colts to highly value the Senior Bowl as long as Ballard is around.

As the Senior Bowl takes place this week, here’s a look at every participant the Colts have drafted since Ballard’s tenure began in 2017:

2023: CB Julius Brents

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Selection: Round 2 (No. 44 overall)

The physical and lengthy corner dealt with injuries and a bit of inconsistency during his rookie campaign, but he also showed enough promise to warrant an optimistic outlook for the future.

2023: OT Blake Freeland

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Selection: Round 4 (No. 106 overall)

Freeland was the swing tackle for the Colts during his rookie campaign. He got thrown into the fire due to injuries, starting nine games combined at both right and left tackle.

2023: DT Adetomiwa Adebawore

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Selection: Round 4 (No. 110 overall)

An athletic freak and a bit of tweener positionally, Adebawore had a very limited role during his rookie season. He played 19% of the defensive snaps, recording 1.5 sacks.

2023: CB Darius Rush

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

Selection: Round 5 (No. 138 overall)

Though there was excitement at the time of the selection, Rush didn’t survive the final roster cuts at the end of the preseason during his rookie campaign.

2023: S Daniel Scott

(AP Photo/Lachlan Cunningham)

Selection: Round 5 (No. 158 overall)

Scott’s rookie season ended before it could even start after he suffered a torn ACL during spring workouts.

2023: TE Will Mallory

Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Selection: Round 5 (No. 162 overall)

Mallory played a limited role in the tight end room during his rookie campaign, recording 18 receptions for 207 yards while playing 20% of the offensive snaps.

2023: RB Evan Hull

Jenna Watson-USA TODAY Sports

Selection: Round 5 (No. 176 overall)

There was intrigue for Hull to have a role during his rookie season but he suffered a torn meniscus in Week 1 and missed the remainder of the campaign.

2022: WR Alec Pierce

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Selection: Round 2 (No. 53 overall)

Pierce showed plenty of promise during his rookie season but took a bit of a step back in his second campaign. Some of it had to do with Gardner Minshew preference to focus on the short game and some of it had to do with Pierce’s inconsistencies getting open.

2022: OT Bernhard Raimann

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Selection: Round 3 (No. 77 overall)

The Colts seem to have their left tackle of the future after Raimann broke out in a big way during his second season in the league.

2022: DT Eric Johnson

AP Photo/Butch Dill

Selection: Round 5 (No. 159 overall)

The Senior Bowl put Johnson on the map as a small-school player with high upside. The Colts were the ones to select him on Day 3 of the draft, and he’s spent the majority of his first two campaigns playing a small depth role in the defensive line room.

2021: TE Kylen Granson

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Selection: Round 4 (No. 127 overall)

Granson has been on the roster for the last three seasons and could be a nice piece as a flex tight end even if he has a bit of a limited ceiling. He posted a career-high 368 yards and scored his first career touchdown in 2023.

2021: S Shawn Davis

AP Photo/Matthew Hinton

Selection: Round 5 (No. 165 overall)

Davis was a standout at the Senior Bowl, and the Colts loved his upside. Unfortunately, he was released from the practice squad during the first month of his rookie season.

2021: QB Sam Ehlinger

Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Selection: Round 6 (No. 218 overall)

Ehlinger was a late-round selection and project for the Colts. They love his athleticism, character and leadership qualities. He didn’t show much promise during his two starts in 2022 but also was thrown into a tough position without much experience. He spent the 2023 season as the third quarterback until he became the backup when Anthony Richardson got injured.

2020: WR Michael Pittman Jr.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Selection: Round 2 (No. 34 overall)

Pittman has been grown into the type of WR1 an offense can thrive with and posted a career-high 109 receptions and 1,152 yards in 2023. He’s scheduled to be a free agent this offseason, but there is a high expectation he gets a new deal.

2020: DE Robert Windsor

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Selection: Round 6 (No. 211 overall)

Windsor didn’t see much of the field at all. He spent his rookie season on the practice squad and missed his second season due to injury. He announced his retirement from the NFL during the 2022 offseason.

2019: CB Rock Ya-Sin

AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith

Selection: Round 2 (No. 34 overall)

Ya-Sin’s first two seasons were pretty up-and-down, but he showed he had a high ceiling. He put it all together during his third campaign, solidifying himself as a starter before the Colts traded him for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue during the 2022 offseason.

2019: LB Bobby Okereke

Robert Scheer-USA TODAY Sports

Selection: Round 3 (No. 89 overall)

Looking back, Okereke was arguably the best selection from this draft class. Though he split time during his first two seasons with Anthony Walker Jr., he spent his last two seasons as the starting MIKE for the Colts before signing a four-year deal with the New York Giants during the 2023 offseason.

2019: DE Ben Banogu

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Selection: Round 2 (No. 49 overall)

Another selection that had a lot of potential at the time but never panned out. Banogu’s athleticism is off the charts, but he never quite fit into Matt Eberflus’ scheme for whatever reason.

2019: S Khari Willis

AP Photo/Larry French

Selection: Round 4 (No. 109 overall)

Willis was appearing to be one of the better selections during Chris Ballard’s tenure. He emerged as a starter during his first three NFL seasons but surprisingly retired during the 2022 offseason to pursue ministry.

2019: DE Gerri Green

AP Photo/David Dermer

Selection: Round 6 (No. 199 overall)

Green was drafted to be a depth piece and a locker room presence but was waived during final roster cuts of his rookie season.

2019: G/C Javon Patterson

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Selection: Round 7 (No. 246 overall)

Patterson was the final selection for the Colts in this draft class but never got to see the field. He tore his ACL during the offseason workouts, and the team waived him during final roster cuts.

2018: LB Shaquille Leonard

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Selection: Round 2 (No. 36 overall)

One of the most notable picks Chris Ballard has made during his tenure. Leonard was the heart of the Colts defense for years he was drafted. He earned multiple All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections but missed nearly all of 2022 due to a nagging nerve injury. He was then released midway through the 2023 season after it was clear he wasn’t the same player from before.

2018: DE Kemoko Turay

AP Photo/Jeff Bottari

Selection: Round 2 (No. 52 overall)

There was a lot of potential with Turay considering his burst and athleticism. He never quite put it together due to injuries, including a major Achilles tear just when he was showing the most promise early in 2019.

2018: DE Tyquan Lewis

AP Photo/Zach Bolinger

Selection: Round 2 (No. 64 overall)

It took Lewis a bit to find his footing, but he flashed a lot of potential during the last three seasons. Unfortunately, two of them have ended eerily in the exact same way on nearly the exact same date—tearing his patellar tendon. Fortunately, Lewis had a career year in 2023 and was a consistent pass-rushing force.

2017: OLB Tarell Basham

Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Selection: Round 3 (No. 80 overall)

Basham was a project to begin with considering he didn’t have much experience as a stand-up rusher, and the Colts were running an odd front when he was picked. This selection flamed out early for the Colts as Basham was waived during his second season.

2017: OT Zach Banner

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Selection: Round 4 (No. 137 overall)

One of the first misses for the Colts, Banner didn’t pan out at all. His massive frame made him an intriguing prospect, but the Colts waived him before his rookie season even started.

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