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

Colts trade up for Will Levis in Mel Kiper mock draft 3.0

With over a month left until the 2023 NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts are widely expected to use their first-round pick on a quarterback prospect.

Part of the question as it currently stands is whether they’ll need to trade up to No. 3 overall with the Arizona Cardinals in order to grab the prospect they want. They don’t necessarily have to, but it does leave room for another team to jump them in the order.

In Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft after early free agency, the Colts moved up one spot in a trade while giving up a package similar to what the Chicago Bears gave up in 2017 so they could draft Mitchell Trubisky (Nos. 3, 67 and 111 picks and a third-rounder in 2018).

So that package from the Colts’ perspective likely would be Nos. 4, 79 and 106 along with a 2024 third-rounder, which is an extremely steep cost to move up one spot.

After doing so in the mock, Kiper had the Colts take Kentucky’s Will Levis.

Is it possible Ballard likes either Levis or Anthony Richardson as his top passer in this class? Yes, absolutely. In that case, this could be a win-win deal for both teams. The bottom line is the Colts have a solid roster, but they’re not going to win without better quarterback play. Barring a dramatic trade for Lamar Jackson — which would cost two first-round picks — they should move up to ensure they get Levis.

Levis, a 6-foot-4 QB with a huge arm who played in a pro-style offense at Kentucky, had an inconsistent 2022 season. He didn’t play with elite talent, though, and he forced too many throws at times. Indianapolis has the playmakers to help him out as a rookie. New coach Shane Steichen helped Jalen Hurts take a massive leap for the Eagles, and he should be excited to coach up another high-ceiling player.

In the mock, C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young went with the first two picks, respectively. The Cardinals wound up taking edge rusher Will Anderson at No. 4, and Anthony Richardson went to the Seattle Seahawks at No. 5 overall.

From a character and work ethic standpoint, Levis will check the boxes for the Colts. He’s known as a strong leader, an incredible worker and brings high character to the game’s most important position.

Athletically, Levis brings plenty of size and above-average arm strength with the ability to make throws to all levels of the field. He’s mobile enough and is willing to work through contact both in and out of the pocket.

The questions with his game come as a decision-maker. As a two-year starter at Kentucky, Levis completed 65.7% of his passes for 5,232 yards, 43 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.

Levis brings some inconsistent ball placement, which likely stems from his inconsistent footwork in the pocket. The footwork can be worked on, and it may help his accuracy, but it could be a reason the Colts pass on him.

We’ll see what happens with Levis in the draft, but he’s likely to hear his name called on the first night of the draft, regardless of whether it will be the Colts making the pick.

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