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Colts NFL Draft First Pick Odds: D-Line may be the value way to go

Who will Frank Reich be coaching later this year as part of the 2021 NFL Draft?
Who will Frank Reich be coaching later this year as part of the 2021 NFL Draft?
By Zachary Rainey

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There’s going to be quite the decision to make in Indianapolis next week when it comes to what the Indianapolis Colts should do with their first-round pick.

Some would say to just take an offensive tackle, but as ESPN’s draft analyst Matt Miller said on the Bart & Hahn Show Friday, you can get an offensive tackle in round two and an edge rusher in round three.

The Colts to take an offensive lineman at -110 would make sense after 10 year veteran Anthony Castonzo retired.

But I like the relative longshot chance that the Colts opt to go for a pass rusher. Mel Kiper’s mock released on March 23 has the Colts going with Gregory Rousseau out of Miami, while Todd McShay has them taking Kwity Paye out of Michigan.

In the latest mock that the two did together, taking turns and alternating picks, Kiper has Indy taking Miami’s Jaelan Phillips.

The odds for the Colts to take a defensive lineman with their first player drafted currently sits at +325 on DraftKings.

A lot of people forgot about Rousseau after opting out of last season and draft analysts have cooled on him in favor of Phillips. He showed good measurables and had a productive 2020, finishing with eight sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss.

However, there might be more risk with taking Phillips, as he put up those stats in just one season after medically retiring from football after 2018 while at UCLA. 

NFL Betting Odds

Regardless, those analysts give me enough reason to think it’s a legitimate possibility the Colts go with a pass rusher, as Justin Houston is currently 32 years old.

I think there’s a good amount of room in the middle to be able to put a good bet on the offensive lineman at -110, as well as a sprinkle on the defensive lineman at +325.

The Colts also know that, to win in this league, getting to the quarterback with the least amount of players possible is the only way to stop the quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen to even get out of the AFC, especially when the Colts were a drive away from defeating Allen and the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo a season ago.

There’s also the odds that the first drafted player by the Colts will be an offensive player at -155, or a defensive player at +124, but in my opinion, you’re basically already taking that bet with either of the two options listed above.

The only thing that worries me is that the Colts have been known to gamble when they’re close. After going to the AFC’s Divisional Round back in 2014, the Colts were just a few pieces away. Instead of bolstering the offensive line to protect former quarterback Andrew Luck, they swung for the fences and took Phillip Dorsett in the 2015 Draft. Dorsett spent more time with New England than he did with Indy.

That was also the year after certain teams struck gold in terms of first-round receivers; as the New York Giants got Odell Beckham Jr., the Tampa Bay Bucs Mike Evans, and the Miami Dolphins Jarvis Landry. There’s a chance that, after seeing the success of guys like Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb and Justin Jefferson, the Colts could fall into a similar trap instead of addressing their major needs.

The odds for the Colts to take a wide receiver with their first pick are +600. I wouldn’t go as far as to put anything on it. My personal bet will be on the defensive line at +325. Depending on how the odds move between now and Thursday, there might be some nice middle ground if the offensive lineman prop goes back to even odds. 

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