By Marc Lawrence — Indianapolis has made the playoffs only once in the last five years and with Andrew Luck now cashing retirement checks, it was approaching dire straits entering this year’s draft. For starters, the Colts traded away its 13th overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for interior defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, leaving them without a first-round selection. The Colts then extended him to a four-year, $84 million deal to make him the second-highest-paid interior player behind only Aaron Donald. Not sure about that, to be perfectly honest. However, Indy had one of the best picks of Day 2 by taking USC WR Michael Pittman Jr. 34th overall. Pittman stands at 6-foot-4 and owns near-flawless ball skills, reminding many of fellow USC receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. He dropped just 2.8% of his catchable targets in his career, possesses an insane catch radius and can adjust to any off-target throw to snag what would typically be an incomplete pass. Pittman’s underneath and intermediate route-running makes him a phenomenal possession receiver prospect who will fit nicely in Indy. Many also thought Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor might go in the first round. It didn’t happen. The concern is trading for a running back in the 2nd Round. Indy traded the 44th and 160th overall picks to the Cleveland Browns to move up to No. 41 and grab Taylor. Finally, the Colts started looking at their future post-Philip Rivers by taking Jacob Eason 122nd overall. Eason has a cannon and great zip on the ball, but there is a lot of concern with how he’ll handle NFL pass-rushers. When under pressure this past year, Eason posted the second-worst negatively graded play rate in college football. For more on the Colts’ draft and a composite review of their grade from 4 of the nation’s leading football authorities, click here.
ESPN reports that according to Caesers Sportsbook, 2020 Playbook Football Preview Guide magazine cover boy QB Patrick Mahomes is the 4-1 favorite to win the 2020 NFL MVP award. Note, though, that four of the last five MVP winners had preseason odds greater than 30-1, including: Lamar Jackson 40-1, Patrick Mahomes 35-1, Matt Ryan 75-1 and Cam Newton 52-1.
Grinding Out The Profits
From the 2020 PLAYBOOK Football Preview Guide magazine: Since taking over as Pitt’s head coach in 2015, Pat Narduzzi has guided the Panthers to 24 victories in ACC play, trailing only Clemson (38) and Miami (25). The good news for “Nails” is that a total of 19 players made their first career starts last season. And for what it’s worth: Pitt has defeated a Top 25 team in four consecutive seasons.