The Indianapolis Colts made what some may call a “sleeper pick” in their first round. They traded up with the Detroit Lions to select running back, Alec Pierce. The former Georgia Bulldog is expected to contribute right away and should be an immediate impact player for the team.

The Indianapolis Colts did not enter the NFL Draft until the second round in 2022. Despite the late entrance, the management made some outstanding selections that will benefit the squad as early as next season. Rich Eisen, a sports talk broadcaster, added the Colts’ first pick, Cincinnati wide receiver Pierce, Alec, to his “Top 5 Sneaky Good NFL Draft Picks” list. 

The biggest offseason story for the Indianapolis Colts in 2022 is the departure of quarterback Carson Wentz in favor of newcomer Matt Ryan. The Colts consider themselves competitors next season after bringing in a new seasoned quarterback. 

To improve on last season, when the club narrowly missed the playoffs following a Week 18 defeat to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, general manager Chris Ballard wanted to enhance numerous aspects of the squad. 

The Colts’ most pressing needs heading into the 2022 draft were pass catchers and an offensive lineman. A long-term project at quarterback would be ideal, but the rest of the roster would offer depth and competition. 

The Colts addressed these critical areas of need with their first three choices. Pierce, Alec (No. 53) of Cincinnati came in first, followed by Virginia’s enormously athletic tight end, Jelani Woods (No. 73). The Colts then selected OT Raimann, Bernhard of Central Michigan at No. 77, who was projected as a first-round choice in several mock drafts. 

Ballard assembled a solid draft class, particularly after adding hard-hitting Maryland safety Cross, Nick at the conclusion of Day 2. 

But, according to NFL Network’s Rich Eisen, one of these decisions stands out as one of the finest “sneaky good” picks in the whole draft. 

WR Pierce, Alec was selected to Rich Eisen’s “Top 5 Sneaky Good NFL Draft Picks” list.

Pierce, Alec was a standout wide receiver at Cincinnati. In 32 games with the Bearcats, the 6-foot-3, 211-pound pass-catcher caught 106 passes for 1,851 yards and 13 touchdowns. 

Pierce is not just big, but he’s also quick and agile. At the combine, he clocked a 4.41-second 40-yard dash and lettered in football, volleyball, basketball, and track. 

All of this combined to land Pierce on Rich Eisen’s list of “sneaky excellent” choices. The host elaborated:

Mr. Go Route is the name of the youngster. He’s the 50/50 ball king, and he’s a winner. He’s also 6’3′′, compared to Michael Pittman’s 6’4′′. So, you’re going to face some major deep threats who are quite tall, and if that worries you, Taylor, Jonathan may come out of the backfield and hit you. Pierce, Alec, I believe, will be an exceptional number two in Indianapolis, with Pittman being the number one. … That selection appeals to me. 

Rich Eisen on Pierce, Alec of the Indianapolis Colts

If Pierce can replicate his collegiate performance in the NFL, Ryan and the rest of the Colts offense will undoubtedly “dig that choice.” 

In 2022, how will the Indianapolis Colts offensive look?

Indianapolis Colts fans pose during the 2022 NFL Draft. The Colts took Cincinnati WR Pierce, Alec with their first pick.

Indianapolis Colts fans pose during the 2022 NFL Draft. The Colts took Cincinnati WR Pierce, Alec with their first pick. Before the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Indianapolis Colts supporters pose | David Becker/Getty Images

The NFL draft represents the conclusion of the offseason’s team-building process. With lower-level free agents, there are still some movements that clubs may make around the margins. At this time, trades are still a possibility. Most clubs, on the other hand, have assembled the bulk of their rosters for training camp. 

The Indianapolis Colts’ initial training camp depth chart has taken form after Chris Ballard and company came away with eight new players in the draft. On either side of the ball, the starting 11 now looks like this: 

QB Matt Ryan DE Paye Kwity
RB Taylor, Jonathan DT Buckner, DeForest
TE Cox, Mo-Alie DT Stewart, Grover
WR Jr. Michael Pittman DE Ngakoue, Yannick
WR Pierce, Alec LB Leonard Darius
WR Campbell, Parris LB Okereke, Bobby
LT Raimann, Bernhard CB Moore, Kenny II
LG Nelson, Quenton CB Gilmore, Stephon
C Kelley, Ryan CB Isaiah Rodgers/Brandon Facyson
RG Pinter, Danny S Cross, Nick
RT Smith, Braden S Julian Blackmon/Khari Willis

On the offensive side of the ball, the starting lineup seems to be established. There may be camp battles at LT (with Matt Pryor), RG (with Will Fries), and TE (with Jelani Woods), but the unit is otherwise strong. 

On defense, there should be some fascinating battles to watch before the season. Free-agent acquisition Brandon Facyson and third-year corner Isaiah Rodgers will duke it out for CB3 if big-name signing Gilmore, Stephon can stay healthy. 

Also, rookie safety Cross, Nick should push both Khari Willis (who is entering the final year of his contract) and Julian Blackmon for a starting spot. 

Sports Reference provided the statistics. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and like Sportscasting on Facebook.

RELATED: Grade Point Averages for All 32 NFL Teams in the 2022 Draft

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