Matt Goncalves

AFC South Notes: Colts, Nabers, Texans, Jags

The Colts‘ wide receiver room includes two starters acquired before Shane Steichen‘s arrival — Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce — and the team made a three-year, $70MM commitment to its No. 1 target in March. Steichen is starting to put his stamp on the WR room, however, with the Colts having drafted Josh Downs in last year’s third round and Adonai Mitchell in this year’s second. As Chris Ballard continues to run Indianapolis’ draft,’s Stephen Holder notes Steichen “strongly advocated” for Mitchell in the second round.

Mitchell is unlikely to stroll into a starting spot early, as Holder adds the Texas product will be expected to begin training camp as the top backup behind Pittman, Pierce and Downs. But the ex-Longhorns standout’s draft slot (No. 52) suggests he will be heard from early in his career. The Colts have seen mixed results from their second-round WRs under Ballard, with Pittman shining and Parris Campbell struggling to stay on the field. Pierce (No. 53 overall in 2022) has eclipsed 500 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons. A Georgia transfer, Mitchell blazed to a 4.34-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. Although he only topped 450 receiving yards in one college season (2023, with 845 and 11 touchdowns), plenty will be expected from a Colts team that has struggled with receiver depth for most of Ballard’s GM tenure.

Here is the latest from the AFC South:

  • Staying on the WR topic, the Titans had a contingency plan in the event one of the teams above them at No. 7 zagged. The Giants were seemingly down to QB or WR at No. 6 throughout the pre-draft process, but a post-draft report suggested they were also eyeing Joe Alt. The Chargers were both connected to Alt and JC Latham at No. 5. In a scenario in which targets Latham and Alt were off the board,’s Jeremy Fowler notes Malik Nabers would have been the Tennessee pick at 7. A Nabers choice would have left the OL-needy Titans less equipped up front, and Latham filled a bigger need. The team has since signed Tyler Boyd to team with outside targets DeAndre Hopkins and Calvin Ridley.
  • The Colts are changing some of their rookies’ positions ahead of their first NFL offseason programs. Ballard said fifth-round pick Jaylon Carlies will move from safety to linebacker, with the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson indicating fifth-round safety Jaylin Simpson is sliding from safety to cornerback. Simpson has CB experience but moved to safety while at Auburn. Before Day 3 investments, the Colts did not address the cornerback position beyond Kenny Moore‘s re-signing. This leaves some uncertainty here — particularly on the outside.
  • Third-round Colts draftee Matt Goncalves spent his college career at left and right tackle, but’s Adam Caplan notes the rookie will be given time at guard this offseason. The Day 2 pick will compete for a backup job as a rookie, per Holder, as it appears Indy is planning to keep its low-cost starters (Bernhard Raimann, Will Fries) in place alongside veterans Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly and Braden Smith.
  • The Texans will make an adjustment at a key front office post. The team did not renew director of pro personnel Ronnie McGill‘s contract, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson notes. McGill followed GM Nick Caserio from New England in 2021; the Texans had promoted him to the director post in 2022. Teams regularly make scouting adjustments post-draft, and a notable Texans hire will be on tap.
  • A scouting veteran of more than 30 years, Tom McConnaughey is retiring from his Jaguars post. The veteran staffer, who has been with the Jags since 2021, will leave after three years as a national scout with the team,’s Neil Stratton tweets. McConnaughey spent 26 years with the Chargers prior to moving to Jacksonville.
  • In addition to hiring A.J. Highsmith and Keenan Agnew, the Titans are adding Sam Summerville to their scouting staff. Summerville is expected to join the team as a national scout, per Stratton. The Bears recently parted ways with Summerville, a former Fritz Pollard Alliance scout of the year honoree, after 12 years.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/13/24

Front offices around the NFL continue to chip away at their draft pick signings. That was no exception today, as a number of teams inked players to rookie contracts:

Cincinnati Bengals

Indianapolis Colts

  • OT Matt Goncalves (third round, Pittsburgh)
  • C Tanor Bortolini (fourth round, Wisconsin)

Jacksonville Jaguars

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

  • EDGE Jalyx Hunt (third round, Houston Christian)
  • RB Will Shipley (fourth round, Clemson)
  • WR Ainias Smith (fourth round, Texas A&M)

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Colts Move Up To No. 79

The Colts have moved up the third-round order, swapping places with the Cardinals. Indianapolis has acquired No. 79 in exchange for 82 and 191.

With the newly-acquired pick, the Colts have drafted Pitt offensive tackle Matt Goncalves. That makes him the second player taken on the offensive side of the ball to join the Colts today, after the team selected the first defender (Laiatu Latu) during Thursday’s opening round. This latest choice will provide depth up front after wideout Adonai Mitchell was added in the second round.

Goncalves spent four seasons at Pitt, redshirting in his freshman campaign. After that point, though, he developed into a key figure on the Panthers’ offensive line by seeing time at both tackle spots. The 6-6, 330-pounder started three of nine contests in 2021 before becoming a full-time starter in the following campaign. He split his time between left and right tackle that year.

Goncalves entered the 2023 season with high expectations, and he was the only Pitt player named to the preseason All-ACC list. His senior year came to an abrupt end after just three contests due to injury, however, something which no doubt impacted his draft stock. Goncalves, if healthy, will provide a high-floor option capable of seeing time at either tackle spot early in his time with the Colts.

Indianapolis has Bernhard Raimann in place on the blindside along with high-priced Braden Smith at the right tackle spot with respect to first-team options. Both players are under contract for multiple years, so Goncalves will likely not have a path to a starting spot right away. He could serve as a capable backup in the short- and long-term, though.