Colts Have Resources To Trade Up Early In NFL Draft
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INDIANAPOLIS – Chris Ballard’s comments do not sound like a guy particularly eager to trade up in Round One of the 2019 Draft.
When asked about the idea of trading up in this year’s draft, Ballard has offered this:
“We will probably continue to take a patient approach, be sound and make the best decision for our club long-term,” the GM said in March.
“I like them picks,” Ballard offered in February, with a slight smile, when pressed about moving up from No. 26. “I think it just depends. On draft day, you formulate a plan of who you have targeted, where you can get them – do we have to move up or can we move back? I’ve always been under the premise and how I was taught in this league, the more picks you have, the more darts you have at the draft board, the more chances you have to hit on players. Is our roster to a point where I think we can just go and draft three players? No. I think we still need to continue to add young talent. We like having draft picks.”
But there are a couple of curious thoughts to remember when Thursday’s first round gets underway.
While it’s still unlikely for the Colts to trade up, they have a key resource in place to make such a move.
Unlike virtually every other playoff team from last year, the Colts have a very early second-round pick (No. 34), to go with their own selection (No. 59) in Round Two.
The 2018 March trade with the Jets has the Colts holding a very valuable chip with the second overall pick in the second round, just eight spots after their own draft choice in Round One.
Having that pick at No. 34 overall, and even an extra 4th rounder this year, gives Ballard some flexibility in how he wants to maneuver, once the board starts falling on Thursday night.
Remember, the Colts aren’t going to have such a luxury in draft capital moving forward, and they obviously hope to routinely be drafting in the late 20s in years to come.
This might be one of their final chances to have the resources to move up, while still not totally mortgaging their draft stock.
Plus, it appears the Colts are at least doing heavy homework on some of the elite guys in this draft.
Florida State edge rusher Brian Burns would appear to be one of those guys, with his name routinely showing up in the top-15 of Mock Drafts. Burns has stated that no team has shown him more attention than the Colts, who currently sit at No. 26.
Does Ballard think, if the board starts falling with quarterbacks pushing Burns to the teens, this is his best chance to draft an elite rusher, which is something the GM has stated as the route that must be taken to find a top rusher in today’s NFL. Of the NFL's top 10 sackers last year, 9 are still on the same team that drafted them.
Based off trades from last year’s Draft, the Colts would likely have to give up around 2nd or 3rd round pick to move to the 16-18 range.
On Monday, during Ballard's pre-draft press conference, the GM ended things by offering a joke/sign of caution to seeing the media on Thursday, to discuss the new first-round pick.
“We'll be together Thursday…or maybe not," Ballard said to the media assembled. "Maybe on Friday.”
Let the games begin.