With endless possibilities available to the Colts at the sixth pick of this year’s NFL draft, trading down (again) makes sense.
The Colts are a bad football team, but help is on the way in 2018 and 2019. Following a four-win season, Indianapolis Colts GM Chris Ballard and new head coach Frank Reich have their work cut out for them in this week’s NFL Draft. After months of speculation and online theorizing, Thursday night may reveal one of the best moves of the Colt’s new leadership and direction: another trade down.
Looking up and down the current roster, holes exist all over the place: a porous and inconsistent offensive line, a weak and underperforming defensive line, no significant linebackers to speak of, and a secondary that would have trouble stopping Bryce Petty!
In a recent Indy Star article, writer Scott Horner reported that ten different journalist picked five different players for four different positions. With this many essential needs, almost any elite player at virtually any position would be an upgrade. But the Colts need more than one strong draft to improve this roster.
Ballard has done a masterful job of loading up on picks in this year’s draft, deftly trading the third overall pick to the Jets, moving down three spots in exchange for two additional second round picks. In addition to that haul, the Colts also gained the Jets’ 2019 second round pick. That trade translates to four picks in the top 50, and nine picks total, with one additional pick already in place for the 2019 draft.
With the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and Arizona Cardinals all in need of quarterbacks, don’t be surprised to see the Colts move down again.
Why Trading Down Makes Sense
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If the Colts can leverage their sixth pick this year to gain another second round pick in 2019, they should do it. Consider the possibility of a trade with Buffalo, a quarterback-hungry team. The Colts could move down from six to twelve and likely land one of their “eight” premium non-quarterback players, and potentially pick up the Bills’ 2018 second round (56 overall) and third round (63 overall) picks AND the Bills’ 2019 second round pick.
Ballard recently spoke of the desire for the offensive and defensive lines to improve. “The fronts will always be important to me,” Ballard said, emphasizing the need for a solid defensive front. “This defensive scheme is really predicated on the front seven … and look, it’s hard to win in this league when you’re not good up front.”
With so much help needed on the defensive front, and building a new 4-3 scheme, the 2019 draft may be the better source for defensive talent. With the likes of Ed Oliver, Nick Bosa, Dexter Lawrence, Rashan Gary, Christian Wilkins, and Raekwon Davis, the Colts would have stockpiled picks in the second round to trade up in the early part of round one for an immediate impact defensive player. This would come after the bounty of picks in this year’s draft.
While moving down in the draft a second time isn’t sexy, it may be just what the Colts need. Using two drafts to build a championship culture instead of trying to build a winner overnight should be Chris Ballard’s strategy.