The Colts have two second-round picks, but those can easily be flipped for a first-round selection. What will it take to trade up?
The Colts currently hold the 34th and 44th picks in the second round as their top two draft picks in 2020. However, with the wide receiver and quarterback positions yet to be completely filled out, the Colts can look to trade up into the first round and acquire a top-tier offensive skill position to bolster the offense for the future. Let’s take a look at the best options for the team if they decide to make the move into the first round.
1. San Franciso 49ers (Round 1, Pick 31)
The most likely scenario for the Colts, if they were to trade up into the first round, would be to do so at the end of the round. Trade partners once again, the Colts trading up into the first round could be the key in picking a QB instead of a WR with this selection.
If the team holds this pick and the 44th pick, it allows them to select QB Jordan Love if he’s available and then grab a talented WR in the second round. At 34th, the team wouldn’t be in this position; this move drastically improves the possibility of success by focusing on the two biggest positions of need for the future.
The 49ers just made the Super Bowl in February and were one Chiefs comeback from a victory. With their roster largely the same from last season, all they need to do is plug a hole or two at a few positions. One of those is the WR position; they can select a talented player at 34th with no problem, as the teams at 32 and 33 (Kansas City and Cincinnati) have bigger needs than receiver in 2020.
The Colts only trade up three spots here, but those three spots could be the difference in selecting Love or not. If he isn’t available, the team still gets two late-round picks as compensation. However, it’s been shown in many recent mock drafts that Love is going to be available at the end of the first round.
Love’s upside is enough to warrant a selection here, and if the front office has done their necessary homework, Love will probably be seen as the best player available player at that spot for them, as well. If Love isn’t an option there, the team can either trade back into the second round (at the beginning where the original 34th pick was) to select a wide receiver in Tee Higgins or Leviska Shenault to bolster the offense.
Another option if Love were to be taken would be to trade back past 44th (the Colts’ other 2nd round pick) and get a big haul for 31st. That would still allow for a receiver to be selected at 44 and have a surplus of later-round picks to plug up the final few holes to a playoff roster.
2. Tennessee Titans (Round 1, Pick 29)
The Colts don’t hold a ton of picks after 44th, so if a trade is in place, it’d likely be anywhere from 26th with Miami and 32 with Kansas City. We’ll split the difference for this next trade and say 29th is the magic spot. This puts them in a position to trade with the Tennessee Titans.
Two spots (ahead of 31st overall) could be the difference in getting the player they want or not, and with Tennessee and Green Bay (at 30th) starting veteran quarterbacks, 2020 could be the year for one of them to find their next franchise QB. Trading up to 29 ensures those two teams don’t take a QB, not giving up a huge haul in the process.
Tennessee doesn’t have a ton of needs as they’ve kept their roster largely similar to their AFC Championship one from last season. With most of their roster set, they’ll only need to look at cornerback and defensive end in the draft this year after how the offseason has progressed so for them. The 34th pick is valuable packaged with the 4th and 6th because of the player they can get at 34 alongside the depth with the other two picks.
In this trade, the Colts receive the 29th pick and a 7th round pick in exchange for the 34th overall pick, as well as a 4th and a 6th. With this pick, the Colts could select Love, who’s been available towards the end of the first round in a large number of recent mock drafts.
Love gives the Colts the future franchise QB they’ve been looking for without needing to give up a ton in return. Mel Kiper’s Mock 4.0 had the Colts selecting QB Jacob Eason. If Indianapolis isn’t sold on Eason as the future, this trade is a great option if they believe Jordan Love can step in after Phillip Rivers. This trade also allows the team to keep the 44th overall pick, which can easily be turned into a quality receiver like Higgins, Shenault, or Denzel Mims without a concern of them being selected before then.
3. Minnesota Vikings (Round 1, Pick 22)
If the team feels certain in Love’s talent, have decided they aren’t sold on Jacoby Brissett, and feel that a big move is needed, then a trade up to pick 22 could be the best option in this range. If the Colts are certain they need to trade up this far for Love, it won’t take much extra then trading for 29.
It’s possible that Love, who’s been mocked to go anywhere from the top-10 to the end of the first round, could be picked before 22nd. If this happens, there are still top-tier receivers ready to be selected and join the Indianapolis offense.
In terms of the Vikings, their biggest needs are at cornerback and defensive end, just like Tennessee. Once again, there are a good amount of options at 34 to choose from, like LSU’s Kristian Fulton at CB and Ross Blacklock from TCU at DL. With the extra haul they’d be getting, it’s worth it for Minnesota, a team in desperate need of plugging up the defensive holes that were created as a result of the offseason.
The Colts land a similar trade as the Titans trade above. At 22nd overall, the Colts can either select Love or try and target one of the draft’s top receivers. LSU’s Justin Jefferson, likely to be available, would be a perfect candidate for Indianapolis as a receiver opposite TY Hilton. As a consistent receiver who runs great routes and can find seams in the defense better than most in the draft, Jefferson would pair well with Hilton and Rivers moving into 2020.
Trading up for 22nd would be a stretch and would certainly limit the number of productive players the team can draft in the later rounds due to giving up the 3rd and 6th rounders, but it’s worth it if Love and/or Jefferson are available to select at 22nd. Either way, both players would serve as valuable additions to the future success of the team.