3 things for Colts fans to watch for in Thursday’s NFL Draft Day 1
As the NFL Draft quickly approaches, there will be many things for Colts fans to watch for come Thursday night.
As Chris Ballard enters his 4th draft as the General Manager, anticipation builds towards what he may pull off come Thursday night.
Throughout his first three years as General Manager, Ballard has put together great draft after great draft, finding gems in Colts studs like Quenton Nelson, Darius Leonard, Marlon Mack, Khari Willis, and more. His draft history is a bit telling as to what Colts fans should watch for come draft time.
Let’s take a deeper look at Colts draft night possibilities.
Acquiring more picks
While it may not happen on day 1, this one is almost a definite.
His first three drafts, Chris Ballard had 8, 10, and 11 picks. Having extra draft picks have helped him acquire the likes of players like Marlon Mack, who was acquired via a pick that the Colts traded for in the 4th round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Not to mention, the verdict is still out on players like Tyquan Lewis, Daurice Fountain, and Rock Ya-Sin, who were all drafted with picks that Ballard traded for. He loves acquiring draft picks via trade.
It’s not a secret that he wants more than the basic 7 in this draft, either. In a virtual press conference held last week, Ballard stated blatantly “I want more picks, to be honest with you.”
Hard to be more straight-up than that. Ballard wants more picks, and I think he’ll get them through working the Ballard draft strategy to a tee.
A Malik Hooker trade
If the Colts want a first-round draft pick Thursday night, they’ll likely have to pay a decent price for it. Malik Hooker, who has been rumored to be on the trading block all week, fits the mold beautifully if Ballard and the team really want that first-rounder.
Throughout his first 3 years of play, Hooker has had many ups and downs. His first year, he had 3 interceptions in 7 games before being out for the season with an injury. Since that injury, we haven’t completely seen the Malik Hooker we all hoped would suit up in the Blue or White on Sundays.
While there have been flashes of Hooker’s potential, Ballard is always trying to be ahead of the curve, and if the Colts trade into the first round Thursday night, Hooker could be a traded asset.
A franchise quarterback
While possibly unlikely, as Ballard said in last weeks virtual press conference that he wouldn’t rush a franchise quarterback acquisition, it’s hard to rule out the oh-so-fun idea that the Colts may find their franchise quarterback on Thursday night.
For months, Colts fans everywhere have deeply fallen in love (no pun intended) with the thought of drafting Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. As Love’s draft stock has risen, however, and Ballard has traded the 13th overall pick for DeForest Buckner, it has become harder and harder to see this really playing out how the Colts-Love train would want it to.
Even a trade into the top 10 for the likes of Tua Tagovailoa shouldn’t be out of the question. While some Colts fans may die for it, Chris Ballard loves his draft capital and hates to see valued picks slip away, making it very hard to see him trade up that high when it would most likely take at least a few picks to do so.
Nevertheless, if Ballard sees his guy, he will go get him. I’m more of a fan of the idea of taking a guy like Jalen Hurts from Oklahoma later in the draft, but there is no doubt in my mind that if he really sees something special in guys like Love, Tagovailoa, or even Justin Herbert, he will find a way to get them.
My trust, along with Colts faithful everywhere, is in the hands of Chris Ballard, and it will be interesting to see if he makes any moves come Thursday night.