Let’s outline a few things about where we stand a week ahead of the NFL Draft. It’s not all sunshine and roses, Colts fans. It’s also not all gloom and doom.
There remains a significant gap between the way some view the Colts and abject reality, though.
So, just the facts. The Indianapolis Colts do not currently have a favorite to occupy the left tackle role after Anthony Castonzo’s retirement. The Colts haven’t added any free agents of note, instead using their money to retain defensive backs TJ Carrie and Xavier Rhodes. The Colts also haven’t executed any of the extensions they reportedly have earmarked for players like Darius Leonard and Quenton Nelson.
We’ve never understood why the Colts were reportedly not among the six finalists for star Ravens OT Orlando Brown’s services, but that’s no longer a top-of-mind concern, seeing as the Chiefs pulled off a deal instead Friday.
Brown will now insulate Patrick Mahomes at a high cost, though he’ll also fill an obvious need, based on last year’s Super Bowl.
Who’ll fill the equally-obvious need on Indianapolis’ O-Line? Well…some rookie, probably.
The Kansas City Chiefs stole Orlando Brown. The Colts didn’t.
Did it cost the moon? Sure. Depends on how you define it.
Kansas City parlayed a back-of-the-first-round pick and some mid-round capital (to be fair, three picks in the 2021 draft is plenty) into a top-rated, 32-year-old tackle. Costly without a doubt, but this Chiefs team would like to win more Super Bowls now, please. You can’t argue they aren’t still well-stacked for the future, too, with Patrick Mahomes under center permanently. More draft picks will eventually come.
This year was about maximizing a championship window while every core offensive piece is still in their prime.
What about in Indianapolis? Well, it’s a very good roster, but clearly one that lines up behind KC’s as long as Mahomes has enough time to operate.
Chris Ballard can profess as much faith as he wants to in the lottery ticket lineman he’s picked up so far this offseason. He also knows that a “good drafter” is typically just…the man with the most draft picks. Draft efficiency is sort of just a myth.
At the end of the year, though, will he just be the GM who impressed everyone with a fourth-round steal, but didn’t reach Championship Weekend? Is that really a badge of honor?
More importantly, why wasn’t Indianapolis in the top six chasing after Brown? Is he more deeply flawed than we’d like to admit? Or is Ballard that confident in the status quo?