Ranking the 7 best trades made by Colts GM Chris Ballard

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The Indianapolis Colts have not shied away from making trades to improve the team during the Chris Ballard era. 

During Chris Ballard’s stint, the Indianapolis Colts have made a total of 16 trades with 10 different teams. Most notably, the Colts have traded with the New York Jets, New England Patriots, and the Philadelphia Eagles the most.

Many of these trades involved draft picks, which made ranking them even more complicated, like the entire Carson Wentz trade saga. Some were player swaps at depth positions, though. Players like Antonio Morrison, Darrell Daniels, and Thomas Hennessy were traded for other players that made no difference.

What about these trades that involved picks, though? What happened with each of those picks and how did both sides fare?

These are the top seven trades that Ballard has made in Indy, which we can now reexamine and see where everything has fallen since.

The jury is still out

There are recent trades that the jury is still out on, which won’t be catalogued in these rankings.

Wentz to Indianapolis – When Wentz was traded to Indianapolis, there were a lot of mixed feelings from Colts fans. The Colts traded a ’21 third-round pick and a ’22 conditional pick that turned into the 16th overall pick.

The third-round pick in 2021 was used to move up two spots in the first round to select DeVonta Smith, who did not have a stellar first season in Philly. The 2022 first-round pick got a lot more confusing.

Philadelphia traded the 16th, 19th, and 194th overall picks for the 18th, 101st, 237th, and a ’23 first and ’24 second-round picks. It was a blockbuster trade just weeks before the NFL draft.

Using the picks, the Eagles were able to swap the 18th overall with the Titans to get A.J. Brown, which got Brown out of the AFC South. The Titans then selected wide receiver Treylon Burks. They also drafted Myjai Sanders with the 101st selection. The 237th pick was traded with the Detroit Lions.

Wentz to Washington – Just a year later, Ballard decided it was time to move on from Wentz and start over (again) at the quarterback position.

The Colts traded Wentz, along with the 47th and 240th overall picks, to the Commanders for the 42nd and 73rd overall picks, along with a ’23 conditional third-round pick that could turn into a second.

The Colts didn’t use the 42nd, because they traded back along with the 122nd overall for the 53rd, 77th, and 192nd overall picks. The Colts then took Alec Pierce, Bernhard Raimann, and Andrew Ogletree with those picks.

Rock Ya-Sin for Yannick Ngakoue – This could end up being a bigger move than it looks. It could also end in a fiery disaster. Yannick now joins his fifth team in just seven years. If he can go back to being the Pro Bowl-caliber player he was with Jacksonville, this could be great for the Colts.

Matt Ryan to Indianapolis – Brought in to be the next quarterback of the Colts, Ryan has a lot riding on him. The former MVP is already drawing comparisons to Peyton Manning from Reggie Wayne. Will he lead the team where it needs to go over the next couple of years while we look for the next franchise quarterback?