Ranking the 7 best trades made by Colts GM Chris Ballard
#1 – Colts move back three spots in the 2018 NFL Draft
If you want to talk about historic trades in the NFL, this has to be at the very top of the list. Before the draft, Ballard traded back from the third overall pick that was used by the Jets to draft Sam Darnold.
Indy received the sixth overall selection, two second-round picks (37th and 49th), and a 2019 second-round pick.
At the time of the trade, there was a chance the Colts could have drafted one of many future Pro Bowl players. It was widely known that Baker Mayfield and Saquon Barkley were going to go first and second.
With Andrew Luck still on the roster, there was no need to draft a quarterback like Darnold, Josh Allen, or Josh Rosen. Only one of those three quarterbacks has actually done something in the NFL.
Instead, Indy moved back three spots and let Denzel Ward and Bradley Chubb fall to the Browns and Denver Broncos. The Colts drafted Quenton Nelson as the highest-ranked guard in the draft. Nelson turned into not just a Pro Bowler, but an All-Pro as well.
The Colts then drafted Braden Smith with the 37th selection and traded the 49th pick to the Philadelphia Eagles. In return, the Colts received the 52nd and 169th picks in the same draft.
With the two picks, the Colts drafted Kemoko Turay (52nd) and Jordan Wilkins (169th). Neither player is still on the Colts roster. Ballard let Turay walk this last off-season and he signed with the 49ers after never staying healthy in Indy.
Wilkins was cut randomly during the 2021 season and has bounced around the AFC South practice squads.
With the 2019 second-round pick from the Jets, the Colts selected Rock Ya-Sin with the 34th overall pick. He was then flipped this off-season for Yannick Ngakoue and is now in Las Vegas.
By moving back just three spots with the Jets, the Colts drafted Nelson, Smith, Turay, Wilkins, and Ya-Sin (traded for Ngakoue). This trade back has led to the Colts having the best offensive line in decades.