One big reason why the Colts should just tank

Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard watches the team warm up Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, before a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard watches the team warm up Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, before a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. /

The Indianapolis Colts are just 3-3-1 but there is a notable difference between Indy and the rest of the contending teams in the NFL.

Even at 3-3-1, there needs to be a point at which the Indianapolis Colts either fix what they have to compete for a playoff run or tank and find the next superstar in the draft. Considering the Colts do not look like they are anywhere close to competing due to offensive line issues and an immobile quarterback, it might just be time to call it a season.

Chris Ballard has never been open about tanking. It is his philosophy to compete with what we have and to find value in the later rounds that you can build a team around. However, if you look through the Colts’ history of finding superstar talent at the most important position, quarterback, it required the first overall pick in the draft. There is only one way to get to that level, by tanking. Well, you can also send an unreasonable amount of picks to trade up, but that’s a big sacrifice.

There are many reasons a team will tank for their future, but not even tanking means you will have great success right away. Look at the Houston Texans or even the Cleveland Browns for example. If you don’t pick the right combination of players, you won’t do well.

The Jacksonville Jaguars might have had the right two years to have back-to-back first-overall picks, though. Ending up with both Trevor Lawrence and Travon Walker, the Jaguars are starting to look like a team that can compete in the AFC South at least.

Tanking can be tough for an organization though. It’s hard to do it in the NFL because every player has something on the line. Are contracts coming up? Do they want to still play for a team that will just pack it in and not trust what is there? Is their career on the line?

The Colts are in an interesting position right now because they do have a ton of talent. In fact, they have two of their top three stars locked in for several years with new contracts. However, there is a glaring issue here on the Colts’ roster, and it’s the most important position.

Colts’ quarterback carousel must end in 2023

There are a lot of fingers being pointed at Frank Reich for the lack of success in Indianapolis. How much of this is on Reich and how much of this is on Chris Ballard? Since the two came to Indianapolis with Andrew Luck as their quarterback, they have seen Scott Tolzein, Jacoby Brissett, Brian Hoyer, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, and now Matt Ryan starting for the team.

Ballard has not been able to identify Luck’s replacement since his sudden retirement, either. That is an issue considering the team continues to claim they are just a quarterback away from a Super Bowl.

Since Peyton Manning last played a down for the Colts, there has been a huge turnover at the quarterback position. This must end, and it must end very soon!

Andrew Luck retired in August 2019, which was well after the draft, so the Colts could not have drafted a quarterback early if they really wanted to as a potential replacement. However, if the Colts knew that this might be down the pipeline, they should have thought about that in April.

The only notable QB that came after the Rock Ya-Sin pick in the second round was Drew Lock. Not really the player you want running a franchise, so not really a miss here. In 2020, the Colts didn’t have a first-round pick, after trading the 13th overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers for DeForest Buckner. Between the 13th pick and when the Colts picked, only Jordan Love was drafted.

However, in the second round of the 2020 draft, Jalen Hurts was selected. The Colts elected to draft Jacob Eason in the fourth round instead. Indy did select Michael Pittman Jr. and Jonathan Taylor with those two picks in the second round. Which would Colts fans prefer to have right now?

In 2021, the Colts took Sam Ehlinger in the sixth round but had the ability to trade up and select one of many quarterbacks. The Chicago Bears moved up to get Justin Fields. The Colts could have moved up from the 21st pick to obtain Fields or even Mac Jones. Instead, they rolled with Carson Wentz.

It just has been bad for the Colts. There have been elite-level quarterbacks in the draft since Andrew Luck’s retirement, but Chris Ballard has neglected to actually go get them. Tanking this season will help the Colts get their quarterback of the future.