Chris Ballard says there’s no guarantee Colts will select a quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft

Chris Ballard, general manager of the Indianapolis Colts speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Chris Ballard, general manager of the Indianapolis Colts speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Everyone expects the Indianapolis Colts to use the No. 4 pick in the draft on a quarterback but Chris Ballard warns that may not happen.

Once it became clear that the Indianapolis Colts weren’t going to do anything productive this past season, fans begin to hope that Indy would lose. The more they lost, the better the 2023 Draft position. Losing is never fun but having a high draft pick is very beneficial for the future of the franchise. For the Colts specifically, fans were wishing for a high draft pick so that Indy could select its franchise quarterback of the future. When Week 18 concluded and Indianapolis locked up the No. 4 pick, fans started to rejoice as they envisioned Bryce Young or CJ Stroud taking snaps for the Colts next season.

Unfortunately, Indy’s general manager, Chris Ballard, is here to rain on the fans’ parade. On Tuesday, during Ballard’s end-of-season press conference, he let the media know that the Colts aren’t entering the draft season locked into drafting a quarterback. Ballard said that everything will be on the table with the No. 4 pick, including trading back, and that Indy won’t just take any quarterback out of necessity, regardless of how much of a struggle the position has been for the franchise in recent years.

Could this just be general manager talk and an example of Chris Ballard keeping his cards close to his chest? Probably but that didn’t seem like the case. It truly seems like Ballard and the Colts aren’t entering the evaluation and draft phase of the offseason fixated on taking a quarterback. While it will definitely upset a lot of people if Indy doesn’t go QB in the draft while one of the top guys is still on the board, Ballard is taking the right approach.

Do Colts have to select a quarterback in the 2023 Draft?

The best case scenario for Indianapolis would be the team falls in love with a prospective quarterback during the pre-draft process, they get to draft him, and he becomes everything the franchise hoped he would be. That’s the optimism that the team and fans should be entering the offseason with. However, what if that’s not the case? What if Indy starts evaluating prospects and just isn’t sold on what they’re seeing up close? Should the Colts still select a QB at No. 4 just because they really need one, even if they aren’t in love with any of the available guys?

Maybe. Sometimes you just have to take a gamble and things can end up working out better than expected. That should be rare though, especially when it comes to drafting a quarterback. With the emphasis the league puts on quarterbacks, teams have to be sure when they’re using a high draft pick on a guy. When things go wrong for a rookie quarterback, they usually go disastrously wrong for the franchise. Indy has seen how underwhelming veteran quarterbacks can set the team back for a year but a rookie that doesn’t pan out can set the team back for multiple years.

When the veterans don’t work out in Indianapolis, the team just moves on after a season. With a rookie quarterback, it’s somewhat mandatory to see the pick through for a few seasons. By doing so, the team could miss out on other quarterbacks that they are way higher on. That’s why it’s important to not always reach on a quarterback out of necessity. That’s likely why Ballard isn’t guaranteeing a quarterback selection.

Ultimately though, the hope is that either Bryce Young or CJ Stroud is as good as advertised and the Colts could end up with one of them and have stability at the quarterback position for years to come.