Stephen HolderESPN3 minute reading
INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts are doing little to deny the widely speculated notion that they are considering trading up in the NFL draft.
Asked Wednesday at the scouting combine about the idea of trading up from the No. 4 overall pick, Colts general manager Chris Ballard didn’t exactly predict such a move, but he certainly left the door open.
Asked what it would take for the Colts to make an aggressive move to acquire a quarterback like Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ballard was emphatic.
“That we were just convicted of this is no doubt about the guy,” he said.
Ballard made an attempt to muddy the waters.
“I know all the speculation out there,” he said. “To move up, it’s got to be a guy who’s worthy of it. … Everyone has just automatically stamped that you have to go up to (No.) 1 to get it right. I don’t know if I agree with that . But that’s going to be the narrative, and that’s OK.”
But just moments later, Ballard went there again, saying, “If, when we get together as a staff and we say, ‘OK, this is what we have to do. This is the guy for the next 10 to 15 years, and we think he is the right guy,’ we’ll do it. But who’s to say we won’t get one at (No.) 4?”
The Colts have endured four seasons of quarterback upheaval in the post-Andrew Luck era, following the franchise quarterback’s retirement in 2019. The Colts haven’t been as well positioned to solve the problem in the years since, and Ballard acknowledged that comes with some expectation of that he will be aggressive.
“Let’s just say we stay at 4, I can just see the headlines,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we have to believe in who we take that we’re going to win with. And I think I said this a few years ago, it would be easy for us to just take one to get you off your ass. Mate, we have to be right and we want to be right. So we’re going to do our due diligence and in the end we’re going to take whoever we think is the best player.”
The rare opportunity to solve the quarterback problem didn’t come easily, Ballard added.
“It took a lot of pain to get there,” he said, a reference to the Colts’ 4-12-1 record that earned them their high draft slot. “But when you’re there, you have to take advantage of it.”
As for Young, the Colts openly talked about the size issues surrounding the player most often viewed as the top quarterback prospect and whether that would prompt them to select him.
“We’ve seen Hall of Famers who are 6-foot, we’ve seen Hall of Famers who are 6-5,” coach Shane Steichen said. “Again, it’s that ‘it’ factor, right? It’s not a deal breaker. We’ve seen it done. Drew Brees is a great example. He’s phenomenal.”
Ballard said, “He won a lot of fights on a big stage. It was never too big for him.”