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 such as Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ballard was emphatic.
“That we were just convicted that this is no freaking doubt the guy,” he said.
Ballard did make some attempt to muddy the waters.
“I know all the speculation out there,” he said. “To move up, there’s got to be a guy worthy of it. … Everybody has just automatically stamped that you’ve got to move up to [No.] 1 to get it right. I don’t know if I agree with that. But that’s gonna be the narrative, and that’s OK.”
But more moments later, Ballard went there again, saying, “If, when we meet as a staff and we say, ‘OK, this is what we need to do. This is the guy for the next 10 to 15 years and we think he’s 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 have not been this well-positioned to solve the problem in the years since, and Ballard acknowledged that comes with some expectation that he’ll 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’ve got to believe in who we’re taking that we’re gonna win with. And I think I said this a few years ago, it would be easy for us just to take one to get y’all off our ass. Buddy, we’ve got to be right and we want to be right. So, we’ll do our due diligence, and at the end of the day, we’ll take who we think is the best player.”
The rare opportunity to resolve the quarterback issue did not come easy, Ballard added.
“It took a lot of freaking 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 need to take advantage of it.”
Regarding Young, the Colts spoke openly about the size questions surrounding the player most viewed as the top quarterback prospect and whether it would sway them from selecting him.
“We’ve seen Hall of Famers that are 6-foot, we’ve seen Hall of Famers that 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.”
Said Ballard: “He won a lot of games on a big stage. It was never too big for him.”