For Colts to move up, ‘it’s got to be a guy who deserves to do it’

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 ‚Äč‚Äčtrading 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 unequivocal.

“That we’ve just been convicted that there’s no freaking doubt about the guy,” he said.

Ballard made some effort to muddy the waters.

“I know all the speculation out there,” he said. “To go up, there’s got to be a guy who deserves it. … Everybody just automatically stamped that you have to go up to (No.) 1 to do it right. I don’t know if I agree with that. But that’s going to be the narrative, and that it is OK”.

But moments later, Ballard went at it again, saying, “If, when we get together as a staff and say, ‘OK, this is what we have to do. He’s the guy for the next 10 to 15 years and we think he’s the right guy, “we’re going to do it. But who’s to say we’re not going to get one at (No.) 4?”

The Colts have endured four seasons of turmoil at the quarterback position in the post-Andrew Luck era after the franchise quarterback retired in 2019. The Colts haven’t been as well positioned to solve the problem in recent years, and Ballard acknowledged that comes with some expectation that he will be aggressive.

“Let’s say we stay at 4, I can see the headlines,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we’ve got to believe who we’re going to take that we’re going to win. And I think I said it a couple of years ago, it would be easy for us to take one to get you off our ass. Man, we have to to be right and we want to be right. So we’re going to do our due diligence and at the end of the day, we’re going to take who I think is the best player.”

The rare opportunity to resolve the quarterback issue wasn’t easy, Ballard added.

“It took an awful lot of pain to get there,” he said, a reference to the Colts’ 4-12-1 record that earned them their high draft spot. “But when you’re there, you’ve got to take advantage of it.”

As for Young, the Colts have been open about the size questions surrounding the player most consider the top quarterback and whether that will sway them from selecting 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 discontinued thing. We’ve seen it. Drew Brees is a great example. He’s phenomenal.”

Ballard said: “He won a lot of games on a big stage. It was never too big for him.”

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