Let’s talk about the NFL Draft. I know, I know, today is supposed to be about Free Agency, but you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think the NFL Draft is the crème de la crème of the Offseason. While I’ll be posting (with some help) a full 7 round mock draft in a few weeks, there is one pick I want to focus on right now, because the entire draft hinges on one team and one GM.
It’s not often we see teams in the top 3 of the NFL that already have an established franchise QB, but that is the case this year with the Indianapolis Colts, who hold the third pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Given the moves of the past few days, it seems more than likely that Saquon Barkley will be the Browns first overall pick, with the Giants following up with either Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold. Given the teams clamoring for a quarterback this year, what Chris Ballard and the Colts do will shift the strategy of the teams below them drastically. Here are the outcomes to watch for that third pick, first with teams looking to trade up.
Colts Trade Down
As it stands right now, the most likely move for the Colts to make is to trade down with a quarterback needy team so they can grab either Rosen or Darnold at 3. The most likely candidates are the Broncos, Jets, and Bills, who can all make tempting offers. The Broncos can offer the highest pick (5) but have only one other top-50 pick this year on top of that (40). The Jets are only one spot further down in the order, and have 3 top-50 picks they could send to Indy in exchange for moving up (6, 37, 49). While the Bills don’t have the top-10 pick their competitors do, the trade they made earlier this week certainly helps their case, and they are the only team that can offer multiple first round picks this year, as they have both the 12th and 22nd selections. You could also possibly see the Browns try to move up one spot from 4 by including one of their many first or second round picks in the next few years, in order to block these other teams and grab a quarterback if they think they can’t get their guy any later.
Obviously each team can also include future picks to sweeten the pot as well. The best offer will be determined by what exactly the Colts are looking for, so you’ll have to figure that out yourself, but if I were in Chris Ballard’s shoes, I’d be talking to the Jets first. The Colts can still get some much needed quality defensive help at the sixth spot, and would end up with 3 more picks in the top 50 after that. That being said, the Bills could end up offering the best future package (2019 + beyond picks), given that they were just a playoff team and want to expedite their improvement.
Colts Stay At 3, Pick Defensively
If the Colts are going to stand pat at 3, expect them to look to improve on the defensive side of the ball. There are 2 names that they should be choosing from, Bradley Chubb and Minkah Fitzpatrick. Chubb would give the Colts a much-needed boost up front, specifically as a pass rusher. Fitzpatrick is a do-it-all safety from Alabama, who could fit well playing next to Malik Hooker. Either way, it will be tough for Indy to screw this pick up, and both guys will also be targets for the Browns at 4 if their QB goes off the board at 3.
Colts Stay At 3, Take A QB
This is the unlikely, but most dramatic outcome for the third pick in this draft. The Colts supposedly have their franchise QB in Andrew Luck, but are picking so high because he was hurt for all of last season, as he has been for most of his career. It’s no secret that since drafting Luck in 2012, Indy has seriously mismanaged his chronic shoulder and rib injuries. Supposedly he will be ready for the start of the 2018 season, but there is speculation that the injuries are worse than are publicly reported, and that his throwing shoulder did not respond as well to surgery as the team has said. If the Colts were to take a quarterback at three, it would validate all of those rumors, and throw Andrew Luck into the discussion for biggest ‘what if’ in NFL history. A highly unlikely scenario, but it would serve as the major indictment of the Indianapolis Colts franchise that many have been waiting on for a long time.
What do you think will happen at pick number 3 in the NFL Draft this year? Will the Colts hold steady or make a trade? Am I off on how I assumed the first two picks would go? Let me hear it on Twitter @RealAlexBarth
–Alex Barth (@RealAlexBarth)