Skip to main content

Colts general manager Chris Ballard open to trading up or down in draft if situation is right

Though most of the pre-draft discussion leading into Thursday's festivities has centered on which teams could move up into the top few picks, Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard quipped Friday in his pre-draft news conference that reporters seemingly already expect him to trade down, saying that he can "already see the article."

Though he joked about it, Ballard was clear that right now he feels there's a possibility the Colts could move either direction in the order, if the situation is right.

"History, I just go off history. And you know, the more picks you have, the better chance you have to hit. Now, of course, you're not going to hit on all of them, but it gives you more of a chance to hit," Ballard said. "Look, we've moved up, we moved up for Jonathan Taylor. When we see one that's in striking distance that we think we can go get, we'll do it. But it's got to work out. And then you've got to have too, you've got to have somebody that wants to make the trade."

As he referenced, in his seven seasons as the Colts GM, Ballard has completed pivotal trades where he moved in both directions, with some of the cornerstones of the franchise coming to Indianapolis via a carefully crafted pick exchange. In 2020, a deal with the Browns to move up to the No. 41 pick overall netted him Taylor, who needless to say, has played a vital role for the offense since joining the team. And earlier in that same draft, the Colts selected wide receiver Michael Pittman with a second-round pick they acquired from trading out of the first round in 2019. The wideout has rewarded them with two 1,000-plus receiving yard seasons so far, and just signed a new extension.

Whether Ballard makes a move with this year's No. 15 pick will likely come down to what happens with the first few selections of the draft. The GM wouldn't rule out trading up a few picks for a player they feel is "unique and a difference-maker," but moving down could prove to be more fruitful with increased opportunities to find the diamond in the rough, as he said.

The Colts are on the lower end of the pick spectrum with only seven selections. Only four teams are set to pick fewer times (nine others also have seven picks), making increasing the quantity of capital through trading down a possibly appealing option.

As for what positions Indy could be targeting with their first few picks, wherever they end up picking,'s Chad Reuter has cornerback, safety, running back, wide receiver and interior offensive lineman as needs for the Colts.

Ballard specifically highlighted the depth at wideout and offensive line. The Colts have a solid trio of Pittman, Alec Pierce and Josh Downs at WR, but nevertheless could use some depth there. Similarly, though Indy's lost none of its starting offensive linemen from 2023, Ballard repeatedly emphasized that protection is "always first and foremost," especially with sophomore signal-caller Anthony Richardson set to return from shoulder surgery.

"There's a few positions that's got some real depth," he said. "Like the O-line in this draft is really excellent, and there's depth throughout. I truly believe you're gonna get a really good player in those mid-rounds and even some later, because of the depth of the group. And wideouts very similar. Those two position groups stand out, they're both really good."

The Colts and the rest of the league will see how the picks shake out starting Thursday evening in Detroit.

Related Content