In his three drafts with the Indianapolis Colts, general manager Ryan Grigson has not been shy about trading draft picks. In 2012, he moved up to gain another third round pick in order to draft wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. Also in 2012, he traded the team's second round pick in 2013 in exchange for cornerback Vontae Davis. Then in the 2013 Draft, Grigson traded up to get defensive lineman Montori Hughes in the fifth round. Shortly after the 2013 season began, then, Grigson traded the team's first round pick in 2014 to get running back Trent Richardson.
By looking at just a few of the notable moves that Grigson has made involving trades for draft picks, we see that he's not afraid to pull the trigger to move up to get a player. We have yet to see him move down in the draft to gain more picks, but without a doubt Grigson will be monitoring the draft on Thursday night with the possibility of a trade in the back of his mind.
"I think it's all who's ringing that phone," Grigson said on Thursday in his pre-draft press conference. "It's all who's staring you in the face and screaming to you from the board. If there's an opportunity to get a really good player at the top of a round and we're sitting there down in the bowels of the round, then you start having those thoughts and discussions in there. We've done it in the past. We did it with T.Y. (Hilton). We did it for Montori (Hughes). But it's got to be that player that's kind of screaming at you. You don't know. He might still fall to you.
"We had a player last year," Grigson recalled, "that we were close to trading up for because we do so much investigative work. Our staff is so good about finding out where guys have been, what visits they've been on, who they've worked out privately. Then you kind of compare that against those team's needs, and you kind of just focus on who's going to take what. It's not an exact science, but it gives you a little bit of a feel at least for who's going to come off the board. Last year, sometimes patience works too. We had a guy last year that fell that we thought we'd have to move up in the round for and there he was sitting there for us. We got him. Sometimes that happens and then other times that guy comes off the board and Chuck (Pagano) puts his fist through the table. It happens."
Grigson was surely not going to reveal his plan a week before the draft, but he didn't rule out the possibility of a trade in the draft either. As he noted, it's all about how much you like the player and how much you think it's worth it to move up to get him. In the case of Hilton and Hughes, the Colts liked them enough and thought it was necessary to move up to get them. Last year, there was a player they considered moving up for who was still there when their original pick came around. It's all about weighing these things, and so that's why it's so hard to tell for sure right now whether the Colts will trade up in the draft. It's all about who is available and how much the Colts like them.
Furthermore, we can't rule out the Colts trading down in the draft either. When talking about the Colts' 29th overall pick, Grigson had this interesting comment: "It's not just a big talent grab. You have to be pretty specific and again, a lot of times, you really hope and pray that somebody you thought would be at picks 15 through 20 falls to that spot at the bottom of the draft because other areas I feel are pretty deep. We're hoping that happens and we don't get stuck."
That last part about not wanting to get stuck is interesting, and it seems to indicate that perhaps the Colts would be willing to trade down if there's nobody that falls that far in the draft, as the Colts don't see a huge gap in many of the positions and rather see a lot of depth. So we also can't rule out the Colts trading out of the first round if nobody they love in the first round falls to them, as they like the depth of the draft - and if that's the case, adding more picks later wouldn't be a bad option.
Jim Irsay, the team's owner and CEO, also won't rule out a trade. Per the Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder, Irsay said that, "It's not an impossibility that we'd trade down of or trade up even. So it'll be interesting as the day comes upon us."
Really, at this point we don't know, and we'll only be able to find out later this week when the draft starts. With nine picks in the 2015 NFL Draft, however, many fans don't expect Ryan Grigson to stay put for all of them. Of course, only the draft can dictate who they will take and whether or not they will make a trade, but one thing that is very clear is this: we can't rule it out with Grigson and the Colts, and that might make the upcoming draft that much more interesting for the Colts.