In one sense, an NFL team being open to trading down in the upcoming draft for the right price should be filed under “obvious.”
But at the same time, when the owner of a team says it in as direct of a way as Jim Irsay did today, it’s certainly worth noting.
That’s right, Jim Irsay said today that the Colts would certainly be open to trading down in the draft, in any round, to pick up more picks.
“We’re also looking, I think, to try to accumulate as many draft picks as we can,” Irsay said today at the league meetings, according to the Indianapolis Star’s Stephen Holder. “I don’t think we’d hesitate trading down if the situation was right in certain rounds to try to get a few more picks.”
The Colts currently hold the 15th overall pick in the first round and have picks in the second, third, fourth, and fifth rounds, with three picks in the fourth round. So they’ll have seven picks and six within the first four rounds, but they’re going to be open to making trades. The reasoning is actually quite simple: they know they’re in a rebuild and that building this team will take time.
“We really do feel now that we have to continue to build it the right way, meaning going young,” Irsay said. “It’s no secret that we’re really looking to reshape the roster, particularly on defense.”
That youth effort was not always an emphasis of the previous regime, and part of that falls on Irsay. The Colts entered win-now mode after the surprising 2012 turnaround, and that meant relying more on veteran free agent signings. That didn’t work out, and now with Chris Ballard in charge the Colts are focusing more on youth. They’re looking to rebuild the right way, and that will take time. So adding extra draft picks is an intriguing option.
Irsay’s approach this offseason seems to be a good and rational one, because he realizes that the ultimate goal is winning championships.
“I believe – and I’ve said it before – I’d rather have a chance to win two Lombardis and have a losing season or two than just be 8-8 or 9-7 and win no Lombardis,” Irsay said. “It’s about greatness, about championships.”
That’s a good quote from Irsay, but be sure to note that it plays into the mantra of the Colts being in a rebuilding phase right now. They’re looking to add young talent this offseason, and they know it won’t be an immediate fix. Thus, the willingness to trade down to pick up more picks.
Trading down always requires another team to trade up, however, and that’s often the hard part. Will teams be looking to trade up this year, particularly in the first round? If so, it sounds like the Colts will certainly be listening to offers.