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What was the Colts’ best draft trade of the past decade?

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Every year there are always a ton of draft picks that are traded and that wind up paying off in a big way for some teams and in a terrible way for others.

The Colts have seen both sides in recent years, but what has been their best trade involving a draft pick over the last decade? That’s the question that Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke sought to answer for each NFL team, looking at all of their trades that involved draft picks of the last ten years, from 2007-2016.

For the Colts, the trade is pretty obvious: the one that netted them T.Y. Hilton in the 2012 NFL Draft. Here’s what Burke wrote:

Close call for the Colts between this slight move up—from the top of Round 4 to the bottom of Round 3—and the 2012 trade with Miami that brought CB Vontae Davis to Indianapolis. The latter deal cost the Colts just a second-round pick in 2013 (No. 54), because Davis did not play enough snaps during the ’12 season to tack on a conditional sixth-rounder. Davis has missed just three games the past four years, and he’s now a two-time Pro Bowler.

Still, hard to quibble with the price tag on Hilton. For the low cost of a 2013 fifth-rounder (which San Francisco used on DL Quinton Dial), the Colts jumped five spots and drafted a player who led the league in receiving yards last season. Double whammy in 2012 for the 49ers, too: They moved pick No. 92 to the Colts, who took Hilton, and then traded pick No. 97 to Miami. The selection at that spot? RB Lamar Miller.

Selecting T.Y. Hilton might go down as Ryan Grigson’s best draft choice with the Colts. The pick of Andrew Luck with the first overall selection in 2012 had as much to do with Jim Irsay’s call as anything, and it was a pretty logical and easy selection. But trading up into the third round to draft a small wideout from FIU who has turned into one of the league’s best wide receivers was a home run move by Grigson and one that he deserves a lot of credit for.

The Vontae Davis trade, the other one that Burke mentioned, also has worked out very well for the Colts, but I absolutely agree that the Hilton trade should be the choice for the Colts on this list. In his first five seasons with the team, Hilton has caught 374 passes for 5,861 yards and 30 touchdowns, averaging 15.7 yards per catch. He has racked up four-straight 1,000-yard seasons and three Pro Bowl selections, while in the 2016 season he led the NFL in receiving yards. He was a perfect choice for the Colts because he has grown with quarterback Andrew Luck and developed a great rapport with him, and the two have become quite a fantastic duo.

I’d say making a draft-day trade to move up a few spots to select Hilton in the third round of the 2012 draft worked out very well for the Colts, and that’s the logical choice for their best draft trade of the past decade.