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Colts Trade Back Options May Need to Include Player For Ballard to Bite

The Colts are looking to acquire picks, other teams are wanting to move up, but players could very well be involved to make the exchanges work

NFL: New York Giants at Oakland Raiders Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve been through most of the teams that may be interested in moving up to the No. 3 pick in the draft to get their player of choice. The Indianapolis Colts are technically in a place of strength with that pick, but the majority of their potential partners — Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals — have only one pick in each of the first two rounds to offer.

Granted, those teams could offer a future first, or second round pick in any trade possibilities, but you wouldn’t think letting go of any team’s first two picks would be that attractive despite some of their needs to land a franchise quarterback. On the other hand, the Buffalo Bills have 2 first- and second-round picks, the New York Jets have 2 second-round picks, and the Cardinals and Broncos have 2 thirds.

So, there are some options within the 2018 NFL Draft to acquire picks, but a couple other teams who could possibly be looking to grab that final piece to a specific position might be compelled to look ahead as well. The Oakland Raiders — who pick at either 9 or 10 depending on the coin-flip at the combine — and the Miami Dolphins who sit at 11th, may be looking to move up as well.

Now, regardless of who the Colts should potentially partner with in any trade scenario, especially if said team isn’t wanting to use multiple picks, there may be a need for them to offer something more. A young, talented player who fits within one of the Colts positions of need could be requested in order to get Chris Ballard to take the bait.

Let’s look at a few possibilities of a draft pick/player combination trades that the Colts may have some intrigue in while leveraging for their No. 3 overall pick.

Let’s just start at the earliest option of the Denver Broncos. The Broncos have the No. 5 overall selection, but are in need of a franchise quarterback at the moment. Naturally, this is pending any acquisition of Kirk Cousins or even Sam Bradford, but the need for the long-term answer can’t be denied just the same.

The Broncos have picks 5, 40, 71 and a compensatory pick at 99 in the first three rounds at their disposal to play with here. The Colts would be asking a lot in return and if the Broncos want to hold on to some of their picks they may have to sweeten their side of the deal with a player.

Among those who the Colts would find intriguing are Shane Ray (OLB), Max Garcia (G/C) and Bradley Roby (CB). All three are 26 or younger, will be free agents in the next two years and would fill a hole for the Colts within their massive rebuild. This isn’t to say that the Broncos would be willing to come off of some of their own young talent, rather you could bet that Ballard would want to kick the tires on these three in particular.

Next we have the New York Jets at No. 6 overall. Now, they have a nicer combination of early picks with the 6th, 37th and 49th selections within the first two rounds. But, again, let’s assume the Jets are wanting to hold on to some picks and Ballard is interested in a player in return for one of the picks.

The Jets have a young stud defensive lineman in Leonard Williams, but his being acquired would likely be highly contentious. They also have some young solid talent in Lorenzo Mauldin and Jordan Jenkins (both OLBs), and an interesting cornerback Rashard Robinson. Mauldin is 25 while Williams, Jenkins and Robinson are all 24 and this group of talent will also be free agents over the course of the next two seasons.

Are the Oakland Raiders one who might want to move up 6 or 7 spots? Look, even though it doesn’t seem likely right now, we never know who is going to do what and are almost annually surprised by a team or two. Oakland doesn’t have some exciting bundle of extra picks for the Colts to pry out of them, but they do have only a few legitimate needs with one of them being at ILB.

Roquan Smith is going to be a target for them, but they also need a corner and potentially a tackle as well. Let’s say they are wanting to make sure they get Smith and they aren’t offering the Colts enough draft capitol to get up there. The Colts have a real need at WR and the Raiders have Cordarelle Patterson who holds a catch rate of 74.1% over the last two seasons and is one helluva return man as well.

Patterson is going to be 27, which isn’t old by any means, and is scheduled to be a free agent after next season. The Raiders also have a young OLB in Cory James (25) who could supplement for a mid-to-late round pick as well. James tallied 56 tackles in only 10 games last season and has played, both, inside and outside positions in the linebacker role. Just a couple names to think about.

Let’s take a look at the Miami Dolphins who pick at 11, and also don’t have some abundance of early-round picks to offer. However, that WR need could be filled by Jarvis Landry (25) — who the Dolphins just franchised — and the Colts could use that No. 11 pick on whatever they chose to next. I would guess there would be another pick added in here given to the Colts in the fourth round or later, but this is very enticing if Landry was willing to sign a 3-year deal with the Colts.

You can argue about his YAC deficiencies last season, but you also must consider that he’s holding a 70.2% catch rate for his career and averages more than 5 touchdowns per season. That’s not a bad deal at all folks.

The Dolphins also have a tackle who could bring solid depth to the Colts offensive line in place of a pick if they aren’t willing to move certain selections from this draft. Ja’Wuan James is 25 and will be a free agent after the season and has 4 years of experience. I can’t say that I would mind this move either given the right package, but it’s something to think about.

Finally, let’s talk about who the Arizona Cardinals have that the Colts may find intriguing. In addition to their first- and second-round picks the Cardinals hold their third-round as well as a late-third compensatory pick. Not, a lot for a team with a ton of needs especially at quarterback.

One would think they are also interested in Cousins, and maybe Bradford, but if they miss out they’re going to try to move up to get their guy of the future. Deone Bucannon (S/LB) and Markus Golden (OLB) are both in the age range that Ballard is looking for, 27 and 25 respectively, and both have been uber productive when healthy too.

Golden racked up 12.5 sacks in 2016, but was sidelined with an ACL injury last season and only played in 4 games. Bucannon has played in 25 of 32 games the last two seasons but has still managed to be extremely productive and versatile. He’s averaging over 91 tackles per season in a role that the Colts could have some serious speed advantages in sub packages with he and Clayton Geathers on the field simultaneously.

Look, we assume that the Colts are looking to move off of the third pick for the right pull, but as we’ve shown here, not all of their potential partners have the picks to offer the Colts if they’re hoping to bolster their team this offseason with those picks. Maybe the Colts are in the hunt for players to make these moves happen. We shall see, but i’m getting my popcorn early this year.