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Chris Ballard Says the 3rd Pick Will Be Available for Trade until the “last Minute”

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NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts find themselves in a good spot with the third overall pick in the draft. They have the option to take a talented player who should be able to be slotted in as a starter either on the offense or defense and help improve a roster in need of a talent infusion.

Opinions differ widely on who exactly that player should be, but if general manager Chris Ballard is to be believed, his phone will be on and the lines will be open to hearing any offers to trade out of that spot.

Ballard spoke with Colin Cowherd about draft strategy, and while he unsurprisingly did not give anything critical away about his draft strategy, he definitely gave strong conviction to the idea that the Colts would consider trade offers up to the very last minute. With Saquon Barkley’s stellar combine performance, some are wondering if the Cleveland Browns might take him first overall.

The New York Giants have been widely reported as being out of the running for a quarterback in this draft. If they were to take Bradley Chubb at No. 2, it would give the Colts some interesting leverage. Several teams are expected to be looking at drafting a quarterback, and with the Colts’ pick clearly for sale, they could potentially have their pick of the lot of them.

That creates the opportunity for the Colts to obtain multiple picks in this draft, or possibly picks in next year’s draft. They might not even need to move back all that far to get them. If the Colts like a guy who they believe will fall to the middle of the draft, they clearly won’t be afraid to trade back and take him.

Ballard clearly understands that this team is not just one good draft away from being a perennial Super Bowl contender. They will need to string together several very good drafts and free agency periods to arrive at that place. That means that moving back in this draft, when their capital has never been better, might be the best thing for this team.

Another thing that Ballard said that was interesting to me, was in reference to a question Cowherd asked about the NFL Combine. He asked if Ballard had any one part of the Combine that was particularly important to him. Ballard gave a very canned GM answer about how all aspects are important. In that answer, he said something worth noting. He talked about having 25-30 years of data that indicate how the Combine performance in certain drills can correlate to a player’s success for some positions.

This leads to my own little bit of pure speculation, so bear with me.

Chubb has been continually mocked to the Colts, but he had a pretty rough run at the 3-cone, which is a pretty useful indicator of success as a pass rusher. There are always exceptions to everything, and Chubb could have just had a bad run. Putting too much stock in a day of drills is the way you get in trouble.

But if Ballard is not all-in on Chubb to begin with, his numbers there might be enough to convince him to trade out and look elsewhere at someone who has a track record of production as a pass rusher in addition to blowing the doors off the Combine. Someone like Harold Landry. Landry may be a guy with higher upside than Chubb.

Okay, rampant speculation over.

Ballard went on to state that Andrew Luck would be throwing “soon” and still spouted the party line of not wanting to skip steps. I’ve heard that every time someone stops believing that Luck will return to full health, a team mascot dies. I don’t know if that is true, but for my part, I am going to try to keep those guys kicking and just hope for the best until there is more information.