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ESPN’s Bill Barnwell Proposes a Colts’ NFL Draft ‘Trade Down’ with the Saints in Round 1

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

According to ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints could find themselves as potential trade partners during the 2021 NFL Draft with his proposed deal between the two teams—among all thirty-two first round picks:

21. Indianapolis Colts

Colts get: 1-28, 3-98, 3-105

New Orleans Saints get: 1-21

The Colts need a left tackle to replace Anthony Castonzo. After trading their first-round pick last year for DeForest Buckner and then sending their third-rounder with either a first- or second-round pick to the Eagles to acquire Carson Wentz, though, they also need to replenish their draft capital.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard typically prefers to grab extra picks, and moving down here would net his team two compensatory selections in the third round. The Saints are in the market for help at cornerback and receiver, two positions the Titans (No. 22) and Jets (No. 23) could also target before them.

Per DraftTek’s trade value chart, the Colts would trade #21 overall (800 value) for the Saints’ #28 overall (660), #98 overall (108), and #105 overall (84), which would be Indianapolis sending out 800 in assigned value in return for 852 total value of New Orleans’ picks coming back.

Honestly, this sounds like a pretty solid deal for the Colts, and one that I could see them making in order to recoup some of the draft picks lost in the offseason’s Carson Wentz trade.

It’s worth noting that the Tennessee Titans select right after the Colts currently at #22 overall, and both teams have been linked to Oklahoma State offensive tackle Teven Jenkins throughout the draft evaluation process.

If Jenkins is head-and-shoulders better than any other offensive tackle prospect the Colts could draft at that spot or range (and this is assuming prized Virginia Tech left tackle Christian Darrisaw is long gone), Indianapolis may not want to risk trading down and losing him to an AFC South divisional rival—who they have to face twice a season in the trenches.

However, if the Colts believe that the draft’s other top offensive tackle prospects are comparable, say Texas’s Samuel Cosmi or Notre Dame’s Liam Eichenberg, and Indianapolis may be better served to trade down a few spots and acquire two extra third round picks in the process.

The Colts could also address defensive end or another position entirely.

That’s what makes the NFL Draft so fun.

There’s a lot of strategy, projection, and gamesmanship involved, and no one really knows what exactly will happen during draft weekend. However, to Barnwell’s point, the Colts and Saints do seem like potential trade partners—all things considered.