The Indianapolis Colts may have to depart with a plethora of high draft picks in order to trade up in the 2023 NFL draft. It’s not ideal, but it’s a necessary evil to land the quarterback of their choice.
However, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell proposed a 3-team trade that would somewhat limit the amount of draft value the Colts would need to give up to acquire the No. 1 pick. Shockingly, the proposal involved both quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Justin Fields.
Barnwell’s proposition has the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens swapping signal callers. The Colts would receive Chicago’s No. 1 pick and two fourth-round selections (2024 and 2025) from the Ravens.
In return, Indianapolis would send its No. 4 selection and 2024 first-round pick to Baltimore. The Colts would also ship their 2024 second-round choice and 2025 third-round selection to the Bears.
Potential for Colts to Land Better Deal in 3-Team Trade
Deputy sports editor Nat Newell of The Indianapolis Star researched into recent NFL draft trade history and came to the conclusion that it would cost the Colts at least two first-round picks and a second-rounder to move up from No. 4 to 1 this year.
That’s exactly what The Athletic Dane Brugler predicted to happen in his latest NFL mock draft on March 7. He proposed the Colts ship the No. 4 and 35 overall picks and a 2024 first-rounder to the Bears for the top pick.
In Barnwell’s proposal, the Colts still depart with two first-rounders and a second-rounder, but the second-round choice wouldn’t be until 2024.
There are some negatives to Barnwell’s proposition. The Colts wouldn’t have a pick until the third round in 2024. They would also lose their 2025 third-round pick.
But in return, the Colts would receive two fourth-rounders in 2024 and 2025. While those aren’t high-profile picks, they are early Day 3 selections that could help the team’s future depth.
Barnwell’s scenario may be preferable for Ballard because it pushes off the Colts losing their second-rounder until 2024. That would allow Indianapolis to add another top 35 player this year to help the team’s rookie quarterback.
Colts’ Rookie QB Preference?
For the Colts to make any type of trade up the draft board, their organization will first have to fall in love with one of the signal callers in the 2023 class.
The media probably won’t receive any indication of if that’s happening until a deal is or isn’t made. This offseason, most of the mock drafts that have the Colts trading up to No. 1 have them selecting Alabama’s Bryce Young.
However, Brugler projected the Colts to move up for Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud.
Florida’s Anthony Richardson could be in play as well. Pro Football Focus’ Mike Renner called Indianapolis the ideal landing spot for Richardson, who broke several records at the NFL combine.
Although he’s not widely regarded as the top quarterback, the Colts could trade up for the Florida signal caller to ensure they land him. Or, Ballard could stay put and select Richardson at No. 4. A vast majority of NFL mock drafts predict he will be available with the fourth pick.
The 2023 NFL draft class is not short on quarterbacks, which gives the Colts options. With a 3-team trade, the Colts appear to have different ways of moving up the draft board too.