Back in 2016, when Chris Ballard was the Chiefs' director of football operations, the brain trust in Kansas City evaluated Carson Wentz leading up to that year's NFL Draft. And they were impressed with what they saw.
"We really liked him," Ballard told Jeffrey Gorman, Matt Taylor and Larra Overton on the Official Colts Podcast this week. "Once he started really rising up the board, we weren't ever going to be able to get close enough to get him. But we thought Carson was going to be a great pro coming in."
Wentz was picked second overall in 2016, with the Philadelphia Eagles aggressively trading up to select the quarterback from North Dakota State. In Philadelphia, he was paired with an offensive coordinator named Frank Reich.
By 2017, Wentz was playing at an extremely high level and the Eagles were among the best teams in the NFL.
"When you go back through the 2017 season when he was playing at an MVP level, there's a lot to get excited about," Ballard said. "And then re-uniting him back with Frank, who has shown and proven that any time he gets his hands on a quarterback he already has a relationship with there's a good chance it's going to be a good marriage and we're going to have success."
The Colts officially traded two draft picks to the Eagles for Wentz on Wednesday. The opportunity to re-unite Wentz and Reich has Ballard excited, not only for how much success they had together in Philadelphia but because of what the fourth-year Colts coach was able to do with Philip Rivers last year.
Reich spent three years with Rivers in San Diego as his quarterbacks coach (2013) and offensive coordinator (2014-2015) before their reunion in Indianapolis produced a postseason appearance.
"It's kind of like last year with Philip, it was kind of a unique opportunity with his relationship with Nick (Sirianni) and Frank," Ballard said. "And then we get another unique opportunity presented with us with one who has a connection with Frank. So we think we've got a young quarterback who still has upside and growth and we think Frank and the offensive staff will get the best out of him.
"... I have ultimate trust in Frank. Whatever he has, he's going to make sure he gets the most out of each and every player and do what they can do well. He's not going to put them in positions to where they're not going to succeed.
"And I think that's what makes some of the real unique offensive coaches in this league, that's what they do. And Frank is really special at it, him and the offensive staff. They're going to figure out what our guys can do and put them in a position to succeed. And I think they'll do the same with Carson.
"They'll put him in a position to do what he does well and why I think there's a high chance of success."