INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard talked to reporters after the conclusion of Thursday’s first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, in which the Colts decided to trade back out of the first round. What were the top takeaways from the session?
» The number of solid players available in the second round made the Colts comfortable with trading away the 26th-overall pick: Ballard on Monday, in his annual pre-draft press conference, alluded to the fact that the 2019 NFL Draft class wasn’t very top-heavy, but that the real value was going to be around picks 14 through 70. That’s what ended up playing out Thursday night, and when the Colts went on the clock with the 26th-overall pick, the team eventually got a call from Washington Redskins team President Bruce Allen, and the two sides agreed to send Indy’s 26th pick to Washington in exchange for the Redskins’ second-round (46th-overall) pick and their 2020 second-round choice. “It is why we made the move,” Ballard said. “We think the ability with the three two’s, we thought that was the strength of how we had it lined up and we will see tomorrow.”
» Ballard had a hunch as early as Monday that the team would likely be trading out of the first round: The third-year Colts general manager that day had ended his press conference laughing about the possibility of trading back, but that scenario was apparently already on his mind. “Monday. I kind of had a feeling, I don’t know why just sometimes you have a feeling that this is going to be the best,” Ballard said Thursday. “We had kind of counted in the first round guys we thought were worth the first-round pick and I had a feeling we were going to have a chance to get out and I thought it was going to be the best thing for us long term.”
» The Colts still see plenty of talent available at a number of positions: Many believed the Colts headed into the draft with needs along the defensive line, in the secondary and at wide receiver. And while Ballard believes there’s plenty of talent to be had at those spots with their second-day picks, he said other positions could also be addressed just due to the fact that they’ll typically lean on the best-available players when they go on the clock. “I think that there are still a lot of good players not only at wideout and corner. I think it’s still good at safety. I still think there are some d-linemen that are good. I still think there are a couple backers that are good. I still think there are good players in the second, third, fourth, fifth round that we are going to have a chance to get our hands on,” he said.
» “Some” of the Colts’ eight first-round targets remain on the board heading into Friday: Ballard said Monday that the team had a list of about eight prospects that it’d want to pick at No. 26, and acknowledged that some of those players would likely already be picked by the time the Colts went on the clock. And even though some of those players were still available when Indy actually did end up going on the clock, the Colts were comfortable enough to make the trade with the Redskins out the first round. Indy heads into Friday’s action with the second pick of the second round, and Ballard said after the conclusion of the first round that “some of those guys” on their list “are still on the board.”
» The Colts aren’t ruling out trading back again in Day 2: Ballard on Monday ended his press conference in a joking manner about trading back out of the first round, and it ended up happening. So what does he do on Thursday? He ends his press conference with another joke about trading back, this time out of the 34th pick. At some point, the Colts are going to have to make a selection, but there are still plenty of other teams who would likely be willing to part ways with some pretty valuable picks to select that high up in the second round — if the Colts are willing trade partners, that is. “That 34th pick is going to be very attractive to people,” Ballard said with a wink.