INDIANAPOLIS – The advice is unsolicited, but there’s no doubt the issue is front and center whenever the Indianapolis Colts consider their options with the No. 4 overall pick in the April draft.
Move up. Don’t sit still and run the risk of getting a lesser quarterback. Remember, all that’s on the line is the future of the franchise.
Shimmying up to the top of the draft is the best option for the Colts, according to Daniel Jeremiah.
“I would not be sleeping well at night if I was just going to sit and hold tight there at No. 4,’’ the NFL Network draft analyst said on a Friday Zoom conference call.
The Colts have ridden a veteran quarterback carousel since Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement prior to the 2019 season. From Jacoby Brissett to Philip Rivers to Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan.
The April draft offers an ideal time to take a different approach. Jeremiah has Alabama’s Bryce Young listed as his top quarterback and third-best prospect. But right behind are Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud (11th overall), Kentucky’s Will Levis (12th) and Florida’s Anthony Richardson (13th).
Jeremiah’s advice: target one and go get him. Make a trade with the Chicago Bears, who hold the No. 1 overall pick, and keep Houston from moving up from No. 2. The Texans also need a quarterback of the future.
“If you have conviction of who that guy is . . . where their position is as an organization it makes sense for them to be more aggressive than Houston would be,’’ he said. “If you have that conviction, just go up and get him.’’
Staying at No. 4 comes with risks. Along with the Texans, the Carolina Panthers, who sit at No. 9, also need a young quarterback.
“There is a lot that can happen,’’ Jeremiah said. “You might have one that you love, one that you really like and then it drops off, and nobody knows what order that is.’’
Moving up to No. 1 would come at a steep cost. The Bears might want to recoup 120% of the value of the No. 1 overall pick, according to most trade value charts.
To gain the No. 1 pick from Jeremiah’s research, the Colts might have to part with No. 4 and No. 35 in this year’s draft, a 2024 first-round pick and a 2025 second-rounder. They could get a 2024 fourth-rounder from the Bears.
“You have to pay a premium if you’re going to come up for a quarterback, which is great news for the Bears,’’ Jeremiah said.
There was no hesitation listing Young atop the quarterbacks.
“In terms of the ability, it’s all there in every type of throw you want to make,’’ Jeremiah said. “He can drive it, he can layer the ball, he can make plays on schedule, off schedule. The talent is exceptional.’’
Young’s credentials are impeccable: 2021 Heisman Trophy, 80 touchdowns against 12 interceptions, 65.8% accuracy. The only issue: size. He’s listed at 6-foot, 194 pounds. Jeremiah expects Young to check in at 200 pounds at next week’s NFL Scouting Combine.
“It’s still going to be a concern,’’ he said. “You’re always going to be a little bit nervous just about the durability because of the frame. He’s got such good awareness and feel. I think he’ll be able to protect himself because of that.’’
As much as Jeremiah favors Young, he believes Stroud is just a notch behind.
“I’d be fine with it,’’ he said of coming out of the draft with the Ohio State standout. “I like Bryce Young better on the tape, but I think C.J. Stroud is a really good player. I think he’s just a pure thrower. The big question about him that’s been talked about is, ‘OK, not a lot of off-schedule, not a lot of play-making.’
“I think Bryce Young is a better player, but I would not be totally bummed . . . with C.J. Stroud.’’
If the Colts decide to move up to No. 1, it would mark the fourth time since 1990 they’ve had the first overall pick and used it on a quarterback: 2012 (Andrew Luck), 1998 (Peyton Manning), 1990 (Jeff George).
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