INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Cleveland Browns are in the driver’s seat, but let’s get one thing perfectly clear regarding the April 26 NFL Draft as it pertains to the Indianapolis Colts.
The New York Giants most assuredly will steer the proceedings.
The Giants sit No. 2 in the pecking order and how they choose to invest that lofty pick undoubtedly will create a ripple effect that finds its way to the Colts, who hold the sixth overall pick following their decision to trade down with the New York Jets. The Giants’ decision Thursday to trade pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul to Tampa Bay only muddies the water.
The Colts need immediate, significant help at virtually every position, save quarterback, and general manager Chris Ballard put himself in position to do precisely that by dealing with the Jets. While sliding down from 3 to 6, he acquired two additional second-round picks in April’s draft and a second-rounder in 2019.
That’s four of the top 49 picks, five of the top 67 and nine overall.
But all the focus is on the No. 6 slot.
Ballard was adamant after the Jets trade that he wanted to remain in the top-10 “where we could still get a premium player.
“We feel like at 6 we’ll still be able to acquire a premium player,’’ he told Colts.com.
We should anticipate another run on quarterbacks at the top of the draft; teams desperate to find their franchise QB do desperate things. No one should be surprised if QBs go 1-2-3 for the first time since 1999, and a fourth quarterback could be among the top 5.
That scenario wouldn’t bother the Colts in the least and leave them with an attractive option at 6: N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley or Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson. Which one(s) might still be on the board when Ballard is on the clock probably hinges on what Giants general manager Dave Gettleman does at No. 2.
The Giants’ options include:
- Staying put and finding a suitable replacement for 37-year old-quarterback Eli Manning. That would be UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, USC’s Sam Darnold or Wyoming’s Josh Allen, whichever isn’t snatched by the Browns. If, that is, the Browns take a QB.
- Staying put and giving Manning an explosive running back. That would be Barkley.
- Staying put and replacing Pierre-Paul with Chubb.
- Following Ballard’s lead and trading back with a team eager to move up for a QB, perhaps the Buffalo Bills. That could assure a 1-2-3 run on QBs, which wouldn’t bother Ballard in the least.
And since we’re talking hypotheticals, it’s entirely possible Ballard slides back yet again. If a player he covets isn’t available at 6 or if a team – Buffalo, which has picks 12 and 22, comes to mind; also Arizona, at 15 – offers an enticing package of additional picks, Indy fans should brace themselves for more backward mobility.
The draft is less than five weeks away. That’s plenty of time for plenty of wild speculation, and plenty of time for the New York Giants to figure out what in the heck they’re going to do.