Chris Ballard passes first major test as Colts GM with flying colors

Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts fans should be proud of general manager Chris Ballard, who passed an important test by getting a huge haul for the third overall pick

Part of being a great general manager in any sport is knowing when you have leverage. The good ones use it when they have it, but the great ones use it effectively. With the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts had a ton of leverage. General Manager Chris Ballard used it perfectly, acquiring a huge haul from the New York Jets.

In exchange for the third pick in the draft, Indianapolis got the Jets first-round pick (sixth overall), two 2018 second-round picks, and a third second-round pick. On paper, it looks fine. You’d probably like to get an additional first rounder in the trade.

However, if we look at the value of the picks the Jets gave up, Ballard got an excellent return considering Indy only moved down three spots. The Colts got lucky, getting the third overall pick in a draft deep with quarterbacks.

Teams are obsessed with finding them. They’re willing to pay a lot to get them, even in the draft. Ballard deserves a ton of credit for taking advantage of a desperate team. Indianapolis gets a chance to overhaul their roster in the 2018 draft with four picks in the top 50, five picks in the top 100 and a sixth pick just outside of the top 100.

Ballard did a very good job in last year’s draft. If he plays his cards right, this one will be even better. Does Indy lose anything by dropping three picks? Likely not. Sure, they probably won’t get Saquon Barkley. But Quenton Nelson, Bradley Chubb, and Minkah Fitzpatrick are among the players who will still likely be on the board.

They’ll be able to draft at worst the third-best non-quarterback prospect available. If the Buffalo Bills panic and trade into the top five, that’s an even better scenario. One which might allow the Colts to draft Barkley.

Ballard still has to use his draft picks properly. Many before him had the ammunition but lacked the smarts to use it correctly. If the 2017 draft repeats itself, Ballard could have the Colts competitive fairly soon.

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