Unless Jacoby Brissett keeps the Colts afloat and Luck carries this team forward, Indianapolis’s playoff hopes seem exceedingly slim.
At 2-3, with three excruciating losses to NFC West teams, they seem closer to a top selection than they do to a playoff berth. While it is not out of the realm of possibility, winning the AFC South or gaining a wildcard spot is highly unlikely.
Unequivocally, Andrew Luck is an elite quarterback, but an awful roster around him does not help when the Colts look to compete. Since Luck is out until at least week six, the Colts are left bruised, battered, and inevitably bad.
Additionally, with the Colts’ poor start and porous roster have led some to believe that a top five pick is not out of the question. This is certainly not to the fault of General Manager Chris Ballard. In fact, a top selection would open the door for many opportunities with Ballard at the helm. But what if the Colts got the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft?
☑️Squats 525 for 5 reps
☑️Runs a 4.33
☑️Benches 225 for 30 reps
— Barstool Penn State (@PSUBarstool) October 6, 2017
Option 1: Draft Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The current Heisman favorite, and the top player on many draft boards, including mine, Saquon Barkley is a generational talent at running back. The kid could do it all, from breaking ankles, to catching passes, to bowling over defenders for a touchdown. Of course he is not a perfect prospect, as pointed out by Breaking Football’s own Michael Kist, but he is pretty damn close. Barkley can absolutely change an offense. An elite talent, Barkley is an every down back who will almost immediately become a top running back at the next level. This would subsequently change the Indianapolis offense. A dynamic runner to compliment T.Y. Hilton would open up more opportunities for Luck and co. in that passing attack. A reliable running back with big play ability would protect Luck and most certainly help out the play calling as well. While Barkley would not be alone in changing the Colts, he would have a significant role in this team’s turnaround. RELATED: Colts select Saquon Barkley in our latest mock draft
— Bradley Ylitalo (@NFL_drafthub) October 3, 2017
Option 2: Draft Connor Williams, OT, Texas
Additionally, Connor Williams is the consensus top tackle in this class. An injury has derailed his campaign thus far, but it looks as if surgery has been avoided. The offensive lineman in the class, Williams has Joe Thomas-like potential that, like Barkley, could change an offense. Protecting Andrew Luck will not only prolong his career, but it will also lead to more efficient play. Luck with a clean pocket is as dangerous as anyone and more time will only reduce his turnovers. The run game will also benefit, as obviously, a proficient blocker definitely helps. Keeping Luck healthy should be at the forefront of the Colts’ priorities, and drafting Williams supports this clause.
Minkah Fitzpatrick reads QB’s eyes, anticipates route & accelerates before ball is thrown, turning difficult cover assignment into easy INT. pic.twitter.com/JIfX2glUuC
— Rob Rang (@RobRang) October 8, 2017
Option 3: Draft The Best Defensive Player Available
In contrast to the other fairly certain options, this one is more wide open. To begin, we do not know who the best defensive player in the class is just yet, and it will surely be a widely-viewed controversial topic as the draft season moves on. Derwin James, my preliminary top defensive prospect is one potential option for the Colts. A versatile safety, James can do it all, though he has not been at his best during some parts of this season.
Another amazing defender is Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama’s defensive back that can truly only be summed up as really, really good. He may rise to my number one spot by the end of the year and his talent is undeniable.
Moreover, the front seven may be a point of emphasis in this year’s draft. Christian Wilkins would be a great addition in the trenches. Pairing a dominant force like Wilkins with Hankins on that defense could be special. Edge rushers Arden Key and Harold Landry are both exquisite talents that will benefit whatever team they join.
Anyhow, Ballard could have the opportunity to help out his defense big time with a premiere talent. With Luck at the helm, the Colts will score points, but holding teams will be what leads them to success.
Option 4: Trade Away The Pick To The Highest Bidder
Personally, this is the option I would go with. A once proclaimed “year of the QB”, teams will certainly be trading up to get their QB1. Running Backs have also emerged this year, and back-needy teams may be calling to get themselves a playmaker. With so many teams wanting to move up, the price of the first overall selection will drive itself up. The Colts can basically grant themselves a second draft by trading down, quickening the rebuild, and returning the Colts to success much sooner. Ballard will have a chance at rebuilding the defense and giving Luck both weapons and an offensive line to work with.
We have seen what the price for the first overall pick has been before, such as when the Rams and Titans swapped picks, and the Titans received two firsts, two seconds, and two thirds. If the Colts had that draft stock, the possibilities would be endless, and so would the wins.
So, there it is. The top four options that the Colts could pursue if they received the first overall pick. Once again, I would go with the last option, trading it away to receive an immense amount of draft capital for Chris Ballard to work with. Though the prospects are amazing this year, I would rather have three, four, or more top fifty players than being stuck with two for yet another draft. Barkley, Williams, James, and Fitzpatrick are all difference makers, but filling holes with competent pieces will put the Colts in a better position sooner rather than later, and that is what counts, because their franchise quarterback won’t be around forever. Their window is approaching, and the more talented prospects they acquire, the better they will be. In all likelihood, the Colts will not be bad enough to get the first pick in the draft, though their roster is worthy of it. Even if the Colts land a top five or ten pick, these options will still be available, though the trade return would not be as high. If and when the Colts receive an early pick in this year’s draft, Chris Ballard and the rest of the Indianapolis front office will surely have their hands filled.