Indianapolis Colts’ draft pick trades hampering organization

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2). Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2). Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

Over the past couple of seasons, the Indianapolis Colts have tried extremely hard to turn their roster into a Super-Bowl contender. Sensing they were close to winning the sluggish AFC South, the team sent multiple picks away with the hopes of finding their next starting QB. Instead, the Colts draft pick trades have seriously impacted the future of the organization and the job status of GM Chris Ballard.

Colts Draft Pick Trades: The Carson Wentz Experiment

Hoping to pair the once MVP candidate with his former offensive coordinator, the Colts sent a conditional first round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for Carson Wentz. The team had hoped that Frank Reich could get Wentz back towards his potential and ensure the team didn’t miss a beat following the retirement of Philip Rivers.

The parameters of the pick were if Wentz played 75% of Colts offensive snaps the pick would turn into a first rounder in 2022, a metric that was hit in December. Eventually the Eagles would walk away with pick 16 and pick 84 in 2021 from the Colts.

Meanwhile, Wentz struggled in Indianapolis, and after a week 18 collapse in Jacksonville assured the team would miss the playoffs, Wentz was sent to Washington along with picks 47 and 236 for picks 42, 73 and a conditional third next year based on Wentz’s playing time. With Carson injured, it’s very unlikely it will vest.

Meanwhile, the Eagles third round pick was used by Philly to help trade up for DeVonta Smith with the pick eventually being used to select Chauncey Gholston. While the 2022 first rounder was eventually traded to Washington who selected standout (but injured) wide receiver Jahan Dotson.

While the Colts ended up with 1 season of Carson Wentz and picks 42, 72 and a conditional 3rd, the Eagles wound up with DeVonta Smith (sent their 1st rounder to Dallas with pick 84), A.J. Brown and a 2023 first round pick from the Saints.

Colts Draft Pick Trades: The Matt Ryan Experiment

They say in business that it’s always smart to eliminate a mistake once you realize it has been made and to never hold on to a bad investment. It’s pretty clear the Colts understood this with Wentz. He was shaky as the starting quarterback and apparently not a great fit in the locker room.

The one part of the lesson Indianapolis apparently didn’t learn was to not repeat the same mistakes. After acquiring picks from Washington, they immediately turned around and sent pick 84 to Atlanta for the privilege of Matt Ryan’s remaining contract.

It was announced that Ryan has been benched in Indy for non-injury related reasons. Regardless, if the Colts cut him this off-season, they’ll still be on the hook for a whopping $18 million. Meanwhile, the Colts bailed out the Falcons by taking on the contract and even sent a third round pick.

Colts Draft Pick Trades: The Impact

Finally, the Colts draft pick trades have left the team short on young, controllable, high-end talent. Losing the ability to draft a Jahan Dotson-caliber player or to fill out the roster with other young talent.

Meanwhile, the consequences of trading all of these picks for quarterbacks has done little to appease owner Jim Irsay. Already known for being a bit of a hot head, the owner surely cannot be happy seeing quarterback after quarterback fail in Indianapolis.

Either these Colts draft pick trades were always flawed from the start or the Colts’ coaching staff has been unable to bring out the best from these players. Either way, it’s an indictment on GM Chris Ballard whose days in Indianapolis appear to be running out.