I was watching Brett Kollman’s video on how the Bears can pull off their rebuild this year. He was saying the Bears should trade with the Colts, giving Indy the #1 pick with the Bears taking over the #4 spot in the draft. The price for this for Indy would be obviously the 4th pick, but also a 2nd and a 3rd round pick this year, plus next year’s first round pick.
The logic is that Indy would get to move up ahead of the Texans, their division rivals, and snipe whichever quarterback they want rather than being left with the guy that Houston doesn’t take.
But if I’m Indy, I would not be so quick to make this trade.
Giving up next year’s first and your 2nd and 3rd this year is a steep price that could hinder the rebuild. 2nd and 3rd round picks are extremely valuable, and I would be highly reluctant to part with them.
If Indy stays at 4, they are going to get one of the top 2 quarterbacks in the draft, either Bryce Young or CJ Stroud. The Bears are not taking a QB at one, and neither are the Cardinals at 3.
In my view, let Houston take Bryce Young. He’s a playmaker, he’s great, I get it–but he’s tiny. I think he’s too small. I would never draft a quarterback that small with a draft pick inside the top 4. I just wouldn’t. If I’m drafting at the top of the first round, I’m taking a quarterback that has prototypical size. I want a guy that’s not going to get tossed around like a ragdoll out there.
People will point to Kyler Murray and how he’s been just fine in the NFL. Yeah, true. But Bryce Young is even smaller than Kyler Murray. Kyler Murray has some thickness to him; he’s got big, treetrunk thighs. Bryce Young is short and slender. Plus, I don’t think he’s as fast as Kyler Murray is.
If I’m Indy, I would gladly let Houston draft Bryce Young. I’d rather have CJ Stroud, who has prototypical NFL size, an insanely accurate arm, and underrated mobility.
I’m just not an advocate of taking undersized quarterbacks at the top of the first round.
Players that go at the top of the first round are supposed to be “the full package.” There isn’t supposed to be any “Yeah, but” with a player drafted in the top-3.
Bryce Young is a “Yeah, but” prospect. He is an incredible quarterback talent with escapability, playmaking and ability to throw on the run. Yeah, but he’s also 5’10 and 185lbs.
That’s what I mean about him being a “Yeah, but” prospect. There’s a catch.
You don’t take a “Yeah, but” prospect #1 overall.
You take a guy like Jalen Carter or Will Anderson that high. Those guys have no “Yeah, buts”. Obviously they’re not completely flawless prospects–nobody is–but they’re about as close as you can get.
So if I’m Indianapolis, I’m looking at the teams ahead of me in the draft–Chicago, Houston and Arizona–and thinking to myself, “Well I know the Bears aren’t taking a quarterback at one. The Cardinals won’t take one at three, either. And Houston is probably going to draft Bryce Young.”
And so if I’m the Colts, I’m sitting back at #4 and letting CJ Stroud fall to me, and then drafting him without giving up my 2nd and 3rd rounder this year, as well as my first rounder next year.
I think CJ Stroud is a better pro prospect than Bryce Young is. He looked sensational against Georgia, and would have won the National Championship this year if Ohio State’s kicker didn’t shank it at the end.
Imagine if Ohio State’s kicker just hit that kick, Ohio State beats Georgia, Ohio State then goes on to roll TCU in the National Championship game–how would we be talking about CJ Stroud then? He would be the unquestioned #1 pick in the draft. Everyone would be talking about how he’s a winner, he’s clutch, he’s got that dawg in him, he’s got the heart of a champion, he showed incredible resilience after losing to Michigan, he’s gone up against the best of the best in the SEC and won.
I’m telling you, CJ Stroud would be a lock to go #1 overall if Ohio State’s kicker had just made that game-winning kick.
CJ Stroud did enough to win that game. He scored 41 points on Georgia and got his team into field goal range at the end to kick the game-winner. They did not lose that game because of him.
If Indy is smart they will happily sit tight and take Stroud at #4.
There is always the possibility that sentiment could change around the league and Stroud could become the consensus #1 pick over the next few months. Things are always fluid with the draft. I remember in 2018, Sam Darnold was always the consensus #1 pick, until he wasn’t. Suddenly, momentum began gathering for Baker Mayfield, and before we knew it, Baker Mayfield was drafted first overall despite the fact that a few months prior people were saying he might not even go in the first round at all.
From 2017-2020, it was conventional wisdom that Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields would go 1 and 2 in the draft whenever they were eligible. And it seemed that way up until a few months before the 2021 draft, when suddenly Justin Fields began sliding down the draft board for whatever reason, and wound up going at pick 11. Somehow Zach Wilson and Trey Lance jumped him, which I thought at the time was moronic.
Things can change. It wouldn’t be shocking to me if the league suddenly flips on Bryce Young and CJ Stroud and the consensus becomes that Stroud should go #1. If Bryce Young gets to the combine and measures in at 5’10” and 185lbs, which I kind of expect, and Stroud comes in at like 6’3″ 225lbs, things probably will change. Stroud might also run a faster than expected 40 time and that will make it hard to put anyone over him.
So if the consensus changes and Stroud becomes the #1 prospect, then I think it would be smart of Indy to trade with the Bears and get that #1 pick to make sure they get the first crack at the quarterbacks ahead of Houston.
The situation I wouldn’t want is Houston taking Stroud at #2 and then the Colts having to take Young or Levis at #4.
There’s also another scenario that could complicate things: if Indy stands pat at #4, there’s the possibility that somebody else trades with the Bears and takes the #1 spot, meaning there are now two QB-needy teams ahead of the Colts in the draft, and Indy will likely be left with Will Levis at pick 4.
But I don’t think this is going to happen because I don’t think the Bears want to trade down any lower than #4.
The Bears want to get either Will Anderson or Jalen Carter. I don’t know who they prefer out of those two (my guess would be Carter) but they definitely want to get one of those two.
Moving down in the draft past the 4th spot means they won’t be able to get either of them.
If the Bears trade with, say, Vegas, who has the 7th pick, then that means the Bears won’t be able to get Anderson or Carter. Arizona is going to draft one of the two, and then Seattle or Detroit would take the other one.
The Bears don’t want that. They know that they can only trade with either Houston or Indy.
At least I hope the Bears know that. They have to end up with either Anderson or Carter. They need to get a generational player on defense. They cannot end up with a Myles Murphy or a Bryan Bresee, or a Tyree Wilson at #7. Those guys are good prospects, but they are not on the level of Anderson and Carter.
But I think the Bears are at least not dumb enough to fumble the bag here.
And so Indy would know that it’s unlikely some other team jumps them and moves into the #1 spot. I don’t think it’s likely that Las Vegas or Carolina or Atlanta jumps up into the #1 spot, because I don’t think the Bears want to move down that far.
So again, the Colts are safe if they just sit tight at #4. They’ll still be able to get Stroud or Young. I don’t think they have to worry about somebody jumping them and then being left with Levis.
What about Arizona? What if somebody trades up for Arizona’s pick?
Possible, but I think Arizona also realizes that they need to end up with either Carter or Anderson, so there’s really not a huge incentive for them to trade down.
The fact that Anderson and Carter are such phenomenal prospects means teams like Chicago and Arizona who don’t need quarterbacks still have a lot of incentive to hold on to their high draft picks. This works in the Colts’ favor.
Bottom line, I don’t think the Colts have to trade up to #1.
And thus since the Texans know this, then they also have no incentive to trade up to #1. Because the only reason Houston would trade up to #1 is simply to prevent Indy from doing it before them. But if Houston doesn’t think Indy will trade up to #1, then they won’t do it either.
I think the Bears are going to end up not being able to trade the #1 pick and just drafting Anderson or Carter at #1.
The only way this changes is if the league suddenly coalesces around the idea that Stroud is the #1 prospect and Bryce Young starts to fall out of favor a bit. At that point Houston and Indy will really be gunning for the #1 pick.
But right now, I think the Colts would be perfectly happy to let Houston take Bryce Young at #2 and then let Stroud fall to them at #4. There is no real need for the Colts to give up a king’s ransom to move up to #1. They’re smarter just standing pat, holding on to their draft assets, and picking Stroud at #4.