The Indianapolis Colts hired a new head coach after searching for more than a month, but their offseason is just getting started. With rumors of the Colts trading up to acquire the No. 1 overall pick owned by the Chicago Bears, Colts owner Jim Irsay’s February 15 tweet has added to the speculation.
Irsay posted a photo of him riding a bear at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago as a child, captioned, “My relationship with the Chicago bears goes back more than 60 years…”
Currently holding the No. 4 pick, the Colts have not said much about their quarterback plans this offseason. Irsay did, however, reveal his draft intentions during new head coach Shane Steichen’s introductory presser on February 14.
Irsay Mentions Top College QB During Steichen’s Introductory Presser
While Irsay answered a question about the Colts’ roster, he addressed the Colts’ biggest remaining need this offseason: a quarterback.
“Offense in my mind can be a little more complex,” Irsay said. “It takes a longer time to develop, knowing that we’re going to have to find a young quarterback to develop. That’s a key factor.”
Quarterback has been one of the Colts’ biggest talking points since four-time Pro Bowler Andrew Luck retired in 2019. Since then, Indianapolis has only made the playoffs once.
“No one can shy away from the fact what quarterback means in this league and how we have to look going forward, where Shane and Chris really dig into this draft and really see where you’re at.” Irsay said. “Do you stay put? Do you trade up? There’s many things you can do. They (the Eagles) took Jalen [Hurts] in the second round.”
Ballard interrupted Irsay during his answer and jokingly said, “Trade back.”
“He (Ballard) likes picks,” Irsay answered while laughing. “Although the Alabama guy doesn’t look bad, I tell you.”
Given the context, Irsay is referring to Bryce Young, who won the 2021 Heisman Trophy.
Irsay could be hinting at the Colts having interest in Young, especially since the former National Champion is expected to be a top draft pick. If Indianapolis indeed wants to draft Young, they may have to trade up from No. 4.
No matter the meaning of Irsay’s statement, the Colts seem to be targeting a rookie signal caller rather than another veteran. The last time the Colts took a rookie quarterback in Round 1 was in 2012, when Luck went No. 1 overall.
Mock Drafts Continue to Project Indianapolis Trading Up
In January, a longtime Chicago Bears insider revealed a potential trade package the Bears could receive from the Colts for the No. 1 overall pick: “wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., potentially another player and a bevy of draft picks.” Shortly thereafter, a mock draft predicted the Colts will trade with the Bears to draft Young with the first pick.
Even now, ESPN’s Todd McShay suggested Indianapolis could move up to No. 1 for Young in his mock draft 2.0 released on February 15.
Steichen’s track record with Hurts, Philip Rivers and Justin Herbert made him stand out as a coaching candidate, as he showed he can cater to any quarterback’s strengths. Like Hurts, Young is mobile and able to throw on the run.
Another aspect of Steichen’s hiring is that he will be calling the plays in 2023, but will still need offensive support as Colts interim play caller Parks Frazier signed with the Carolina Panthers. Steichen said his next step as head coach is to begin assembling his coaching staff.