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INDIANAPOLISThe feeling of trading for Chris Ballard began back at the start of the week.


And the man who is all-in on a rebuild through the draft, has once again provided himself with key draft capital moving forward.


“I don’t know why, just sometimes you have a feeling that this is going to be the best,” Ballard said of his trade back decision, with the clock approaching midnight on Thursday. “We had kind of counted in the first round guys we thought were worth the first round pick and I had a feeling we were going to have a chance to get out. And I thought it was going to be the best thing for us long term.”


The return of moving back 20 spots, from 26th overall to 46th overall with Washington, does come with the Colts receiving a very enticing 2020 second-round pick from the Washington Football Team.


Stockpiling picks and believing in his scouts is obviously there for Ballard, but Thursday’s decision also came thanks to how this 2019 draft class is largely being viewed.


With 15 offensive and defensive linemen (annual favorites of Ballard) going in the first 25 picks on Thursday, that additionally confirmed the desire to go ahead and move out of Round One.


Well before Thursday, Ballard and many draft analysts stated that the evenness of this draft class, from the midway point of Round 1 and into the early parts of Round 3, made the idea of trading back on Thursday intriguing.


“It is why we made the move,” Ballard said of that depth in Rounds 2 and 3. “We think the ability with the three (second round picks now), we thought that was the strength of how we had it lined up…


“Everybody lines their boards up a little differently, ours just happens to be lined up where the strength of the draft is right now for us.”


One of the fallers on Thursday night happened to be a player that went with the Colts original selection of No. 26.

Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat went from a consensus top-15 pick earlier this week/month, all the way down to the Washington Football Team at No. 26. The freakish pass rusher, who had 21.5 sacks in the last two years in the SEC, reportedly fell over concerns about the size of his heart.


Not debating the heart issue, Sweat looked to be the guy who could have potentially filled the Colts’ biggest need moving forward.


But, like numerous teams, the Colts chose to pass on the 6-6, 260-pound defensive end, who ran 4.42 in the 40-yard dash at February’s Combine.


When asked about Sweat’s heart issue on Thursday night, Ballard elected not to address it, offering:


“I don’t want to get into details,” the GM said. “Good player though, he is a very talented player.”


The Colts will now focus their attention on 4 picks Friday, trying to duplicate the impressive haul they came away with last year on Day Two of the draft.


Ballard did say late on Thursday that a couple players remain from the 8-person cluster that was in play for him at pick No. 26.


Overall though, it was the depth of this year’s draft and the appeal of continuing to rebuild with more and more picks, especially high ones, that let Ballard again practice his prudence.


“I think that there are still a lot of good players not only at wideout and corner, I think it’s still good at safety,” Ballard said of his outlook the next two days. “I still think there are some d-linemen that are good. I still think there are a couple (line)backers that are good. I still think there are good players in the second, third, fourth, fifth round that we are going to have a chance to get our hands on.


“I am pretty patient. I am pretty patient. I don’t panic, we don’t panic. We stay true to what we are looking at on the board and then we make a decision.”


And that decision on Thursday was one made with the GM more than willing to wait.

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