Listen Live

INDIANAPOLIS – Over the last seven NFL Drafts, every single team has done it at least once…besides the Colts.

The Colts have had 57 draft selections from 2013-19 but a ‘quarterback’ has never been on the card sent into the NFL.

Chandler Harnish, with the 253rd overall pick as Mr. Irrelevant in 2012, was the last quarterback drafted by the Colts.

Since Harnish joined Andrew Luck as Colts in that ’12 Draft, some 81 quarterbacks have been taken by NFL teams, but the Colts have not spent such a resource at QB (FWIW, the Broncos and Jets lead the league in that span by selecting 5 QBs).

Does that need to change in 2020?

Chris Ballard isn’t going there, publicly.

“I’ve talked about this numerous times, you can’t force the quarterback position, especially in the draft,” Ballard said last week, while acknowledging the ‘unique’ nature that comes with quarterback and that the Colts will always have their eye on such an important position.

“I think history has shown that. It has to be the right guy, the right fit, for our staff and our organization. So I don’t know when that’s going to happen. Maybe this year. Maybe next year. Maybe two years from now. I don’t know. And I’m not going to force it, much to everybody’s dismay. It might drive everybody nuts, but I’m not going to force that issue. When we decide to take one, that we think is going to be the future guy, that is the franchise (QB), you’ve got to be right.

Many believe the Colts should spend some pick on a quarterback, and with good reason.

For one, the Colts have zero quarterbacks under contract for the 2021 season. Philip Rivers (age: 38), Jacoby Brissett (age: 27) and Chad Kelly (age: 26) are all in respective contract years.

At the position Chris Ballard has called ‘the most important position in sports,’ the Colts have no one under team security past this season.

“I can already see the story for this year,” Ballard jokes when asked about this very question of the Colts having no QB under contract past the 2020 season. “Saying that, we will make the decisions when they need to be made. And we will always have our eye on that position. We will always have our eye on that position. I wish I had a crystal ball in front of me to be able to rub it and tell you what it’ll look like a year from now. I’m just trying to get through the next week and get through the draft. But it’s one (position) we will always keep our eye on.”

When striving for sustained success, having a consistent presence and longevity under center is a virtual must.

Let’s say for example, Rivers has a 2020 season like the one he just finished with the Chargers—a middle of the pack year in which his team doesn’t make the playoffs.

Even if the Colts would want to bring Rivers back, maybe the QB who just seriously pondered retirement this past offseason for the first time in his career decides enough is enough after 17 NFL seasons.

Then, who is the Colts quarterback in 2021?

Going back to Brissett in 2021 is no guarantee.

Reich has reiterated that he thinks Brissett can still be a starter in this league. And Ballard backed that up last week.

That thought disturbs some Colts fans. But Brissett himself also would have a decision to make. He will be a free agent next spring, and might want to explore a different environment as he hits the open market for the first time in his NFL career.

If the Colts win 9 or 10 games this coming season, drafting in the 20s would still force them to give up some serious draft capital to acquire one of the top signal callers in 2021.

That’s where drafting a QB here in 2020 would at least offer another option, one that the Colts would have identified as worthy enough to spend a draft pick.

A specific strength of Reich and this offensive staff is their history in developing quarterbacks. Wouldn’t that be wise to try and tap into, with a freshly chosen QB, one who hasn’t spent time anywhere else in the NFL?

Obviously, drafting a quarterback outside of Round 1 (or even in Round 1) certainly does not mean you’ve found your franchise guy under center.

In an ideal world, such a selection in 2020 could be the next Russell Wilson (3rd round), Derek Carr (2nd round), Jimmy Garoppolo (2nd round), Kirk Cousins (4th round) or Dak Prescott (4th round).

Even if that doesn’t occur, a drafted QB in ’20 could become the backup of the immediate future, on a very favorable contract.

By investing a league-high amount of money at quarterback here in 2020, we know what the Colts current plans are under center.

But the future cannot be ignored.

“We are trying to win now,” Reich says. “It’s important to win now. Our fans want to know that we are going to win now. But Chris does a phenomenal job with his staff. Mr. Irsay is in every loop on this thing about always taking the long road, as well, that we build through the draft and we are staying in the mode. We know with the cap room we had and the money we had to spend, we were able to make some unique moves that we don’t usually make every year, but that can help us now. Every one of these situations is different every year, case-by-case.

“As far as the quarterback position is concerned, yeah Philip is year-by-year, but we still got Jacoby and we love Jacoby and we feel good about Jacoby. As far as drafting a quarterback, you know how we feel about this, we are always looking hard at the quarterbacks. There’s no guarantee. You identify the one, two, three guys you like, who you think fit. There’s no guarantee you get them because there’s 31 other teams that could get them as well, so you have all of those things going at one time.”