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INDIANAPOLISWhether he has full control over it or not, Carson Wentz is still hurting the Colts.

On the field, we saw that earlier this month when Wentz and the Commanders were unable to punch in a 1st-and-Goal from the 3-yard line against the Titans with less than a minute to go. A third-down interception by Wentz gave the Titans a road victory, with the Colts watching intently on their Sunday off.

Off the field, Wentz is now rehabbing a broken finger he had surgery on last week. Wentz was placed on injured reserve over the weekend, meaning he will miss at least 4 games. His return could linger for longer than a month, and that’s where the quarterback is directly hurting his former team.

The Colts will get a 2023 draft pick from Washington to complete the trade package for Wentz. If Wentz plays 70 percent of the snaps for the Commanders this season, that pick will be in Round 2. If Wentz does not play 70 percent of the snaps, that pick will be in Round 3. Let’s say Wentz misses just 4 games, and the Commanders decide to give him his starting job back when he returns, he would likely have to start and play the final 7 games to reach that 70 percent threshold, thus sending the Colts a 2nd rounder, and not a 3rd rounder.

If you look at the current draft order, that would be the difference in the Colts drafting No. 46 overall with that Washington pick or No. 77 overall.

Considering the success Chris Ballard has had with early-second round picks, and what such a selection could mean to a potential trade package, this Washington pick being a 2nd or 3rd rounder deserves plenty of attention.

Let’s focus on the players the Colts have selected in those ranges.

Early second-round picks in the Ballard era? Shaquille Leonard, Braden Smith, Rock Ya-Sin, Michael Pittman, Jonathan Taylor.

How about the early-to-mid third-rounders? Tarell Basham, Bobby Okereke, Julian Blackmon, Jelani Woods, Bernhard Raimann.

There’s a clear difference in quality when comparing those drafted some 30 picks earlier.

Perhaps more relevant to this 2023 Draft, and given where the Colts are at the quarterback position looking forward, comes from what a 2nd rounder vs. a 3rd rounder means trade wise.

If the Colts (3-3-1) end up with a record at .500 or a little above, they will likely be picking in the 15-25 range.

That means if they want to entertain the thought of taking one of the top quarterbacks in the draft, a serious trade up will have to happen. That’s especially true when you look at quarterback-needy teams likely to be in the top-10—the Lions, Texans, Panthers, and potentially the Commanders and Seahawks.

With the Colts 2023 third-round pick already gone due to the trade up for Nick Cross this past April, their draft capital is even more precious.

Trying to put a 2nd rounder into a trade package vs. a 3rd rounder would see a difference around 5-ish spots if the goal is to move higher up in Round 1.

That’s significant when looking at so many quarterback-hungry teams who will be looking to nab those franchise pillars, and not wanting to entertain any trade calls from a team like the Colts.

Basically, if the Colts finish the year in the 15-to-25 range in Round 1, any move into the top-10 will take some serious draft capital, likely future picks, including a 1st rounder.

The Wentz injury is unfortunate for a player on the precipice of seeing another starting QB chance evaporate.

It’s also negatively impacting the Colts, who really need Wentz to be on the field for 11-12 games to have a chance at getting that early second-round pick from Washington.


Current Colts 2023 Draft Picks

-Round 1-17

-Round 2-49

-*Round 2 or 3 from Washington

-Round 4-113

-Round 5-145

-Round 6-177

-Round 7-209

*Will gain either Washington’s 2nd rounder (No. 46) or 3rd round (No. 77)

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